The National Strategy on Biological Diversity’s focus "Sustainable Development" provides that nature-based recreation and tourism should not have a significant impact on nature. Along with nature conservation, it should in fact contribute to the preservation of natural and cultural landscapes.
The tourism industry is one of the least regulated economic sectors. Apart from a few legal provisions regulating the compliance with social and environmental minimum standards – which again are subject to greatly varying degrees of implementation, most of the existing instruments and guidelines are non-binding.
In this context, CSR processes play a significant role. Tourism companies are responsible for how and under what conditions their services are provided. A targeted, permanent CSR management can be a useful tool to meet that responsibility.
The project was meant to promote a greater integration of biodiversity aspects into CSR processes, certificates, standards and awards with relevance for the tourism industry. Furthermore, tourism companies were made aware of the importance of the protection of biodiversity and sensitised for a structured management of biodiversity through CSR instruments such as standards and certificates.
The project partners analysed established CSR standards in order to determine to what extent the standards consider biodiversity issues. The results of the analysis have influenced the development of criteria and indicators, which can be used by, for example, standardisation organisations for the further development of standards. An exemplary implementation was carried out for two relevant CSR instruments. In addition, the project partners created checklists for companies in the tourism industry, which can help these companies to integrate biodiversity aspects into internal CSR processes.