A new International Standard aims to help accommodation facilities to improve their impact on the environment, promote social exchange, and make positive contributions to local economies.
As the first impartial International Standard dedicated to accommodation, ISO 21401, Tourism and related services – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments – Requirements, specifies the environmental, social and economic requirements for implementing a sustainability management system in tourist accommodation.
The standard addresses issues including human rights, health and safety for employees and guests, environmental protection, water and energy consumption, and waste generation.
Manuel Otero, Chair of the ISO technical committee that created ISO 21401, commented that while there are many initiatives that accommodation providers could use to improve their environmental practices, none integrate social and economic aspects or are independent of commercial interests.
“This internationally-agreed standard provides clarity in a confusing market, applies to all types of accommodation and can serve as a tool to improve sustainable management,” Otero said. “It will also help to stimulate the market for more sustainability in both the accommodation sector and the tourism industry as a whole.”
Alexandre Garrido, convenor of the working group involved in the development of ISO 21401, added that accommodation providers who implement a sustainability management system based on ISO 21401 will be able to attest to their guests and the market that they are sustainable businesses.
“ISO 21401 will benefit accommodation facilities by strengthening their management and improving their reputation, while providing better-quality services to clients and improving relationships with suppliers, employees and the local community,” Garrido said.