From one beautiful valley to another, Lindsay and Darrell Eason have shifted their sustainability consulting practice from the Okanagan to the Comox Valley.
“This is such a unique place,” says Lindsay Eason. “There is so much opportunity for sustainable tourism and environmental outreach in the Comox Valley, we are very excited to continue to work from our new location on the Island.”
Helping tourism businesses remains a key focus for GreenStep, through the sustainable tourism certification program they offer, Green Tourism Canada. One of the first sustainable tourism certification programs in the world, Green Tourism has remained one of the most sought-after eco-labels and certification programs for the tourism industry. Each Green Tourism member has been individually assessed by trained green business experts, who review everything from energy efficiency to food sources. This thorough assessment process gives our members insight into how to further reduce their businesses’s impact on the environment, how to best manage future projects, as well as a personalized action plan about how to build their green business.
“Vancouver Island is an eco-tourism hotspot, and we want to enhance the awareness of this on a national scale, and help businesses get a sense of what else they can do to reduce their environmental impact even further,” says Lindsay Eason.
There are many attractions, whale watching and wildlife tour companies as well as hotels and resorts certified on Vancouver Island, and a few of those members are unique.
Strathcona Park Lodge has been part of the program since 2010. Their sustainability roots run deep and owner Jamie Boulding has found that being part of Green Tourism has “helped us to stay competitive. We offer a true, off-grid experience and with the growing competition, this certification gives us a competitive advantage”.
40 Knots Estate Winery in the Comox Valley, is the first winery on Vancouver Island to become certified by the international program. Owners Brenda Hetman-Craig and Layne Robert Craig chose to join Green Tourism because they were “seeking assistance with furthering their business plan to be ethically and environmentally responsible and gain recognition for efforts by a recognized and reputable program.”
When asked how the certification is helping them, Hetman-Craig said, “Green Tourism provided expert advice regarding reductions in electricity and water consumption and offered resources for purchasing sustainable products. They created a prioritized action list for our planned work that gave us the highest impact for money savings and environmental footprint reductions.”
In addition to several members across Vancouver Island, other North Island members include Royston House B&B, Campbell River Whale Watching & Adventure Tours, West Coast Expeditions and Destiny River Adventures.
There are over 2400 tourism operators certified internationally, with more than 80 businesses certified or awaiting grading in BC. The program is currently expanding across Canada with plans to include US tourism businesses next year.
Written by Lindsay Eason
October 30, 2015 – Comox, BC, Canada