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ECO-LAB - Eco-labels for Sustainable Tourism in Europe: demonstrating how Eco-labels can move the European tourism market towards sustainability

LIFE00 ENV/NL/000810

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Naut KUSTERS
Tel: +31 20 4651318
Fax: +31 20 4630594

Project description:


In Europe in 2000 there were around 40 eco-labelling schemes certifying the environmental performance of tourism services. They were notable for the high level of effort made and had developed significant experience, but their effectiveness in penetrating the mainstream tourism market was limited. The beneficiary and its partners felt that a basic standard with common principles and requirements for criteria and procedures would greatly assist promotion of the schemes and boost marketing support from tour operators and consumer associations. Consumers expect that the certified products, such as hotels and beaches, should meet practical and demanding criteria with a suitable verification procedure. Tour-operators are willing to invest in sustainable tourism, but need reliable and detailed up-to-date information about eco-labels and related environmentally friendly products. The beneficiary therefore developed a common strategy defined through a demonstration project. This project received support from some 30 key stakeholders in the sector, including the European Environmental Agency EEA (DK), The Dutch Touring club (ANWB) the German car association ADAC (The German Tour Operating Association), IUCN, WWF and eleven eco-label organisations.


The general objective of the project was to demonstrate that eco-labelling can be an effective instrument in moving the European tourism industry and consumers towards sustainability. Detailed objectives were to: - Demonstrate how environmental indicators and benchmarks for eco-labels (accommodation and destinations) can contribute to an assessment of the environmental impact of various eco-labels and other instruments. - Demonstrate how an eco-label partnership can be achieved, leading to common standards and contributing to increased transparency, quality and joint promotion. - Demonstrate how labelled enterprises (in particular SME's) and products can be promoted as an important element of European tourism. - Demonstrate how consumer awareness and demand for environmentally friendly tourism can be increased by implementation of a European promotional campaign during the UN Ecotourism year 2002, and in 2003.


The project, which ran from January 2001 to June 2004, was headed by Dutch beneficiary the European Centre of Eco Agro Tourism. It established a partnership with 12 regional, national and international eco-labelling schemes. Together with ECOTRANS, an independent coordinator, these labels based their work on the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14024 standard for ‘Type 1 third party verified certificates for eco-labels’. All ISO requirements were assessed and adapted to the needs of tourism services in Europe. The VISIT (Voluntary Initiative for Sustainability in Tourism) eco-label was established consisting of 21 (pre-assessment) requirements that the participating eco-labelling organisations had to comply with. These included: . Political implementation of sustainability concepts – existence and evaluation of environmental management tools . Environmental indicators – transport, carrying capacity (land-use, biodiversity, tourism activities), use of energy, use of water, solid waste management . Social and cultural performance indicators –e.g. safety and acceptance of tourism by residents . Economic performance indicators – e.g. seasonal variations and dependence of the economy on tourism. By the end of 2003, all 12 participating eco-labels had successfully achieved compliance with the key requirements. They were: Legambiente Turismo, Italy; Blue Flag International; Steinbock Label, Switzerland; La Clef Verte, France; Das Österreichische Umweltzeichen fur Tourismusbetriebe, Austria; El Distintivo de Garantia de Calidad Ambiental, Spain; Zalais Sertifikats, Latvia; Ecolabel Luxembourg; Den Groenne Noegle, Denmark, Estonia, Greenland, Sweden; The Milieubarometer, the Netherlands; Green Tourism Business Scheme, UK; and Nordic Swan, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway. The project closed in June 2004, but the work continues. In the same year, the VISIT Association was established, with eight of the LIFE project eco-label partners as founding members. With more than 1,500 participating tourism enterprises, the association aims to continue the work of the LIFE project - to ensure that eco-labelling in tourism is successful, practical and responsible. In the longer term it is hoped that further developments will lead to the creation of a global forum and accreditation body for sustainable tourism certificates (between 2005-2010), which can investigate, recognise and promote tourism certification schemes worldwide. This project has been selected as one of the 24 "Best" LIFE Environment projects in 2004-2005


Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Certification
Services & Commerce - Tourism and Accommodation


tourism‚  ecolabel

Target EU Legislation

  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Regulation 1980/2000 - Revised Community eco-label award scheme. Information provided in the Comm ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator European Centre of Eco Agro Tourism
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description ECEAT stands for the European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism. ECEAT develops and promotes tourism that supports organic agriculture, sustainable land use, nature and environmental protection, rural development and the protection of cultural heritage and landscapes. ECEAT was established in 1991 by several environmental, organic agriculture and nature protection organisations.
Partners The European Network for Sustainable Tourism Development, ECOTRANS (D) International Friends of Nature, NFI (A) Stattreisen Hannover (D) Agenzia Regionale Prevenziona e Ambiente dell’Emilia-Romagna, ARPA-ER Bologna (I)


