2.6 Understanding Sustainability: Switzerland Tourism

This case study will provide you with an overview of Switzerland Tourism's sustainability strategy, which implements the UNSDGs, and their Swisstainable Programme.

Through this case study, you'll be able to understand how Switzerland maintains itself at the top of sustainable destinations, but also how they are managing to help the businesses in the industry to adopt more sustainable practices through the Swisstainable Programme.

The Swisstainable Strategy

Through this case study, you'll be able to understand how Switzerland maintains itself at the top of sustainable destinations, but also how they are managing to help the businesses in the industry to adopt more sustainable practices through the Swisstainable Programme.

Main Takeaways from this Case Study

  1. To remain competitive, adapting to consumer demands is just as important as having an appealing brand.
  2. A successful sustainable strategy must take into consideration the different levels and stages that different organisations may be at.

Strategy Highlights

  • The UNSDGs are applied at the Federal level to achieve sustainability.
  • The Swisstainable Programme has been created to close the sustainability knowledge gap amongst guests from all over the world by awarding sustainable service providers with emblems and the opportunity to act as role models.
  • Their sustainable development strategy focuses on three dimensions: environment, society and economy. In addition, their sustainable strategy aims to address three groups of stakeholders: guests, the tourism industry and Switzerland Tourism.

Summary

Helena Videtic, Sustainability Manager at Switzerland Tourism, presented the Swisstainable initiative, which encourages visitors to experience Switzerland more responsively, adding information on how the destination is implementing more sustainable practices, in the scope of mobility, water, nature conservation, air, food and recycling.

Helena's keynote started with a presentation of Switzerland Tourism, which has been promoting Switzerland as a holiday, travel and conference destination since 1917. She stated that they are responsible for developing and implementing demand-enhancing marketing programmes and promoting a strong Swiss tourism brand.

When introducing the Swisstainable strategy, Helena covered a number of points. She said they and their values stand for heritage, reliability and safety, and that they differentiate themselves from other DMOs because of their diversity, convenience and sustainability. If you were wondering what guests get out of the experience, she mentioned that the benefits they get are relaxation, naturalness and activation, which makes the brand be perceived as refreshing and different, as well as authentic.

Helena then moved on to positioning Switzerland's strategy as of today. They are applying the 17 United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, the Swiss Federation Council has committed to a climate-neutral Switzerland by 2050 and sustainability takes on a central role in the federal government's new tourism strategy. In addition to this, numerous tourism service providers, destinations and industry associations are already committed to sustainable development. Switzerland as a travel destination differentiates itself through sustainability.

Furthermore, Helena highlighted the necessity to stand out amongst competitors now that sustainability is becoming more and more important for travellers. That is why they have created a brand with the purpose of attracting attention: Swisstainable, a unique sustainability model for Switzerland.

The way in which Swisstainable is communicated is key for the success of the brand, which is why they follow four different principles:

  1. Convince rather than persuade.
  2. Reward rather than lecture.
  3. Put people at the centre of things.
  4. Focus on nature and regional assets.

The Swisstainable Programme

This sustainability programme has been created in collaboration with the whole industry and their academic partner, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, which means that it has been created by the industry and for the industry. Already 600+ companies have joined the programme.  

Helena explained that the programme is divided into three different levels, committed, engaged and leading, which take into consideration the different requirements and the corresponding levels of commitment to sustainability.

  • Level I - Committed. The first level is aimed at businesses without certifications or other sustainability credentials that want to commit to sustainable business management and further develop their business towards sustainability.
  • Level II - Engaged. The second level also requires a commitment to sustainable corporate management and ongoing further development. In addition, certification or another credential in at least one sustainability area is required to be awarded this level.
  • Level III - Leading. This level is aimed at businesses that already have comprehensive and recognised sustainability certification. Consideration is given to certifications that cover all dimensions of sustainability and are regularly audited by third parties.

To wrap up her session, Helena went through the different tools which are used in the different levels depending on the requirements.

  • Tool 1 - Commitment to sustainability. Statements on the values and responsibilities of the organisations. Sets out 12 sustainability aspects for assessment which concern the environment, the society and the economy.
  • Tool 2 - Sustainability check. 24 statements for analysis of strengths and weaknesses and identify action plans, thematic analysis checklist on the environment, the society, and the economy.
  • Tool 3 - Sustainability measures. Forum to set out measures for sustainability area, responsibility, deadlines to take actions and review completion.
  • Tool 4 - Sustainability credentials. Recognised credentials individually, combined, for all sustainability aspects.

