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    Eco-Certification for Tourism: The Role of Green Globe, Part II

    By Keith R | September 14, 2006

    Topics: Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Tourism | 4 Comments »

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    In Part I, I explained what Green Globe (GG21) is, what must be done to win its certification, and what are the benefits derived therefrom. Here I focus in on the program’s relationship with hotels/resorts/inns in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), current and prospective. In Part III I’ll look at what is happening with the program in non-hotel categories in LAC nations. And in Part IV I’ll discuss what individuals and governments (local, national) can do to help influence the future in LAC of GG21 and similar eco-certification programs geared to the tourism sector — and in the process, encourage LAC hotels and related tourism businesses become more environmentally responsible.

    Which Hotels in Latin America & the Caribbean Are Undergoing the Green Globe Process?

    Green Globe's logo for certified propertiesAs I mentioned in Part I, the overwhelming majority of GG21 process participants are accomodations (hotels, resorts, lodges, inns) seeking accreditation for the company standards. Currently all of the hotels fully certified under the program are in Mexico and the Caribbean:

    Antigua & Barbuda:

    Curtain Bluff Resort
    Dickenson Bay Cottages
    Long Bay Hotel
    Sandals Antigua Resort & Spa


    Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort
    Bucuti Beach Resort
    Manchebo Beach Resort
    Costa Linda Beach Resort
    La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort & Casino


    Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort & Spa


    Almond Beach Club & Spa
    Almond Beach Village
    Bougainvillea Beach Resort/Sand Acres Resort
    Hotel PomMarine


    3 Rivers Eco Lodge
    Ft. Young Hotel
    Tamarind Tree Hotel & Restaurant

    Dominican Republic:

    Canoa Coral by Hilton

    Gran Dominicus Venta Club

    Sunscape Casa del Mar

    Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach


    Spice Island Beach Resort


    Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club
    Beaches Negril
    Beaches Sandy Bay
    Breezes Runaway Bay
    Couples Negril
    Couples Ocho Rios
    Couples Swept Away
    Green Grotto Caves
    Hedonism III
    Jamaica Inn
    Negril Gardens Resort
    Round Hill Hotel & Villas
    Royal Plantation Spa & Golf Resort
    Runaway Bay Heart Hotel & Training Institute
    Sandals Dunns River Golf Resort & Spa
    Sandals Inn
    Sandals Montego Bay
    Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa
    Sandals Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club
    Sandals Royal Caribbean


    Barceló Ixtapa Beach

    Barceló Maya Beach Resort
    Barceló Premium Hautelco
    Barceló Tucancun Beach
    Mayan Resorts Nuevo Vallarta
    Mayan Resorts Riviera Maya
    Velas Vallarta Suite Resort & Convention Center
    Viva Wyndham Azteca

    Viva Wyndham Maya

    Netherland Antilles:

    Lion’s Dive & Beach Resort

    St.Kitts & Nevis:

    Ocean Terrace Inn

    St. Lucia:

    Bay Gardens Hotel
    Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort
    Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia
    Sandals St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa

    Turks & Caicos:

    Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa

    Green Globe's logo for benchmarked propertiesOnly a handful of hotels have been benchmarked, but are not yet fully certified:


    The Lodge at Chaa Creek

    Dominican Republic:

    Gran Dominicus Venta Club

    Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada

    Viva Wyndham Tangerine


    Blue Horizons Garden Resort


    Sandals Whitehouse

    However, quite a few hotels are in the process of getting benchmarked:

    Antigua & Barbuda:

    Carlisle Bay Resort Limited
    Dickenson Bay Cottages
    Long Bay Hotel Antigua


    Small Hope Bay Lodge


    Allamanda Beach Hotel
    Almond Casuarina
    Amaryllis Beach Resort

    Dominican Republic:

    Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace


    Flamboyant Hotel & Villas


    Couples San Souci
    Coyaba Beach Resort & Club
    Half Moon Resort
    Hedonism II
    Rockhouse Hotel


    El Paradisus Riviera Cancún
    Hotel Ceballos
    Mayan Resorts Acapulco

    Puerto Rico:

    Copamarina Beach Resort

    St. Kitts & Nevis:

    Four Seasons Resort – Nevis West Indies
    Nisbel Plantation Beach Club
    Oualie Beach Resort

    St. Lucia:

    Bay Gardens Hotel

    Green Globe logo for affiliatesLast but not least, three hotels are “affiliates,” the initial stage in the Green Globe process, before they undergo benchmarking:

    Antigua & Barbuda:

    Blue Waters Antigua

    Cayman Islands:

    Compass Point Drive Resort

    St. Lucia:

    Jade Mountain

    Why Aren’t More LAC Hotels in the Green Globe Process?

    Sandals Trumpets Its Commitment to GG21Many, if not most, of you did not guess that so many LAC hotels are already GG21 certified or benchmarked, right? As mentioned in Part I, for the moment the Mexico-Caribbean nexus has more GG21 properties than any other region. That in itself is commendable. It’s clear that many parties — notably Jamaica and the Sandals and Viva Wyndham hotel chains — are sold on the benefits of being GG21 certified.

    That said, there are many curious gaps.

    Let’s start in the Caribbean Basin, where GG21 certification is doing well. Why, for example, are there no hotels entering the GG21 process in Cuba, St. Maartens, Trinidad, the Virgin Islands (British or US) or the Central American nations?

    It has been suggested to me that in Central America this absence might be explained by competition from competiting eco-certification schemes, Ecotel, the Green Deal, Costa Rica’s CST or STI’s STEP (all of which I’ll cover in future Temas blog entries).

