Pousada Verra Verde
Pousada Verra Verde

Brazil: Pousada Serra Verde successfully completes Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Audit

Ecoclub.com is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Audit for Pousada Serra Verde in Brazil. The audit was conducted remotely during the summer of 2023 and involved the examination of textual, photographic and video evidence provided by the proprietors.

Our team is satisfied that Pousada Serra Verde, first audited and accepted as an Ecoclub Ecolodge™ in June 2020, continues to meet our requirements and keeps improving their environmental and social policies and impacts. We have thus extended our recognition of Pousada Serra Verde as an Ecoclub Ecolodge™ for three more years to September 2026. Reacting to the news, proprietors Kemely and Jeff Parfrey'' said: "We are delighted to have been awarded Ecoclub Ecolodge™ status again. The process was thorough and made us review all areas of our business and related green initiatives. The Ecoclub Ecolodge™ process stands apart from many 'green' awards, which are often little more than paid for memberships and sad examples of 'greenwashing'. We would recommend this process to anyone who really wants to move towards genuine sustainability.''

You may find the Pousada Serra Verde Audit Report at https://ecoclub.com/ecolodges/pousadaserraverde-2023  

Pousada Serra Verde (Web: https://pousadaserra-verde.com ) is nestled in the foothills of the Picos do Marumbi close to the charming colonial town of Morretes. Here you can relax and unwind in beautiful surroundings, and really be at one with nature. Explore the rainforest, take a swim in the river or just chill out by the pool - the choice is yours. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature surrounded by birds, flowers and butterflies.

Ecoclub Ecolodge™ is a free ecolabel for genuine Ecolodges. It is offered to eligible accommodation facilities following the successful completion of the Ecoclub Ecolodge™ Audit process.

You may find the facilities recognised as Ecoclub Ecolodges™ at https://ecoclub.com/ecolodges   

The Ecoclub Ecolodge™ label criteria and process can be found at https://ecoclub.com/join/ecolodge 

Canada: Sunshine Coast Tourism Visitor Centres Achieve Silver Sustainable Tourism Certification

Canada: Sunshine Coast Tourism Visitor Centres Achieve Silver Sustainable Tourism Certification

Sunshine Coast, British Columbia (August 28, 2023) - Sunshine Coast Tourism is pleased to announce that its Gibsons and Sechelt Visitor Centres have each received Silver Certification with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism, North America’s largest certification program for the tourism and hospitality industry. 

“Our objective when we took over the management of the Gibsons and Sechelt Visitor Centres was to elevate every aspect of operations,” explained Sunshine Coast Tourism Executive Director Annie Wise. “The Centres serve as the voice of our destination, and it’s crucial that voice echoes the core values of our communities. Our commitment to improving on all four pillars of sustainability is unwavering, and achieving GreenStep certification underscores our pledge to turn words into action and lead by example.”

Key initiatives that contributed to Silver Certification:

Launching the Sustainable Sunshine Coast campaign, a partnership managing local sustainable tourism capacity, educating visitors on responsible travel, and aiding the industry's sustainability through resources and programs.
Enhancing cultural awareness and acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples and the First Nation communities of the Sunshine Coast amongst our staff, industry, and visitors to the destination, including mandatory training for staff. 
Providing on-site and online visitor education resources, covering topics like WildSafeBC, Safe Boating Guides, AdventureSmart, and water conservation.
Ensuring wheelchair-accessible facilities at both Visitor Centres, including parking, entry, washrooms, and reception desk.
Upholding staff welfare through employment standards, living wages, and continuous learning.
Prioritizing eco and socially sustainable suppliers for retail goods at Visitor Centres.
Using FSC Certified paper for Sunshine Coast Travel Guides.
Implementing recycling programs at both Visitor Centres.
Opting for energy-efficient fixtures and appliances like Energy Star-rated devices, low-flow faucets, toilets, and LED lighting.
To attain Silver Certification, both Visitor Centres underwent assessment by a GreenStep assessor. This process measured their practices against Global Sustainable Tourism Council-Recognized criteria aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. The certification, valid for two years (2023-2025), mandates re-certification for both Centres afterward. 