If you'd like, you can have a look at the whole Swisstainable Strategy through the document below! 👀

Through this case study, you'll be able to understand how Switzerland maintains itself at the top of sustainable destinations, but also how they are managing to help the businesses in the industry to adopt more sustainable practices through the Swisstainable Programme.

The Swisstainable Strategy

Through this case study, you'll be able to understand how Switzerland maintains itself at the top of sustainable destinations, but also how they are managing to help the businesses in the industry to adopt more sustainable practices through the Swisstainable Programme.

Main Takeaways from this Case Study

  1. To remain competitive, adapting to consumer demands is just as important as having an appealing brand.
  2. A successful sustainable strategy must take into consideration the different levels and stages that different organisations may be at.

Strategy Highlights

  • The UNSDGs are applied at the Federal level to achieve sustainability.
  • The Swisstainable Programme has been created to close the sustainability knowledge gap amongst guests from all over the world by awarding sustainable service providers with emblems and the opportunity to act as role models.
  • Their sustainable development strategy focuses on three dimensions: environment, society and economy. In addition, their sustainable strategy aims to address three groups of stakeholders: guests, the tourism industry and Switzerland Tourism.

Summary

Helena Videtic, Sustainability Manager at Switzerland Tourism, presented the Swisstainable initiative, which encourages visitors to experience Switzerland more responsively, adding information on how the destination is implementing more sustainable practices, in the scope of mobility, water, nature conservation, air, food and recycling.

Helena's keynote started with a presentation of Switzerland Tourism, which has been promoting Switzerland as a holiday, travel and conference destination since 1917. She stated that they are responsible for developing and implementing demand-enhancing marketing programmes and promoting a strong Swiss tourism brand.

When introducing the Swisstainable strategy, Helena covered a number of points. She said they and their values stand for heritage, reliability and safety, and that they differentiate themselves from other DMOs because of their diversity, convenience and sustainability. If you were wondering what guests get out of the experience, she mentioned that the benefits they get are relaxation, naturalness and activation, which makes the brand be perceived as refreshing and different, as well as authentic.

Helena then moved on to positioning Switzerland's strategy as of today. They are applying the 17 United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, the Swiss Federation Council has committed to a climate-neutral Switzerland by 2050 and sustainability takes on a central role in the federal government's new tourism strategy. In addition to this, numerous tourism service providers, destinations and industry associations are already committed to sustainable development. Switzerland as a travel destination differentiates itself through sustainability.

Furthermore, Helena highlighted the necessity to stand out amongst competitors now that sustainability is becoming more and more important for travellers. That is why they have created a brand with the purpose of attracting attention: Swisstainable, a unique sustainability model for Switzerland.

The way in which Swisstainable is communicated is key for the success of the brand, which is why they follow four different principles:

  1. Convince rather than persuade.
  2. Reward rather than lecture.
  3. Put people at the centre of things.
  4. Focus on nature and regional assets.

The Swisstainable Programme

This sustainability programme has been created in collaboration with the whole industry and their academic partner, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, which means that it has been created by the industry and for the industry. Already 600+ companies have joined the programme.  

Helena explained that the programme is divided into three different levels, committed, engaged and leading, which take into consideration the different requirements and the corresponding levels of commitment to sustainability.

  • Level I - Committed. The first level is aimed at businesses without certifications or other sustainability credentials that want to commit to sustainable business management and further develop their business towards sustainability.
  • Level II - Engaged. The second level also requires a commitment to sustainable corporate management and ongoing further development. In addition, certification or another credential in at least one sustainability area is required to be awarded this level.
  • Level III - Leading. This level is aimed at businesses that already have comprehensive and recognised sustainability certification. Consideration is given to certifications that cover all dimensions of sustainability and are regularly audited by third parties.

To wrap up her session, Helena went through the different tools which are used in the different levels depending on the requirements.

  • Tool 1 - Commitment to sustainability. Statements on the values and responsibilities of the organisations. Sets out 12 sustainability aspects for assessment which concern the environment, the society and the economy.
  • Tool 2 - Sustainability check. 24 statements for analysis of strengths and weaknesses and identify action plans, thematic analysis checklist on the environment, the society, and the economy.
  • Tool 3 - Sustainability measures. Forum to set out measures for sustainability area, responsibility, deadlines to take actions and review completion.
  • Tool 4 - Sustainability credentials. Recognised credentials individually, combined, for all sustainability aspects.

If you'd like, you can have a look at the whole Swisstainable Strategy through the document below! 👀