2.8 Understanding sustainability: Norway's Feature

This case study will help you see how a sustainable strategy can be developed, and how national certification programmes can help clarify the transformation process for businesses.

Developing and Measuring Sustainability

Through this case study, you'll be able to discover Visit Norway's sustainability strategy and how the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is allowing businesses and individuals to make more sustainable decisions.

Developing and Measuring Sustainability

Through this case study, you'll be able to discover Visit Norway's sustainability strategy and how the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is allowing businesses and individuals to make more sustainable decisions.

Main Takeaways from this Case Study

  1. The sustainable strategy of the DMO needs to observe all dimensions affected by its operations: marketing, industry, customers, etc.
  2. National sustainable certification methods provide clarity for customers and ease the transformation process for businesses.

The National Strategy

According to Visit Norway, sustainability in tourism is led by innovation, something we were able to discover during our live session in week 6.

Their sustainability strategy is built upon five main pillars:

  • Promoting the use of certifications that contain climate requirements.
  • Encouraging soft mobility (local transport and activities without emissions).
  • Working with actors who can help increase their length of stay and value creation.
  • Adhering to measures that go beyond what the national laws require.
  • Encouraging people to visit places that are labelled as a Sustainable Destination.
  • Increasing tourism, including profitability and jobs, the ripple effects, guest satisfaction for priority target groups, attractive local communities and happy residents.
  • Decrease by at least 50% their carbon footprint.

Sustainable Destination is Norway's only national labelling scheme for travel destinations. It is a tool for the sustainable development of businesses and destinations when it comes to the environment, the local community, the cultural heritage, and the economy.

Visit Norway's sustainable strategy was published in May 2021 and developed through the pandemic. The 2030 national tourism strategy's goal is to create a big impact with a small footprint, which they aim to support through their digital messages.

Norway is an oil-based economy, which concerns the team at Visit Norway in their goal to become a sustainable destination. In addition, they are aware of greenwashing, which they aim to prevent by grounding all stories on sustainability. Nonetheless, in order to achieve their goals, Visit Norway have developed an action plan as part of their strategy that contains 23 different actions.

CO2rism: The Climate Smart Calculator

One of the actions included is a CO2 calculator to determine how many kilos of CO2 tourism consumption generates in each country. This allows them to identify what markets are worth working and cooperating with and determine whether these countries spend enough in offsetting their climate impact.

The Restart Plan

Also as part of their action plan, they have developed the "Restart Plan". This project is divided into six different programmes, through which they work with different tourism organisations to succeed in shifting the tourism industry.

  1. Adventure tourism.
  2. Active holidays.
  3. MICE.
  4. Food tourism.
  5. City breaks.
  6. Arts & culture tourism.

National Measurement Methods

The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is Norway's most widely used certification scheme for enterprises seeking to document their environmental efforts and demonstrate social responsibility. Their focus is to make the process inexpensive and easy so it becomes fundamental for businesses.

The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation takes real and relevant action by offering guidance on taking specific actions, providing continuous improvement and work, informing businesses about their direct and indirect impact, helping businesses with their measurement and reporting and also to adopt digitalisation and adapt their systems. Through this, their purpose is to create a culture for making opportunities, spark business ideas and, ultimately, make an impact.

The criteria used to measure direct impact considers waste, transport, procurement, energy and the working environment. For example, within waste criteria, food waste is looked at from the perspective of how to measure it and how to reduce it. She highlighted that, in order to adapt to each business, they use a mix of pre-existing and tailor-made indicators, which ensures the involvement in the culture and guarantees that these become part of the business framework.

It is a reality that there are a variety of programmes worldwide, which causes competition within the sector. Despite this being a good thing, it can only be good as long as it doesn't confuse businesses and the repetition of systems is avoided for efficiency purposes. But what are the differences between the Eco-Lighthouse Certification other certifications such as that from the Global Tourism Sustainable Council (GTSC)? The most important part of the Eco-Lighthouse's business model is to spark action, not to raise financial benefits, with the certification system's main purpose system being to avoid greenwashing.

Visit Bergen and Visit Oslo, two Norwegian destinations which have adopted the certification, agree that to encourage improvement and drive the industry to become more sustainable, it is important to address both the heart and the head when discussing sustainability. They state that the creation of a vision for a long-lasting business while making them understand that the adoption of sustainability is key to remain in the market, is of utmost importance for the sake of both businesses and consumers.

Visit Bergen decided to get certified by the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation due to the fact that understanding the impacts and aspects that you need to work on can be time-consuming, and this organisation could help them accelerate the process. In addition, and analysing that as a DMO branding is their most important task, Visit Bergen recognise that encouraging other stakeholders in the destination to get certified is key.  

Visit Oslo, on the other hand, are also certified as an Eco-Lighthouse Destination, which has helped them greatly due to the provision of good recipes to plan and act from the Foundation. One of Visit Oslo's current roles is to create a discussion around sustainability amongst its members and partners, which has transformed the DMO into a knowledge hub. Moreover, with visitors increasingly seeking sustainable and cleaner forms of tourism, businesses need to adapt, which provides a great opportunity for DMOs to exploit sustainability.  

