Enviromental Quality Brand
It is a voluntary certification instrument based on an agreed gradual adjustment of tourist sector businesses (accommodation and restaurants) to environmental sustainability parameters.
Since January 2001, the Cinque Terre National Park has been implementing an environmental certification process for tourist sector businesses located in its territory. Adherence is voluntary and compliance to requirements enables participants to obtain the Environmental Quality Brand.
Besides guaranteeing high quality services, the aim is to generate conditions whereby tourist sector businesses make their services compatible with safeguarding the environment and natural resources. In fact, the capacity to control and reduce environmental impacts tied to the tourist sector is an essential requirement for guaranteeing the survival of tourism within the Park.
The method responds to general requirements of practicality and feasibility, so that the community may become sensitive to environmental themes and collaborate with the Park to promote Sustainable Tourism objectives.
Accommodation structures within the Park present some peculiar, local characteristics.
In Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza, accommodation is almost exclusively in the form of rooms for rent, apartments and holiday homes.
The project has been adapted to local peculiarities and has been particularly innovative in applying environmental certification to this type of accommodation. The project began by analysing local accommodation characteristics and examining previous Italian and foreign environmental certification procedures and quality brands. Shared aims were then established in partnership with local actors.
The principles orientated to methodology adopted in the environmental quality brand are as follows:
- Sharing: building a participated process involving different actors:
- Integration: generating awareness of the relationship between large-scale environmental protection and individual issues;
- Homogeneity: harmonising different environmental activities and objectives with socio-economic development interests.
How the project works
Accommodation structures that wish to obtain the quality brand must implement, with the aid of the Park, obligatory objectives during the first year (see obligatory objectives). In subsequent years, they gradually implement enhancement objectives. When businesses enrol, they are given a case of material to be disseminated among customers as a support for implementing obligatory objectives (see dissemination material). The project is monitored by periodical inspections made by park staff. The threshold of access to the project is relatively simple in order to involve a maximum number of tourist sector businesses, as the objective is to generate a community that is sensitive to environmental issues, which works in partnership with the Park. Therefore, the Park is committed to setting up training courses on specific issues (see supplementary actions set up by the Park), as well as promoting tourist sector businesses and providing technical support free of charge to those who wish to apply for public funding on environmental sustainability themes.