In March of this year, the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) launched its new OH Sustainable Tourism Program in partnership with GreenStep, a leading organization helping businesses and organizations to measure and improve their sustainability performance.
To leverage this new program, OHTO is pleased to bring the GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Assessment Progam to its members and be able to support tourism operators financially through the process in order to pursue Sustainable Tourism Certification. The first green step is to complete the Free Sustainability Scorecard to get an idea of where your tourism business or destination is doing well, and where you have room for improvement based on your current performance across four key categories: Management, Social and Economic, Natural and Cultural, and Environmental.
From here, you will have a video or phone call with a team member from OHTO and the GreenStep, to discuss the next steps. The journey will be different for everyone, and you may just be surprised at how well you score!
Not yet a member of the OHTO Industry Community? Sign up here
For a full program overview, view the PDF
How will this help my business?
Tourists are looking for ways to be more sustainable in their travel, and look for ways to verify businesses engaging in sustainable actions. Research shows that businesses who are actively trying to address social and environmental issues in their business retain employees better, and have a more loyal consumer base. All of this works to generate higher returns for tourism businesses by engaging in behaviours that are good for people, the planet, AND profit.
Sustainable Tourism Program helps you recognize the good things you’re doing, and gives you guidance and support to work on the initiatives you want to employ. The Sustainable Tourism Certification shows customers, employees, and fellow business owners that you are doing good things for the world, and have the credibility to prove it.
GreenStep Corporate Overview
GreenStep was founded in 2008 to help businesses and organizations measure and improve their sustainability performance. Through their Sustainable Tourism division, started in 2013, GreenStep has provided hundreds of assessments, certifications, and customized support for tourism businesses and destinations to measure and improve their sustainability performance. They also offer an innovative EcoFund program for hotels and resorts, carbon measurement training and software, energy, water, and waste audits, custom sustainability action plans, general consulting support, public speaking, workshops, and Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) training.
In 2018, GreenStep launched their proprietary Sustainable Tourism business criteria. This criteria achieved formal recognition with the Global Sustainable Tourism council in 2019, making GreenStep the first certification provider based in North America to offer a GSTC-Recognized certification and assessment tool for the entire tourism industry. In 2020 GreenStep launched their Sustainable Tourism destination criteria, which was recognized by
the GSTC in 2021.
The criteria is aligned with the GSTC destination criteria, and includes indicators from the United Nations Indicators for Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, together with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, GreenStep launched the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge, which tourism businesses and destinations can sign on to as a public declaration of their commitment to measure and improve their sustainability performance between now.
Learn more about the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge
Email OHTO's Industry Support Coordinator to learn more and see if you are eligible for financial support!