"We congratulate Sunshine Coast Tourism on achieving GreenStep Certification for both the Gibsons and Sechelt Visitor Centres. By measuring their sustainability performance against the 87 criteria and having their results verified by a GreenStep assessor, they have achieved the requirements and therefore the designation. Visitor Centres play a critical role in helping communicate destination and community values, and this latest achievement helps to showcase the efforts of current sustainability measures of today, while advancing efforts over time through the creation of a sustainability action plan. We look forward to following their progress through the implementation of their action plan in the coming years." - Jenn Burling, Director of Sustainable Tourism 

For more information about Sunshine Coast Tourism’s sustainability initiatives, please visit: https://www.sunshinecoastcanada.com/sustainability/ 

RoyalCert is now GSTC-Accredited

RoyalCert is now GSTC-Accredited

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that RoyalCert has gained the GSTC-Accredited Certification Body status

RoyalCert is an International certification body with HeadQuarters in Germany and operating in +40 countries globally. RoyalCert offers inspection, training, assessment and certification services to a wide range of industries, including the Tourism Industry, and serving thousands of customers worldwide. With experienced auditors, RoyalCert is committed to sustainable growth, focusing on integrity and customer satisfaction.

The stated scope of the GSTC Accreditation of RoyalCert is for certifying hotels and tour operators in Türkiye, Germany, Italy, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and the Netherlands.

Achieving the GSTC-Accredited status means that a Certification Body has been verified to be conducting proper certification of businesses, such as hotels or tour operators, in a competent and neutral manner, following processes and procedures detailed in the GSTC Accreditation Manual.

Businesses certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body, meeting all the GSTC Criteria (or a GSTC-Recognized Standard), have the highest level of assurance* and credibility available. With an accredited certification, customers and buyers are assured that the business was certified in a credibly verified procedure in a transparent, impartial, and competent manner.

GSTC2023 Conference in Antalya, Türkiye, Concluded with 350 delegates from 51 countries

The #GSTC2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference that took place on May 9th-12th in Antalya, Türkiye, brought together 350 delegates from 51 countries, along with hundreds of viewers that watched the live broadcasting of the conference. The conference was held at the Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Participants included international and regional tourism stakeholders involved in developing and promoting sustainable tourism; including the public sector, hotels, tour operators, academia, development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more. International participants came from Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The GSTC Board on stage in AntalyaThe GSTC Board on stage in Antalya

This year’s Conference focused on Destination Stewardship, Hotel Sustainability, Sustainable Tours, Experiences, and Attractions, and Sustainable MICE.

Mr. Luigi Cabrini, Chair, GSTC opened the conference by speaking about the uncertainties the industry is facing “This year we witness a strong recovery of international and domestic tourism, after the dramatic drop of over 70% during 2020 and 2021, when millions of jobs were lost, thousands of enterprises went bankrupt, and destinations struggled to survive. Many of these destinations are now returning almost to normality, as people are eager to travel again, after lockdowns and travel restrictions. But we are still facing economic and geopolitical challenges, such as the war in Ukraine, a high inflation, and soaring costs of all components related to travel and tourism. In this uncertain context, international tourism, globally, is not expected to return to pre-pandemics levels before 2024 at the earliest.” 

He also added how the GSTC Criteria has helped the industry achieve higher levels of sustainability “Time has shown that GSTC filled a gap by making available a framework that can serve both the private and the public sector to achieve higher levels of sustainability. The GSTC membership today includes tourism authorities of over 25 countries, together with leaders of the private sectors, NGOs, universities, destinations and many others. We welcome this variety as a strength for GSTC, where the tourism sector is represented in its multiple facets and interests.”

