From project to label – it all started in 2004 with a project by the environment and development organisation kate.
EMAS, ISO & Co
There have already been several approaches to certification with elements of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Apart from EMAS, also known as EU Eco-Audit, ISO 14001 already was a certifiable, international norm which does not require a public environmental report, though. Standards for a quality management in companies were set by ISO 9001, social criteria were considered in SA 8000.
The central question
In 2004, kate Umwelt & Entwicklung in cooperation with Tourism Watch, the Spanish development organisation ACSUD Las Segovias, and with the support of the European Commission, conducted a project that dealt with the implementation of CSR in tourism. The central question, a recurrent theme throughout the entire project, was:
How do tourism enterprises handle social responsibility?
The project work consisted of the company survey, several conferences and discussion rounds, visits to trade fairs, and dialogue events and was accompanied by PR.
It was clear that a CSR certification of tourism businesses would need to equally integrate ecological and social aspects and should contribute to a standardisation of criteria.
„We will have to create a new system that does not strive for money and wealth, but for values that come from the heart.“
Reaching our goal together
Developing the system
In cooperation with the tour operators’ association forum anders reisen, kate developed a system with meaningful criteria that reflects CSR for tour operators.
Together with five pilot enterprises, the experts developed and tested a simple reporting system. As a result, every company had introduced a sustainability system and produced its public sustainability report.
Step by Step
In 2008, a comprehensive guideline on CSR reporting in tourism emerged from the pilot phase, in which steps on the way to sustainability reporting and guidelines for CSR in tourism were established. In this way, every company was able to present its sustainable business operations to its customers, partners and the public make the most important indicators transparent.
Foundation of TourCert
To ensure a certification system that is both independent and credible, in 2009 the partners kate, Tourism Watch, Naturefriends International, and Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development founded the not-for-profit company for certification in tourism “TourCert“.
TourCert takes off
In 2015, TourCert was transformed into a not-for-profit limited company. The two CEOs have since been Marco Giraldo and Peter Zimmer. Apart from the head office in Stuttgart, TourCert now also has other offices in Europe and Latin America.
The TourCert Community is growing
The first companies started to join the process in early 2009. By now, TourCert has become an internationally recognised partner on sustainability and innovation in tourism with the task of promoting corporate economic, ecological and social responsibility in tourism.