    I do not find that argument entirely persuasive. Ecotel, which was launched in the 1990s, has never gone beyond four Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras) and a couple of Mexican resorts in its LAC coverage, and some of the properties certified (such as Belize’s Chaa Creek) are now seeking or considering GG21 certification. The Green Deal has, so far, been limited to Guatemala, although indications are that the Rainforest Alliance would like to see it or something like it be promoted elsewhere. STEP is too new — it may be a brake to GG21’s hotel certification program in the coming years, but does not explain past GG21 acceptance or lack thereof.

    Now, CST’s success in Costa Rica may explain the lack of GG21 applicants there, although CST and GG21 are not mutually exclusive and some of the CST certified hotels (such as the Selva Verde Lodge) also participate in Ecotel. In theory, GG21 benchmarking and certification should be easy — perhaps the hesitation among tico properties comes from them asking what value-added they might receive from yet another certification.

    As for the rest of the Carribean Basin, why are there so few of the large hotels and resorts in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico (particularly why so few from Cancun and the “Mexican Riviera”?)?

    In the case of the DR, for instance, the hotels certified or benchmarked are mostly clustered in the Southern resort area of Bayahibe, with a sprinkle of a few on the North Coast. There are none from the DR’s wildly popular Punta Cana region — not even the Punta Cana Resort, which sits on the Governing Council of CAST, Green Globe’s representative in the region. Also notable by their absence are the famous Casa de Campo and the many all-inclusives in the DR’s Juan Dolio, Puerto Plata, Samaná and Sosua zones, some of whom claim to be environmentally aware. Why then, do they not get that commitment documented and certified?

    Even more curious is the absence of any hotel or resort from South America, particularly Brazil, which has hundreds and a hospitality sector that likes to claim environmental awareness and responsibility. Brazil is pushing its own eco-certification program for lodging (which I’ll cover in a future Temas blog entry), but so far the large and medium-sized chains have not joined it, so its competition can hardly explain the lack of Brazilian participation.

    Also notable by their absence are hotels from Uruguay’s Punta del Este and accommodations from Argentina’s coastal resorts and Patagonian “eco” destinations.

    Looking at it from another angle, why are certain major chains operating in the region missing altogether from the rolls of the GG21 certified and benchmarked? For example, Marriot says on its website that “We have also developed a comprehensive company-wide policy to promote business practices that help preserve the environment.” It is laudable that they instituted the Environmentally Conscious Hospitality Operations (ECHO) program, as they call it, and it might indeed yield impressive results — internally.

    But how are Marriot’s guests to be assured, beyond Marriot vouching for itself, that all of its properties in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela are compliant and operating in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible? If they have such rigid internal standards, shouldn’t undergoing GG21 benchmarking/certification be a breeze? Ask them about it at this link.

    Or, for that matter, why do some large chains GG21 certify just a few of their LAC properties, but not all their properties? See, for example, Sol Melia’s glowing rhetoric on its corporate website about its environmental commitment and all the European hotels in its chain that it has gotten eco-certified, yet note how it is silent about why only one of its numerous LAC properties is undergoing GG21 certification. Ask Sol Melia’s environmental coordinator why this is so at

    Barceló also professes to be committed to environmental management, and indeed it has four hotels GG21-certified in Mexico. But what about its other Mexican properties, or its hotels in Costa Rica, Cuba, the DR, Ecuador, Nicaragua or Uruguay? Why not certify them as well? You can put the question to Barceló at this link.

    The Spanish chains are not alone in this, however. Hilton (Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites) has GG21 certified one of its hotels in the DR, but not its many properties in Argentina, Brazil, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Uruguay and Venezuela.

    And to be fair, it’s not just the North American and European chains who make claims of environmental stewardship but refuse to have such claims made concrete through GG21 certification of their LAC properties. Some of the local chains do it too. For example, the Dominican chain Amhsa Marina says that among its cores values are (1) “to contribute to preserve and improve the environment”; (2) “to identify environmental needs associated with our properties whereabouts.” Yet none of its seven DR properties is applying for eco-certification. Contact them and ask them why not.

    GG21 will not speculate why particular countries or chains do not yet participatie in their certification program, so I can only guess at the reason or reasons. Off-the-record, some sector watchers have suggested to me these explanations:

    Next: I briefly look at the other types (non-hotel) of GG21 certification/benchmarking existing or in the pipeline in LAC nations.

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    4 Responses to “Eco-Certification for Tourism: The Role of Green Globe, Part II”

    1. Dave Says:

      Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future…

    2. Mike Says:

      There is one hotel on Nevis that is getting awfully close to acheiving the requirements for a Green Globe certification. I have stayed there several times, and have seen the changes over the years. I do know the owners, and they truly believe in going green.

      Hopefully one day I will see them listed.

      Cheers, Mike

    3. Keith R Says:

      Mike, thanks for your comment and welcome to The Temas Blog. I also hope to list them soon! The more GG certifications I can list in LAC nations, the better. Once they go get fully certified, I hope you or the owners let me ASAP, and I’ll add them. BTW, I am creating a standalone version of this list under the “Temas Tools” section (see righthand column for links to the tools) that I can update regularly, so look for it. Last but not least, thanks for alerting me to your blog.
      Best Regards,

    4. Claudia Says:

      Very intersting topic so. I current try to find out where this is heading too and how the certification models could be improved to achieve more advantages for SME (as for them the certification is very costly). You mentioned Cancun/Mexico above, so maybe you are interested in this article about the certification of 60 hotels in Cancun:

      Best Regards

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