Speaking at the conference’s opening, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy expressed his pleasure at hosting the most competent experts and opinion leaders of sustainable tourism in Türkiye. Ersoy said the GSTC 2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference would become a valuable information and idea exchange platform, creating significant gains for sustainable tourism worldwide. Minister Ersoy also noted that beyond acting as a pioneer by becoming the first country in the world to sign an agreement with GSTC for a national sustainability program at the governmental level, it had already become a global leader in sustainable tourism practices.

GSTC2022 Global Conference in Seville, Andalusia, Spain Concludes

GSTC2022 ConferenceGSTC2022 Conference

The GSTC2022 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference that took place on December 12th-15th in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, brought together 350 delegates from 61 countries, along with hundreds of viewers that watched the live broadcasting of the conference. The conference was held at FIBES Sevilla, the city's Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Participants included international and regional tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism; including the public sector, hotels, tour operators, academia, development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more. International participants came from Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The Conference themes were: (A) Tourism Adaptation to Climate Change; (B) Mainstreaming Sustainability Standards; (C) Destination Stewardship and (D) Green Mobility & Accessibility.
Mr. Luigi Cabrini, Chair, GSTC opened the conference with the question “will tourism become more sustainable after the pandemic?”

Mr Luigi CabriniMr Luigi Cabrini“Our organization is now 15 years old. Starting from the first version of the Hotel and Tour Operators Criteria in 2008 we expanded and consolidated a system of standards that is now recognized as the main international reference. The GSTC Industry Criteria and the GSTC Destination Criteria identify the key issues that define tourism sustainability and provide the tools to progress toward a better balance between the positive benefits that a well-managed tourism can generate and its negative impacts. The GSTC membership today includes tourism authorities of over 20 countries, together with leaders of the private sectors, NGOs, universities, destinations and many others. This variety is a strength for GSTC, as different views, experiences and interests guide us to set priorities and strategies aimed at practical responses to real needs,” said GSTC Chair, Mr. Luigi Cabrini.

“The key for a real shift is to build a system where the number of hotels, destinations and other tourism businesses that gained a certification reach a critical number making them effectively competitive in the market. We work closely with some of the more relevant Online Travel Agencies to build a system where travelers can easily identify a product that is truly sustainable and to book it. Many tourists, as responsible citizens, make choices based on their ethical values and are ready to spend more when an hotel or a destination cares to save energy and water, to promote protection of biodiversity or respect for local cultures. But sustainable tourism is also likely to offer better quality products by being more experiential and emotionally engaging. We need to unlock its market potential to effectively mainstream it,” concluded Mr. Cabrini (full speech).

“In my opinion, for the topics that will be addressed in this conference is one of the most relevant events of the year. As you know tourism activity has recovered strongly in many parts of the world. Here in Spain, international tourism expenditure in 2022 will be just under the record levels of 2019. And although the level of uncertainty is high for 2023, we expect to consolidate this recovery,” said Mr. Miguel Sanz, Director General, Turespaña. “However, once the worst effect of the pandemic in the travel industry are hopefully, finally over, we have to confront challenges that were already here in the industry agenda in 2019 and have now accelerated.”

GSTC2022GSTC2022Speakers from across the world shared insights and discussed the following topics: climate change influence on tourism operation, carbon neutral cities, how national tourism bodies use existing sustainable tourism standards, sustainable luxury hospitality, sustainability in corporate & business travel, businesses influencing supply chain, interpretation of cultural heritage, Türkiye Sustainable Tourism Program, the role of standards and certification in destination stewardship, setting sustainability goals by trade association together with national tourism bodies, green mobility & accessibility. During the conference, two workshops were carried out for the development of MICE Criteria and Attraction Criteria. In addition, the GSTC Italian Working Group was formed to discuss the development of sustainable tourism and hospitality in Italy.

Recordings of the conference’s sessions can be found on the GSTC Facebook page and GSTC Youtube channel. Presentations from each session can be accessed here.