Developing and Measuring Sustainability

Through this case study, you'll be able to discover Visit Norway's sustainability strategy and how the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is allowing businesses and individuals to make more sustainable decisions.

Developing and Measuring Sustainability

Through this case study, you'll be able to discover Visit Norway's sustainability strategy and how the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is allowing businesses and individuals to make more sustainable decisions.

Main Takeaways from this Case Study

  1. The sustainable strategy of the DMO needs to observe all dimensions affected by its operations: marketing, industry, customers, etc.
  2. National sustainable certification methods provide clarity for customers and ease the transformation process for businesses.

The National Strategy

According to Visit Norway, sustainability in tourism is led by innovation, something we were able to discover during our live session in week 6.

Their sustainability strategy is built upon five main pillars:

  • Promoting the use of certifications that contain climate requirements.
  • Encouraging soft mobility (local transport and activities without emissions).
  • Working with actors who can help increase their length of stay and value creation.
  • Adhering to measures that go beyond what the national laws require.
  • Encouraging people to visit places that are labelled as a Sustainable Destination.
  • Increasing tourism, including profitability and jobs, the ripple effects, guest satisfaction for priority target groups, attractive local communities and happy residents.
  • Decrease by at least 50% their carbon footprint.

Sustainable Destination is Norway's only national labelling scheme for travel destinations. It is a tool for the sustainable development of businesses and destinations when it comes to the environment, the local community, the cultural heritage, and the economy.

Visit Norway's sustainable strategy was published in May 2021 and developed through the pandemic. The 2030 national tourism strategy's goal is to create a big impact with a small footprint, which they aim to support through their digital messages.

Norway is an oil-based economy, which concerns the team at Visit Norway in their goal to become a sustainable destination. In addition, they are aware of greenwashing, which they aim to prevent by grounding all stories on sustainability. Nonetheless, in order to achieve their goals, Visit Norway have developed an action plan as part of their strategy that contains 23 different actions.

CO2rism: The Climate Smart Calculator

One of the actions included is a CO2 calculator to determine how many kilos of CO2 tourism consumption generates in each country. This allows them to identify what markets are worth working and cooperating with and determine whether these countries spend enough in offsetting their climate impact.

The Restart Plan

Also as part of their action plan, they have developed the "Restart Plan". This project is divided into six different programmes, through which they work with different tourism organisations to succeed in shifting the tourism industry.

  1. Adventure tourism.
  2. Active holidays.
  3. MICE.
  4. Food tourism.
  5. City breaks.
  6. Arts & culture tourism.

National Measurement Methods

The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation Certification is Norway's most widely used certification scheme for enterprises seeking to document their environmental efforts and demonstrate social responsibility. Their focus is to make the process inexpensive and easy so it becomes fundamental for businesses.

The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation takes real and relevant action by offering guidance on taking specific actions, providing continuous improvement and work, informing businesses about their direct and indirect impact, helping businesses with their measurement and reporting and also to adopt digitalisation and adapt their systems. Through this, their purpose is to create a culture for making opportunities, spark business ideas and, ultimately, make an impact.

The criteria used to measure direct impact considers waste, transport, procurement, energy and the working environment. For example, within waste criteria, food waste is looked at from the perspective of how to measure it and how to reduce it. She highlighted that, in order to adapt to each business, they use a mix of pre-existing and tailor-made indicators, which ensures the involvement in the culture and guarantees that these become part of the business framework.

It is a reality that there are a variety of programmes worldwide, which causes competition within the sector. Despite this being a good thing, it can only be good as long as it doesn't confuse businesses and the repetition of systems is avoided for efficiency purposes. But what are the differences between the Eco-Lighthouse Certification other certifications such as that from the Global Tourism Sustainable Council (GTSC)? The most important part of the Eco-Lighthouse's business model is to spark action, not to raise financial benefits, with the certification system's main purpose system being to avoid greenwashing.

Visit Bergen and Visit Oslo, two Norwegian destinations which have adopted the certification, agree that to encourage improvement and drive the industry to become more sustainable, it is important to address both the heart and the head when discussing sustainability. They state that the creation of a vision for a long-lasting business while making them understand that the adoption of sustainability is key to remain in the market, is of utmost importance for the sake of both businesses and consumers.

Visit Bergen decided to get certified by the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation due to the fact that understanding the impacts and aspects that you need to work on can be time-consuming, and this organisation could help them accelerate the process. In addition, and analysing that as a DMO branding is their most important task, Visit Bergen recognise that encouraging other stakeholders in the destination to get certified is key.  

Visit Oslo, on the other hand, are also certified as an Eco-Lighthouse Destination, which has helped them greatly due to the provision of good recipes to plan and act from the Foundation. One of Visit Oslo's current roles is to create a discussion around sustainability amongst its members and partners, which has transformed the DMO into a knowledge hub. Moreover, with visitors increasingly seeking sustainable and cleaner forms of tourism, businesses need to adapt, which provides a great opportunity for DMOs to exploit sustainability.