Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP

Certified Special Events Professional

Event Management Authority

Like angels and elephants dancing on the head of a pin, our dreams and responsibilities may have no limits, but must be balanced according to the music of the moment.









Content analysis of Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria mapped to the EMBOK

15 October 2008


Below is a content analysis mapping of the newly released Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria to the knowledge domains of the International EMBOK framework. The criteria, proposed by the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, are divided into four areas:


A. Demonstrate effective sustainable management.

B. Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts.

C. Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts.

D. Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts.


These criteria were conceived as the beginning of a process to make sustainability the standard practice in all forms of tourism, including event and business tourism (e.g. attendance at meetings and events being the primary purpose for travel to a destination). Organizers of planned events of any type and in any location may use this analysis to benchmark their current endeavors and devise tactics to enhance the sustainability of their businesses, their events, and the environments in which their events take place.


As shown below, many of the facets of the EMBOK domains are not used in this analysis mapping, although various criteria reference other applicable facets (e.g. food and drink, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.). Event organizers are welcome to provide interpretations and suggestions for tactics in all the functional categories in this framework, as well as comments on this analysis. 





Human Resources

A.3. All personnel receive periodic training regarding their role in the management of environmental, sociocultural, health, and safety practices.

B.2. Local residents are employed, including in management positions. Training is offered as necessary.

B.7. The company is equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions, while restraining child labor.

B.8. The international or national legal protection of employees is respected, and employees are paid a living wage.




B.3. Local and fair-trade services and goods are purchased by the business, where available.

B.4. The company offers the means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history, and culture (including food and drink, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).

D.1.1. Purchasing policy favors environmentally friendly products for building materials, capital goods, food, and consumables.

D.1.2. The purchase of disposable and consumable goods is measured, and the business actively seeks ways to reduce their use.


B.1. The company actively supports initiatives for social and infrastructure community development including, among others, education, health, and sanitation.

B.5.  A code of conduct for activities in indigenous and local communities has been developed, with the consent of and in collaboration with the community.


A.1. The company has implemented a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scale, and that considers environmental, sociocultural, quality, health, and safety issues.









D.3.2. No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, and living specimens of protected wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them.

D.3.5. Interactions with wildlife must not produce adverse effects on the viability of populations in the wild; and any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management


D.3.3. The business uses native species for landscaping and restoration, and takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien species.




C.4. The business uses elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage in its operations, design, decoration, food, or shops; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.




Marketing Plan

A.4. Customer satisfaction is measured and corrective action taken where appropriate.


A.5. Promotional materials are accurate and complete and do not promise more than can be delivered by the business.


C.2. Historical and archeological artifacts are not sold, traded, or displayed, except as permitted by law.

D.3.1. Wildlife species are only harvested from the wild, consumed, displayed, sold, or internationally traded, as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable.



Public Relations








A.7. Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings, local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to customers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites.




B.9. The activities of the company do not jeopardize the provision of basic services, such as water, energy, or sanitation, to neighboring communities.

D.1.3. Energy consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted, while encouraging the use of renewable energy.

D.1.4. Water consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted.

D.2.1. Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the business are measured, and procedures are implemented to reduce and offset them as a way to achieve climate neutrality.

D.2.2. Wastewater, including gray water, is treated effectively and reused where possible.

D.2.3. A solid waste management plan is implemented, with quantitative goals to minimize waste that is not reused or recycled.






C.1. The company follows established guidelines or a code of behavior for visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites, in order to minimize visitor impact and maximize enjoyment.

C.3. The business contributes to the protection of local historical, archeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties and sites, and does not impede access to them by local residents.

D.2.5. The business implements practices to reduce pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air and soil contaminants.

D.3.4. The business contributes to the support of biodiversity conservation, including supporting natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.





A.2. The company is in compliance with all relevant international or local legislation and regulations (including, among others, health, safety, labor, and environmental aspects).

A.6. Design and construction of buildings and infrastructure:

A.6.1. comply with local zoning and protected or heritage area requirements;

A.6.2. respect the natural or cultural heritage surroundings in siting, design, impact assessment, and land rights and acquisition;

A.6.3. use locally appropriate principles of sustainable construction;

A.6.4. provide access for persons with special needs.


B.6. The company has implemented a policy against commercial exploitation, particularly of children and adolescents, including sexual exploitation.




D.2.4. The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is minimized; substituted, when available, by innocuous products; and all chemical use is properly managed.







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