Prior to the conference, three GSTC Sustainable Tourism Courses took place in Sevilla, two in English and one in Spanish. 84 industry professionals joined the training from across Europe and globally. Using the GSTC Industry Criteria and GSTC Destination Criteria as the foundation, the training class covered various topics relevant to our industry and the sustainability challenges and opportunities we are facing today. An academic symposium was also held in conjunction with Global Sustainable Tourism Conference for the first time. The symposium provided a forum for researchers and academics to share and discuss current issues in sustainable tourism.

At the closing ceremony, three GSTC Conferences were announced - GSTC2023 Antalya (May 2023), GSTC2024 Sweden (April 2024), and GSTC2024 Singapore (November 2024). The conference ended with a farewell cocktail dinner and private tour at Real Alcazar for GSTC2022 delegates only. After the 2-day conference, participants joined a complimentary tour of Sevilla, including a visit to Las Setas, Santa Cruz, Museo de Bellas Artes, and Plaza de España.

Photos from the conference are available on the GSTC Facebook page.

As with previous GSTC Conferences, the carbon footprint of the event and the travel of all attendees have been calculated and offset. Ecoterrae is the GSTC2022 Carbon Offset Sponsor. Other sustainable event practices were carried out, such as reducing paper and plastic usage to a minimum: printing to the minimum, badges were made of recyclable paper, and no single-use plastic was used during the conference. Vegetarian was the default meal option, with no lamb and beef offered, which have the highest carbon footprint.

Upcoming GSTC Global Conferences:

- The GSTC2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference (#GSTC2023) will be hosted next May in Antalya, on the Mediterranean 'Turquoise' Coast. Want to know once early-bird registration opens? Sign up here.

- The GSTC2024 Sweden Global Sustainable Tourism Conference will be hosted in Stockholm, Sweden.

- The GSTC2024 Singapore Global Sustainable Tourism Conference will be hosted in Sentosa, Singapore.

New TrainingAid Online Course: Sustainability Management for Tourism Businesses

Sustainability Management for Tourism BusinessesSustainability Management for Tourism Businesses

Want to integrate sustainability confidently into your tourism business? Need practical guidance on efficiently and effectively managing your sustainability efforts? 

TrainingAid is offering a facilitated online course on sustainability management for tourism businesses, which will help you consolidate your knowledge about sustainability best practices and turn it into a systematic and holistic approach to your own sustainability strategy. 

Designed for professionals leading or engaged in sustainability management at tourism businesses, this course provides practical guidance on applying key sustainability management principles and techniques, and useful tools for managing, monitoring and continuously improving sustainability practices. By working on practical steps to implement these tools, you will be able to start building a sustainability management system for your own business, and be prepared to continuously track and improve your performance. 

In order to incorporate sustainability into your tourism business in a meaningful way, your action steps must be not only based on business needs and sustainability priorities, but also supported by a solid strategic framework. Building an integrated sustainability management system, which supports existing plans and helps guide overall strategic approaches to sustainability, is among the most important steps that you need for your business, so that you can be confident that your sustainability efforts lead to tangible results and measurable benefits. 

But what does it mean to have a sustainability management system? What should such a system include, and how can it be designed and implemented? This course covers all these key questions to help you integrate sustainability confidently into your tourism business, through a solid system that you can use to implement concrete sustainability action steps. 

What does the course cover?

This course provides:

  • Practical lessons on applying the Plan-Do-Check-Act management approach, and implementing proven management techniques for your own tourism business.
  • Hands-on exercises using management tools such as policies, risk assessments, and action plans to help you develop an effective sustainability management system for your business.
  • Guidance to help you build your own toolbox for managing, monitoring and continuously improving your sustainability practices. 

How will this benefit your business?

This course will allow you to:

  • Be ready to apply a systematic and holistic approach to your own sustainability strategy.
  • Save time and money by efficiently and effectively designing and implementing a sustainability management system for your business.
  • Improve your performance by integrating sustainability confidently into your business operations.

