On 25 January 2017, the new EU Ecolabel criteria for tourism accommodation was published. The criteria apply to hotels, hostels, camping sites, and other tourist accommodation providers. If you are in the tourism industry, it is important to understand these new requirements and make sure your business is compliant. In this article, we will discuss the key points of the new criteria and what you need to do to meet them.
Combining Tourist And Campsite Accommodation Services
The European Commission has established a new service category called “Tourist Accommodation,” for firms that wish to obtain the EU Ecolabel, which verifies that accommodation providers have met certain environmental and social criteria. The new service group combines the two former service categories, “Tourist Accommodation Services” and “Campsite Services.”
Within the EU Ecolabel scheme, the most popular service groups are “Tourist Accommodation Services” and “Campsite Services”— which make up more or less 40% of the total issued EU Ecolabel licenses.
New Criteria To Tackle Environmental Issues
The new standards are intended to tackle the main environmental issues in the hotel industry today and have been made easier to verify for applicants. Some processes they aim to minimise are energy and water use, waste (including food waste), CO2 emissions, and limiting hazardous substance emissions into the environment. They also want hotels to improve labor conditions by setting new standards for employee minimum wage, working hours, and insurance.
The Impact of Environmental Certification on Hotel Guest Ratings
Joining well-established environmental certification organisations, such as the EU Ecolabel, can lead not only to caring for our planet but also increase profitability.
A study was done on the impact of the ISO 14001 environmental certification system on hotels from the customers’ perspective. According to the study of 6,850 hotels in Spain, guests who stayed in hotels with ISO 14001 certification rated them higher than those without the certification. The most significant difference was found in upscale four-star hotels. In addition, the four-star hotels which obtained environmental certification, had a distinct market advantage.
Environmental certifications such as the EU Ecolabel, can provide a competitive advantage for all hotels by providing a management discipline.
All Mandatory Criteria For The EU Ecolabel
In order to offer tourist accommodation services, an entity must receive at least 20 points.
The campsite service must get at least 20 points, or 24 points if it provides collective services.
If you are required to provide declarations, documentation, analyses, test reports, or other evidence to show compliance with the criteria, these may come from the applicant or the applicant’s suppliers.
The General management criteria
- Basis of an Environmental Management System
- Staff training
- Information to guests
- General maintenance
- Consumption monitoring
The Energy criteria
- Energy-efficient space heating and water heating appliances
- Energy-efficient air conditioning and air-based heat pump appliances
- Energy-efficient lighting
- Automatic switching off of HVAC and lighting
- Outside heating and air conditioning appliances
- Procurement of electricity from a renewable electricity supplier
- Coal and heating oils
The Water criteria
- Efficient water fittings: Bathroom taps and showers
- Efficient water fittings: Toilets and urinals
- Reduction in laundry achieved through reuse of towels and bedclothes
The Waste and wastewater criteria
- Foodservice waste reduction plan
- Waste prevention: Disposable items
- Waste sorting and sending for recycling
Other relevant criteria
- No smoking in common areas
- Promotion of environmentally preferable means of transport
- Information appearing on the EU Ecolabel
The revised criteria and verification processes will be in effect for 5 years. EU Ecolabel holders who currently operate under the old schemes will have a transitional period to modify their processes to meet the new criteria standards.
The EU Ecolabel standards for tourist accommodation, can be viewed on the European Commission’s website. The umbrella organisation, HOTREC, representing hotels, restaurants, cafés, and similar businesses has also produced guidelines to minimise food waste among hospitality businesses.
France And Italy Top The List
There are currently 796 issued licenses, which are owned either by individual entrepreneurs or large hotel organisations. In terms of numbers, France and Italy have the most Ecolabel Accredited Accommodation listings and country-specific lists, as well as maps. These can be found on the EU Ecolabel Tourist Accomodation Catalogue.