For corporations, it is fashionable to ‘go green’ these days. Plenty of companies call themselves an ecoresort, ecohotel, or ecolodge. However, not all of them are what they claim and only adapt the label without putting in the work of genuinely becoming green. As a consumer, you need to know what the truth is, and here are some ways you could start.
What makes an ecolodge, hotel, or resort
At most, a place with 60 rooms is classified as an ‘ecolodge,’ while those with more are labeled ‘ecoresorts.’ More than the number of rooms, though, an establishment should adhere to some building and operations guidelines. According to ecotourism expert and International Tourism Society founding board member Hitesh Mehta, to be classified as a green lodge, a place must meet three primary qualifications. The institution should be nature-based, offer programs for environmental awareness, and benefit the locals.
Furthermore, they should have at least two more features that show their commitment to the environment. For example, they should use renewable energy, acquire water sustainably, and ensure that their resort or lodge fits into the local landscaping and cultural context.
Apart from using and conserving natural resources, green establishments must also practice careful solid waste disposal and involve the local community during the resort’s planning. If the owner manages to do at least some of these, his business may be called a green institution.
How to identify a truly eco-conscious place
Regional and national ecotourism authorities often create certification programs for resorts and lodges. However, these have rather loose classification systems, making it easy for just about any company to get a green designation. Often, they require accommodations to meet only one out of six requirements.
These measures are not even in the same category in terms of implementation. Programs often put side-by-side requirements like ‘use eco-friendly detergent,’ ‘donate to an environmental organization,’ and ‘LEED and Energy Star certification.’
Programs do not make distinctions among ecoresorts that have the green designation. A resort that uses organic soap and a place with low-emission and low-waste practices might get the same label.
There are no universally agreed-upon certification guidelines for ecolodges, but some groups have proposed standards. For example, there are Ecolodge Guidelines on the International Ecotourism Society’s website. Based on Mehta’s research and criteria, this is the guiding principle used by several national ecolodge certification systems.
Also, the Japan Ecolodge Association has a checklist of 110 items for its members. It has parts about green purchasing, environmental conservation, energy and water use reduction, and more.
For reliable, ethical eco lodging, you have to do your research on the places you intend to stay during your trip. The International Ecotourism Society is an excellent place to start. They list tour operators, establishments, and professionals committed to continually learning about and educating the public on conservation on their website. With this list, you are sure you’ll be patronizing groups and individuals who are not riding the green trend and aren’t just making a quick buck off it.
You could also skip the search and go for Riverhouse Phuket. Our energy-efficient villas are powered by solar panel systems on a smart grid, and we have a unique dehumidifier system eliminating the need for air conditioning. With its abundance of open and green spaces and its modern design, Riverhouse truly is the home of the future. Book your stay or get in touch with us today for more information.