Learn more: https://www.trainingaid.org/course/sustainability-management-tourism-businesses

Ecoclub Member Special: Online Course: Sustainability Management for Tourism Businesses

20% Discount

Ecoclub Members please contact us to obtain the discount code!

World of Travel, Trade & Taste Expo 2022 - Miami Beach Convention Center, 22-24 September 2022


World of Travel, Trade & Taste Exhibition will be a marketplace for the global trade companies to meet and conduct business with regional and international countries, at the same time helping to promote new initiatives on healthy green living, responsible community projects, investing in new sustainable products and supporting less developed countries. The Expo will showcase exclusive worldwide destinations in one place whilst helping to support local community tourism, cultural education programmes and raising awareness’s of sustainable and responsible tourism including conservation of nature, national parks and world heritage sites.

Ecoclub Member Special! WTTT Expo, Miami, 5-7 May, 2022  NEW DATES: 22-24 September, 2022

Exhibition Booth Discount:
"50ft2/5m2 Drape booth option, with drape table, 2x chairs, waste bin, ID sign. Back wall height 8ft tall, 10ft deep, 5ft wide, moving in, moving out labor, final cleaning. Total cost: $950 USD plus tax."

As described at https://www.worldoftravel.tv/exhibitor-options--payment---miami-2022.html 

Whether you want to swing at the end of the world in the Banos of Ecuador, discover Darwin’s species of Galapagos Islands, follow the Inca trails of Machu Picchu, adventure in the Costa Rican rainforests, walk on the water in the Solar de Uyini in Bolivia, visit the Buddhist pagoda of Myanmar, breath taking safaris throughout the African continent, swim in the Blue Lagoon of Iceland, trekking in the Nepal Himalayas, experience ancient civilisation of Egyptian pyramids, camp in the Sudanese deserts, explore the Simien Mountains - God’s playground in Ethiopia, Honeymoons in Madagascar, spectacular collection of beaches on the islands of Zanzibar, experience traditional horse back riding in the expansive valleys of Mongolia, wine tasting routes of Chile, come and discover the different countries cultural heritage, religion, cuisine whilst deciding on your next holiday destination.


Visit different country pavilions and stands from around the world that will provide you with all the information you need to book your next memorable holiday. An eclectic mix of tourism pavilions offering special holiday packages including to the worlds’ most exclusive beach destinations, gastronomy hotspots, food and culture, nature retreats, city breaks, trekking, eco lodges, safaris, diving, skiing, fishing, honeymoons, hideaways, historical cities, luxury camping, agritourism, cruises, campsites, health tourism, spas, bird watching, city cycling and many other great deals and ideas to help you plan your next holiday.


You will be able to learn about new beautiful destinations, diverse culture and history around the world, whilst at the same time experiencing their local food offerings.

Indulge yourself with a wide variety of gastronomy tastings, natural bio products from all over the world or dine at locations that provide you with unique tasty dishes.

WTTT waits for you to experience 3 days of celebrating international culture and heritage, that will captivate your mind, tantalise your taste buds and help you to decide on where to book your next holiday.


WTTT marketplace allows countries to connect between buyers and brands with services including tourism, hotels, gastronomy, technology, renewable resources and more.

Trade buyers have opportunities to learn, network, and conduct business with new and returning exhibitors both regionally and internationally.

The event helps to promote the trade of various foreign goods and services to support a healthy and friendly relationship with countries worldwide.

Provides opportunity for all businesses and professionals to interact with one another and expand their networks worldwide by networking with officials from different parts of the world.

WTTT marketplace will allow distributors and new products to raise brand awareness. In particular help promote naturally home-grown food and beverage trade products to global suppliers with motivated buyers from each segment of the buying community. The marketplace platform allows food professionals and consumers to visit the source, meet and gain insight into the very latest developments affecting the industry.

WTTT supports countries to promote production from local farmers and producers in less economically developed countries (LEDCs).

Countries will be promoting investment opportunities in business or community projects and helping small-scale farmers have a better future for themselves, their families and community.