Project reference LIFE00 ENV/NL/000810
Duration 01-JAN-2001 to 30-JUN -2004
Total budget 1,804,918.00 €
EU contribution 882,858.00 €
Project location Burgenland(Österreich) Niederösterreich(Österreich) Wien(Österreich) Kärnten(Österreich) Steiermark(Österreich) Oberösterreich(Österreich) Salzburg(Österreich) Tirol(Österreich) Vorarlberg(Österreich) Vlaams Gewest(België - Belgique) Région Wallonne(België - Belgique) Bruxelles-Brussel(België - Belgique) Associated Czech (CZ)(Czech Cesko) Schleswig-Holstein(Deutschland) Hamburg(Deutschland) Niedersachsen(Deutschland) Bremen(Deutschland) Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland) Hessen(Deutschland) Rheinland-Pfalz(Deutschland) Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland) Bayern(Deutschland) Saarland(Deutschland) Berlin(Deutschland) Brandenburg(Deutschland) Mecklenburg-Vorpommern(Deutschland) Sachsen(Deutschland) Sachsen-Anhalt(Deutschland) Thüringen(Deutschland) København Og Frederiksberg Kommuner(Danmark) Københavns amt(Danmark) Frederiksborg amt(Danmark) Roskilde amt(Danmark) Vestjællands amt(Danmark) Storstrøms amt(Danmark) Bornholms amt(Danmark) Fyns amt(Danmark) Sønderjyllands amt(Danmark) Ribe amt(Danmark) Vejle amt(Danmark) Ringkøbing amt(Danmark) Århus amt(Danmark) Viborg amt(Danmark) Nordjyllands amt(Danmark) Cataluña(España) Île,de,France(France) Champagne-Ardennes(France) Picardie(France) Haute-Normandie(France) Centre(France) Basse-Normandie(France) Bourgogne(France) Nord-Pas-De-Calais(France) Lorraine(France) Alsace(France) Franche-Comté(France) Pays de la Loire(France) Bretagne(France) Poitou-Charentes(France) Aquitaine(France) Midi-Pyrénées(France) Limousin(France) Rhône-Alpes(France) Auvergne(France) Languedoc-Roussillon(France) Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France) Corse(France) Guadeloupe(France) Martinique(France) Guyane(France) Réunion(France) Uusimaa(Finland Suomi) Varsinais-Suomi(Finland Suomi) Satakunta(Finland Suomi) Häme(Finland Suomi) Pirkanmaa(Finland Suomi) Päijät-Häme(Finland Suomi) Kymenlaakso(Finland Suomi) Etelä-Karjala(Finland Suomi) Etelä-Savo(Finland Suomi) Pohjois-Savo(Finland Suomi) Pohjois-Karjala(Finland Suomi) Kainuu(Finland Suomi) Keski-Suomi(Finland Suomi) Etelä-Pohjanmaa(Finland Suomi) Vaasan rannikkoseutu(Finland Suomi) Keski-Pohjanmaa(Finland Suomi) Pohjois-Pohjanmaa(Finland Suomi) Lappi(Finland Suomi) Ahvenanmaa/Åland(Finland Suomi) Baltic Sea Suomi (SF)(Finland Suomi) Associated Hungary (H)(Hungary Magyarország) East(Ireland) South West (IRL)(Ireland) South East (IRL)(Ireland) North East(Ireland) Mid West(Ireland) Donegal(Ireland) Midlands(Ireland) West(Ireland) North West (IRL)(Ireland) Mid East(Ireland) Border(Ireland) Piemonte(Italia) Valle d'Aosta(Italia) Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Trentino-Alto Adige(Italia) Veneto(Italia) Friuli-Venezia Giulia(Italia) Emilia-Romagna(Italia) Toscana(Italia) Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Campania(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Calabria(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Sardegna(Italia) Luxembourg(Luxembourg) Associated Latvia (LV)(Latvia Latvija) Groningen(Nederland) Friesland(Nederland) Drenthe(Nederland) Overijssel(Nederland) Gelderland(Nederland) Flevoland(Nederland) Noord-Brabant(Nederland) Limburg(Nederland) Utrecht(Nederland) Noord-Holland(Nederland) Zuid-Holland(Nederland) Zeeland(Nederland) Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal) Associated Poland (PL)(Poland Polska) Stockholm(Sverige) Östra Mellansverige(Sverige) Småland med Öarna(Sverige) Sydsverige(Sverige) Västsverige(Sverige) Norra Mellansverige(Sverige) Mellersta Norrland(Sverige) Övre Norrland(Sverige) Baltic Sea Sverige (S)(Sverige) Scotland(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Project web site Project's website
Publication: Layman report "Die Visit Initiative : Umweltzeichen für Tourismu ...
Publication: Layman report "The VISIT Initiative" (EN/DE/IT)
Publication: Layman report "L'inizitiva Visit : Marchi ambientali nel turismo ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version