Environmental auditing is a "management tool
comprising a systematic, documented, periodic
and objective evaluation of how well environmental
organisations, management and equipment are
performing with the aim of helping to safeguard
the environment" (ICC, 1989) (more).
EA represents a proactive approach, which adoption
enables tourist companies not only to comply
with legislation but also to identify problems,
take measures, evaluate environmental performance,
become eco-efficient, provide a database for
future (corrective) action and therefore they
have the opportunity to increase their competitiveness.
EA brings a number of benefits: prevention
of fines and penalties (due to ensured compliance
with legislation), public image improvement,
increase awareness of environmental policies
and responsibilities among all the personnel,
cost reduction (for example in the area of energy
and water use and waste minimization) and improvement
in overall quality (find
RELACS - REnewabLe energy for tourist ACcomodation buildings www.relacs.eu
This IEE project - launched at the end of May 2010 in Modena - aims at involving and motivating a significant number of hotels (including all kind of accommodation-hospitality buildings: hotels, residences, camping, youth hostels, farm tourism, refuges, bed & breakfasts, …) throughout Europe to invest in the renewable energy technologies and in the environment.
In order to reach its main goal of reducing energy use and CO2 emissions, the project will develop appealing marketing tools for hotels, creating: a European tourist resort network; European Catalogue of “Green” hotels; a sustainable energy logo; "light" energy audits in their premises, etc.
On a broader scale, this project seeks to overcome the following barriers:
- the lack of awareness (among the hotel’s management and staff) for the large energy saving potentials incumbent in hotel buildings
- the lack of information (among the hotel’s management and staff) on what concrete measures can be taken to improve the environmental record in hotel buildings
- the still widespread perception that environmental protection and sustainable tourism is equivalent to a loss in comfort and convenience
- the lack of motivation among staff to get involved in environmental campaigns and activities at the workplace
- the assumption that achieving substantial energy savings and sustainable tourism requires unjustified investments.