STEP: The Gold Standard In Eco-Certification
One of the first standards to be formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the innovative STEP Eco-Certification Standard is designed to help your business thoughtfully integrate sustainable practices. Applicants have the opportunity to manage their impacts and verify their efforts, while receiving recognition that helps to differentiate them in an increasingly competitive market.
Our systematic approach begins with a self-assessment, then focuses on a set of industry-standard baseline best practices. As time and resources allow, you’ll identify and implement practices that are most appropriate for your business, while monitoring your progress and refining your systems. As a result, your business can experience both immediate ROI and long-term sustainability.
STEP features sector-specific criteria for accommodations, attractions, in-bound and out-bound tour operators, and transportation providers.
Created in partnership with Leading Hotels of the World and Leading Quality Assurance, this standard features criteria designed specifically to meet the needs of luxury resorts and accommodations. Learn more.
A unique sector-specific standard designed in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., SCUBA Schools International, and Ocean First Divers featuring criteria which support dive operations in the office and on the water. Learn more.
The only global sustainability program designed specifically for marine and land-based shore excursion operators who serve the cruise lines. The program was created in collaboration with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Conservation International, with support from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Participants are certified to the STEP standard most appropriate for their operations. Learn more.
There are a number of certification programs out there? Why choose STEP?
- Incremental Approach: We provide you with the tools necessary to succeed at your own pace, achieving higher levels of certification over time.
- Management Tools: The STEP Sustainability Toolkit gives you the management tools you need to assess your operations, identify industry best practices, and emphasize positive returns
- Participatory and Collaborative: At each level you’ll be asked to gather input from your staff, guests, and community.
- Triple Bottom Line: STEP includes environmental, social and economic best practices to improve your bottom line and increase market strength.
- Return On Investment: Businesses that integrate aspects of the standard into their management plans realize cost savings through resource efficiencies, lower operating costs, and supply chain optimization.
- Adaptability: Perfect for newcomers and seasoned sustainability experts in all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. STEP helps you identify and prioritize the right areas for your business.
- Flexibility: Submit your own criteria for approval if you do good work in areas not already covered by the program.
- Accessibility: STEP is an international standard available in multiple languages, and works well for businesses of all sizes, across all sectors of the travel and tourism industry.
- Advisory Services: Sustainable Travel International is staffed with global experts in the fields of sustainability planning and eco-certification.
- Marketing Benefits: Work with the Sustainable Travel International team to develop your online Sustainability Profile and communicate your efforts to current and future visitors.
STEP Theme Areas Include:
- Business Planning
- Guest Experience
- Workplace Practices
- Environmental Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Ecosystem Preservation
- Community Impacts
The STEP Eco-Certification Process
STEP was designed for the travel and tourism industry by the travel and tourism industry. This means we understand the unique circumstances accommodations, tour operators, attraction managers and other travel providers face on a daily, monthly, and seasonal basis.
More than just a checklist of best practices, STEP allows you to measure your impacts, identify your priorities and invest in real change. You’ll develop policies and action plans in areas relevant to your business, guests, and staff.
Successful businesses ramp up their sustainability investments and make incremental progress over time. Our easy 3-step process helps you set goals, track your progress and plan for the long term.
- Online Access to the
STEP Sustainability Toolkit & Self-Assessment
$250-$750/annual fee Sign up now!
- 1-2 hour Self-Assessment (required for eco-certification)
- Benchmarking and Performance Tracking Reports
- Policy and Guidance Templates
- 20-page Guide to Sustainability Planning & Reporting
- Yearly renewal fee includes online access and required annual monitoring
- Apply for STEP Bronze Certification
$250-$750/one-time fee Sign up now!
- Businesses that complete the self-assessment have the opportunity to apply for the Bronze certification via a remote Desk Assessment. (20-40 hours)
- Applicants demonstrate evidence of compliance with 20 universally accepted (GSTC) baseline best practices for any tourism business operating sustainably. Examples include:
- Mission Statement
- Code of Conduct
- Legal Compliance
- Environmental Management Policies
- Desk Assessment Report: Formal review of above documents, with feedback and advice on sustainability management plan by an accredited STEP Assessor
- Apply for STEP Silver/Gold/Platinum Certification
via an On-Site Assessment
Fees vary; $400-$1200/day
- Sustainability management plan addressing additional criteria beyond the baseline efforts
- 3rd-Party Assessment
- Accredited STEP assessor comes on site and spends multiple days performing an objective assessment of operations
- Receive an in-depth assessment report with qualitative feedback on policies and plan, corrective actions and recognition for your efforts
Ready to get started on your path to sustainability?
- Sign up for Step 1 and 2 online today using our easy registration form.
- Call or email Sustainable Travel International to schedule a consultation.
Call or email Sustainable Travel International to schedule a consultation: