The VISIT Standard
21 key requirements for tourism eco-labels in Europe
VISIT’s remit is to promote those eco-labels, which guarantee
a high level of environmental quality of their products in their
respective countries. A common standard for tourism eco-labels in
Europe is required in order to recognise those eco-labels that are
highly demanding and reliable. According to International Standards
Organisation (ISO) terminology, this means fulfilling the requirements
for so called ‘type I’ third party verified certificates.
This ensures that eco-labelled products meeting the standard are
not misleading consumers or making erroneous claims regarding their
In 2001/2002, a partnership with 10 regional, national and international
eco-labelling schemes was established within the VISIT project. Together
with ECOTRANS, as independent co-ordinator, these labels based their
work on the internationally recognised ISO 14024 standard for “Type
I Eco-labels”. Step by step, all ISO requirements were discussed
and adapted to the needs of tourism services in Europe. The profound
knowledge of the different circumstances in the countries involved,
and the daily work experience of the experts, resulted in the “VISIT
Standard for tourism eco-labels in Europe”.
At the end of 2002, the participating eco-labelling organisations
recognised this standard for their own schemes. The “heart” consists
of 21 key requirements. The recognition of the VISIT Standard and
the compliance with its requirements was accepted as a precondition
for any later promotion as “VISIT eco-labels”.
The eco-label for tourism services ("VISIT eco-label")
- aims to contribute to sustainable tourism development
in Europe and - as far as possible – to verify those
products with advanced performance in terms of environmental
- aims to contribute to maintaining and enhancing
service quality in tourism in Europe.
- recognises other
eco-labels meeting the VISIT Standard.
- has considered product
life cycle issues when setting product environmental criteria.
attainable levels and gives consideration to relative environmental
impacts (“per unit”),
measurement capability and accuracy.
- is based on sound
scientific, engineering, management and social principles.
The criteria are derived from data that support the claim
of environmental preferability (high environmental benefit
- takes into account, during the process
of establishing the criteria, relevant local, regional and
global environmental issues,
available technology, and economic and social issues
avoiding compromising service quality.
- reviews the criteria
and product functional requirements within a predefined
- declares that compliance with environmental and other
relevant legislation is a pre-condition for the applicant
to be awarded and to maintain the label.
- selected product
environmental criteria, which are expressed in terms of impacts
on the environment and natural resources or emissions to
the environment. Such performance criteria shall be expressed
in absolute (numbers) or relative (%) figures and measure units
(e.g. kWh, litre, volume, weight per product, room, bed,
overnight stay, m²)
and may also recommend the exclusion / non-use of special
materials or substances.
- requires criteria in the following
environmental fields as far as relevant in its area of operation
and as far as relevant for the specific product group: Purchasing,
transport and mobility, energy, water, waste, chemical
substances, air, noise, nature/landscape.
- for accommodation
shall have the following management criteria, which complement
other Environmental Management Systems: Environmental commitment,
Environmental co-ordinator, communication and training: guests,
staff, public; Monitoring regularly energy, water, waste
- is able to demonstrate transparency
through the following stages of its development and operation:
product environmental criteria, period of validity of
criteria, testing and verification methods, certification
and award procedures, compliance verification procedure,
- legally protects the eco-label
(i.e. the certification mark/logotype) in order to prevent
unauthorized use and to maintain
public confidence in the programme.
- is voluntary in nature.
- is open to all potential applicants
of the predefined product group in the area of operation.
All applicants who fulfill the
product environmental criteria and the other programme
requirements are entitled to be granted a license and
authorized to use the label.
- guarantees that all the elements
in the product environmental criteria and product function
characteristics are verifiable by the eco-labeling body.
- has a verification procedure, which guarantees a high level
of reliability. This includes on-site visits at least once
every three years (accommodation: once per certification
- has general rules guiding the overall operation of
the programme. These general rules control the general
conditions for the awarding of the licence and the
use of the label.
- issues awards on business performance against
criteria that apply to the site for a predefined period of
not more than three years.
- maintains a publicly available
list of products, which have been awarded the label.
(Version 12/2002; to be revised until 12/2004; full standard
and comparison with ISO 14024 published on: www.yourvisit.info)