Countries will be helping local producers to attend and connect with buyers to create direct partnership, involved in decisions that affect their produce.

Countries Pavilions to promote range of products including dairy, honey, coffee, cocoa, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, nuts and oil seeds, quinoa, rice, spices, sugar, tea, wine and more.

WTTT supports the sustainable practices to minimize our environmental footprint.

Countries will be promoting environmentally friendly practices including sustainable farming, biodiversity conservation, organic production and protecting the planet’s natural resources.


The event will also feature a 3-day conference with presentations from tourism experts from academia, the public and private sectors on a wide range of topics.


Miami Beach Convention Center, Hall A
1901 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Florida, USA

Opening Hours:

Thursday 22 September May: 9am – 6pm - Delegates, B2B meetings
Friday 23 September: 8am – 6pm - Delegates, B2B meetings
Saturday 24 September: 8am – 6pm - Delegates, B2B meetings and Consumers

More details


Lake District National Park celebrates 70th Anniversary

Lake District, UK - Ennerdale - Copyright: Andrew LockingEnnerdale - Copyright: Andrew Locking5 May 2021: This week marks the 70th anniversary of England’s largest national park – the Lake District - formally designated as the UK’s second park for the nation on 9 May, 1951.

This anniversary follows a year in which people have appreciated open spaces and nature more than ever, as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, according to Lake District National Park Authority Chief Executive, Richard Leafe.

Richard says: “This last year has shown us how much people value this protected, national landscape and how important it has been for everyone’s wellbeing. This National Park is home to flourishing wildlife, incredible landscapes and culture and thriving communities - over 41,000 people live here and 19 million visit each year. It’s a place that’s loved by millions and cared for by many.

“This anniversary is a chance to reflect on highlights from the last seven decades, and to look ahead too,” continues Richard.

Lake District, UK - 5 May 2021: “National Parks were created to protect iconic landscapes and to ensure they’re accessible to everyone – something that’s hugely relevant 70 years on. Our focus will continue to be on ensuring this is a place for all visitors to enjoy. We’ll also be tackling some of the major challenges facing society, such as climate change to nature recovery,” adds Richard Leafe.

“And all this can’t be done without the expertise and local insights of Authority staff, our members and incredible volunteers. From planners to rangers and visitor services teams to specialist advisers who engage with our farmers and local communities – we’re working hard to protect the future of the National Park and ensure it remains a Lake District for everyone.”

The National Park birthday celebrations will continue through to August when the National Park Authority marks another milestone, 70 years since it was founded and work began to begin looking after this special place.

People are invited to mark the anniversary by sharing their favourite Lake District memory on social media, using #LakeDistrict70 and tagging Lake District National Park.

  • Some of the key achievements over the last 70 years include:
  • 48 Miles without Stiles routes across the National Park - for people with limited mobility, wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, and anyone wanting a simple stile-free walk
  • Signing up to become net carbon zero - by 2025 as an Authority and by 2037 across the Lake District
  • Working together with the Lake District National Park Partnership - 25 organisations who collectively manage the Park
  • Becoming a World Heritage Site in 2017 in recognition of the global importance of the National Park’s cultural heritage and landscape
  • Delivering a £3 million programme to restore the Public Rights of Way network after damage by Storm Desmond (Dec 2015)
  • Working with local landowners, volunteers, businesses and the community on landmark heritage projects, such as Coniston Coppermines and Duddon Iron Furnace
  • Creating apprenticeships and connecting people with the traditional skills that protected the wildlife and wooded landscape of the area in the Rusland Valley
  • Since April 2010 enabling 754 new homes, with a local occupancy condition to be built, of which, 337 (45 per cent) are local affordable homes.
  • Helping people make the most of the Lake District by opening the UK's first National Park Visitor Centre in 1969 – Brockhole on Windermere, and running three Information Centres and Coniston Boating Centre.
  • And having over 400 helping hands – volunteers who carry out a huge range of tasks.

