Are you a sustainable consumer? Do you think it is easy? In my opinion, it’s not as easy as it seems, but it is not impossible. Besides the commitment to yourself, it is necessary to trust environmental friendly companies. It is known that some businesses sell themselves as “ecofriendly” when they are not at all. They spend money in fake green marketing only to clean their image and to get more customers. However, they are lying. This type of operating is called Greenwashing.
We can find this problem in many different products and services: in food, in cleaning products, in aviation, and also in Tourism. A good example of the latter is accommodation. Not only because they don’t wash towels and sheets every day, do they automatically become sustainable. I’m not saying that it isn’t a good thing to do, in fact it is a big step, because it really contributes to waste less water and detergents; but to be honest, it is an easy measure that has a positive impact on the accommodation’s profits. To assure that an accommodation is sustainable it is necessary they fulfill other requirements.
- Be well integrated in the territory to protect the biodiversity.
- Separate waste.
- Offer local food to favor the nearest businesses.
- Use recycled construction materials and certified wood.
- Establish measures to save water and energy.
- Practice a rational usage of natural resources.
- Hire people with good working conditions.
And they have to do that without compromising customer satisfaction.
You, as a customer, can use certifications as a guide to choose a sustainable accommodation. Generally in tourism, you will find ISO 9001 for quality, focused on customer satisfaction, and ISO 14.001 for Environment, focused on minimized negative impact to the environment. In the case of Sustainable Tourism, there isn’t a global certification, but at the same time there are a lot of international and local seals, which can be a problem for costumers because it’s difficult to make a good decision based only on what the businesses say on their websites.
If you are planning a trip in Catalonia, I can help you find the sustainable accommodation that best fits your needs. For your information, there are several certifications managed by the Government and they can guide you in the process of finding the accommodations that meet the environmental criteria, beyond those that are mandatory:
But in relation to Sustainable Tourism, we have to take a look at international certifications. The most important are: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) related to buildings and Biosphere Responsible Tourism. The first one is more difficult to get than the first one, because the accommodation has to meet more criteria. Did you know that Catalonia has the Biosphere certification as a destination?
Anyway, not all accommodations can get a certification because it has a cost that little businesses can’t afford. For example, a little hotel managed by a family, where they use local food, reduce packaging, are energetically efficient and reduce the consumption of water, can be a sustainable accommodation without a seal. On the other hand, big companies that can afford a certification sometimes are not really all that committed to the environment and society.
Then perhaps you will ask to yourself: how do I know if they are lying to me? I am aware that it is not easy to detect if an accommodation meets the environmental criteria they are advertising. Unless you can prove it in situ, sometimes you can be disappointed. For this reason, it is important to look for information before traveling. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email, and I will advise you about the best sustainable accommodation in Catalonia, without having to sacrifice comfort.
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