News Monique Leffin of Ecolabel Luxemburg: tax airline fuel to make prices fair

Focus on sustainable tourism certifying

Monique Leffin of the Luxemburg EcoLabel talks to Valere Tjolle of Vision on Sustainable Tourism

Valere Tjolle:  Can you give me a brief outline of the Luxemburg EcoLabel's current work?
Monique Leffin: The EcoLabel is an initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, running since 1999. Ever since, the non-profit organization OekoZenter Lëtzebuerg has been in charge of the environmental counseling of both the businesses aiming to join the EcoLabel initiative and the businesses already part of the network. Up to now, the certificate has been awarded to 39 accommodations, ranging from country lodgings, guest rooms and youth hostels to first class campsites and luxury hotels.

All of them have to meet a compulsory and rigorous set of criteria focusing on energy and water efficiency (e.g. efficiency of lighting and heating, use of renewable energies, insulation, purchase of energy efficient devices, low-consumption appliances), waste prevention and waste management, sustainable purchasing of office supplies (e.g. recycled paper), use of organic, locally grown and fair trade produce, support of public transport and cycle hire options for their guests, use of eco-cleaners etc.

There are over 60 individual measures the businesses have to meet to achieve a significant reduction of their environmental impact.
The businesses are first audited and then reassessed every three years by an independent auditor to ensure standards are maintained.

VT: Which roles have climate change, halting the loss of biodiversity, supporting regional economy, travel slow, consume less, in your certification standards?
ML: All these issues matter to us and are part of our criteria, i.e.:

  • Climate change: environmental friendly and modern methods for heating and cooling, monthly record of energy consumption with the aim of continuous reduction, enforce used of renewable energy
  • Regional economy: use of locally grown or produced food and beverage
  • Travel slow: information about the possibilities of public transport for arrival and during the stay, renting of bicycles,….

VT:  Which e.g. 3-5 exemplary Luxemburg EcoLabel businesses would you highlight to give our readers an idea of your accredited establishments in Europe?
ML: We don't want to highlight some EcoLabel businesses - all of them deserve attention and offer high quality!
The Luxemburgish EcoLabel can be attributed to hotels, camping sites, youth hostels and guest rooms - situated as well in urban as in rural zones. They can all be discovered via our interactive map:

VT:  Have you ever heard about GSTC international recognition of Sustainable Tourism certification standards/accreditation of certification bodies? Are you interested in such a international recognition or do you not expect an added value through this?
ML: Oh yes, we are very interested in international recognition and expect a real added value. For Luxemburg as a very small country with only 525.000 inhabitants, international visibility and recognition is extremely important.

VT: What is your opinion of Rio+20?
ML: Really, we didn't expect clear and legally binding results.
It is important to us that the topics of sustainability and environmental / climate protection remain in the public dialogue so that there can be a slow evolution on an international scale.
In behalf of tourism, especially tourism in Europe and in Luxembourg, we are waiting for travel costs that include all associated environmental damage (esp. for air travel).

VT: If you had 3 wishes: 1 What should the European Union decide?
ML Taxation of kerosene helping to fix a real price for flights, so that tourist destinations in the EU become more competitive. - Financial help to producers and processors (i.e. restaurants) of organically produced foods and beverages.

VT:  What should tour operators and travel agencies be committed to as a common rule?
ML: Fair wages and fair working conditions on every tourist destination, wherever is it situated. Everywhere on the world, the same standard of environmental protection as in the EU (waste reduction and management, attention on energy and water consumption, …)

VT: To whom would you address wish nr 3?
ML: Wish nr 3 goes as well to tour operators, for that they understand the advantages of environmental management and that they use their environmental efforts for better publicity. And wish nr 3 goes to the tourists, for that they pay more attention to sustainability, environmental as well as social.

Find out more about the Ecolabel Luxemburg and see all their certified tourism businesses here

Source: TravelMole - Visions on Sustainable Tourism News

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Keywords Certification,
Topics Certification & Marketing