European Destination of Excellence 2022 competition launched

BRUSSELSApril 22, 2021 - Today, the European Commission launches the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) 2022 competition. This initiative rewards the best achievements in sustainable tourism and green transition practices in smaller destinations across Europe.

EDEN was first introduced by the European Commission in 2007 as an initiative to reward non-traditional, emerging sustainable tourism destinations in Europe based on national competitions. The initiative has been redesigned and updated in view of the European Green Deal goals and it will contribute to the recovery and resilience of tourism destinations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers EU countries as well non-EU countries participating in the COSME programme[1]. The competition addresses smaller tourism destinations which can showcase their outstanding achievements in sustainability and inspire other tourism destinations in their green transition.

The European Destinations of Excellence is an EU initiative, implemented by the European Commission. Its aim is to recognise and award smaller destinations that have in place successful strategies to boost sustainable tourism through green transition practices. The competition is founded upon the principle of promoting the development of sustainable tourism in destinations which brings value to the economy, the planet and the people.

In order to compete for the 2022 European Destination of Excellence title, destinations are asked to demonstrate their best practices in sustainable tourism and green transition. Applications will first be evaluated by a panel of independent sustainability experts. In the second step, 3 shortlisted cities will be asked to present their city's candidature in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will select one winner, the European Destination of Excellence 2022, which will be announced in November 2021.

The winning destination will be positioned as a tourism sustainability pioneer committed to the European Green Deal objectives and will receive expert communication and branding support at the EU level throughout 2022.

To apply, destination representatives are asked to complete an online form

The deadline for applications is 16 June 2021 at 17:00 CET.

For all the latest news visit the European Destinations of Excellence website

Leading investors representing $11 trillion call on banks to set enhanced net zero targets

20 April 2021: A group of leading global investors has developed investor expectations for the banking sector through the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), calling on banking firms to set enhanced net zero targets for 2050 or sooner with interim targets to be included, scale up green finance and withdraw from projects that fail to meet Paris Agreement goals.

The IPCC estimates that up to $3.8 trillion a year in investment is needed annually to achieve the low-carbon transition for supply-side energy system investments alone. The banking sector has a critical role to play in aligning the real economy with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner and in limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.

However, in the years since the Paris Agreement, the world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies, with 2020 levels higher than 2016. The group of investors convened by IIGCC are now setting out their expectations for how banks should demonstrate alignment with the Paris Agreement in ‘Aligning the Banking Sector with the Goals of the Paris Agreement’[link].

The investor expectations lay out clear areas for action for banks focused on a public commitment to become net zero by 2050 with explicit interim targets, withdrawal of finance from recipients that show no evidence of transitioning, and the scaling up of green finance. This includes:

  • Commitment to becoming net zero by 2050, with a primary focus on ensuring indirect emissions are brought down to net zero by 2050 (scope 3) because the bulk of banks’ emissions are associated with financial services, including commercial, project and retail lending; investment banking; securities trading; etc.
  • Board accountability for, and variable remuneration aligned with, the delivery of net zero, with financial statements that reflect the low carbon transition.
  • Disclosure in accordance with TCFD recommendations, reporting on greenhouse gas emissions associated with financing activities, and the incorporation of material climate risks in published accounts.
  • Explicit criteria to be set for withdrawal of financing to misaligned activities that are benchmarked against sector/industry net zero pathways.

This coalition of investors includes global names such as EOS at Federated Hermes (on behalf of its stewardship clients), the Church Commissioners for England, Sarasin & Partners, and Legal & General Investment Management. IIGCC is the European membership body for investor collaboration on climate change and has more than 300 members with over €37 trillion in assets under management.

The investors are urging banks to cease activities that cause emissions through deforestation and land-use change as well as from fossil fuel financing. Banks must not rely on unproven negative emissions technologies, and avoided emissions arising from green finance should not be used as offsets.

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change: “Banks have a vital role to play in the realisation of a net zero and resilient future. There is an urgent need for banks to take and accelerate action to support the goals of the Paris Agreement. With fossil fuel financing increasing since 2016, the time to act is now. Investors are calling on banks to make enhanced net zero commitments, with clear interim targets, focused on reducing their indirect emissions to zero. Organisational net zero commitments will not have the impact needed – just as asset managers and asset owners are making commitments focused on their portfolios rather than their direct emissions.

Net zero commitments must drive real change. The launch of this investor expectations report outlines meaningful action focused on achieving real world impact for the banking sector. This is a significant opportunity for banks to play a leading role in driving the net zero transition. With five years already elapsed since the Paris Agreement, talking the talk must be replaced with walking the walk.”

Natasha Landell-Mills, Head of Stewardship at Sarasin & Partners: “Banks provide the lifeblood to economic activity.  Through lending, investment banking and advisory activities, banks play a central role in where capital is allocated. The problem we face today is that too many banks are failing to consider climate harm when they make financing decisions, and too much money is being ploughed into carbon-intensive activities that we so desperately need to move away from.

“In the face of the accelerating climate crisis, investors have come together to send a clear message to banks globally: we need you to make public and credible commitments to align all your financing activities with achieving the Paris Agreement goals; provide meaningful short and medium term targets for phasing out financing of carbon-intensive activities across all sectors; and report on progress in achieving these targets. These investor expectations, launched today, send an unequivocal message: capital needs to start shifting now, not tomorrow, if we are to protect our collective future.”

Bess Joffe, Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners for England: “This initiative is an ideal way for investors to partner with banks as we all seek to de-carbonise our activities, in alignment with Paris. The investor expectations provide clear guidance to banks as to the steps investors want to see them take to improve their contribution to a net-zero economy and the engagement-focused approach will allow for the best ideas to be tabled. It is imperative that we all work together, collaboratively, to achieve the changes necessary to protect the planet for future generations.”

Bruce Duguid, Head of Stewardship, EOS at Federated Hermes: “Dramatic shifts in bank finance are required to achieve the Paris goals and avoid the looming systemic risk of a ‘carbon crunch’ hitting their balance sheets. As banks increasingly commit to net-zero by 2050, this must be matched by targets and actions to achieve absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 45% over the next decade in their portfolios. This will require increasing finance to low carbon and transitioning companies and withdrawing it from those that cannot or will not aligned to 1.5-degrees.

“In co-authoring this paper, EOS at Federated Hermes has set out investors’ expectations on actions, governance and disclosures central to banks’ strategies to ensure the necessary actions on the pathway to achieving global net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Full list of investors supporting the investor expectations: Amundi Asset Management, AP2, Aviva Investors, Brunel Pension Partnership Ltd, Caisse de prévoyance de l’Etat de Genève, Candriam, Church Commissioners for England, DWS Investment UK Limited , EdenTree Investment Management, EOS at Federated Hermes (on behalf of its stewardship clients), Fidelity International, GAM Investments, Handelsbanken Fonder, Jupiter Asset Management Limited, KBI Global Investors, Legal and General Investment Management, Local Pensions Partnership Investments, Lombard Odier Asset Management, M&G Investments, Merseyside Pension Fund, Nest Corporation, Nordea Asset Management, Northern Trust Asset Management, OFI Asset Management, Öhman, P+ Pensionskassen for Akademikere, PIMCO, Rathbones Investment Management, Robeco Asset Management, Royal London Asset Management, RPMI Railpen, Sarasin & Partners LLP, SEB Investment Management, Storebrand Asset Management AS and The Cornwall Pension Fund.

Full list of banks targeted in initial campaign: Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of America, Bank of China, Bank of Montreal, Barclays, BNP Paribas, China Construction Bank, CIBC, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Groupe Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), ING Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Mitsubishi UFJ FG (MUFG), Mizuho FG, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Scotiabank, SMBC Group, Société Générale, Toronto Dominion (TD), UBS, Wells Fargo