BIOSPHERE MOBILITY STANDARD

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOR TRANSPORTS AND CAR RENTAL COMPANIES

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BIOSPHERE MOBILITY

INTRODUCCIÓN
1. INSTRUMENTOS PARA UNA POLÍTICA DE TURISMO RESPONSABLE

1.1 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

1.2 PLAN OF ACTION AND INDICATORS

1.3 STAFF MOTIVATION AND TRAINING PLAN

1.4 RESPONSIBLE MARKETING

1.5 LEGAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

1.6 OPERATIONAL CONTROL

1.7 CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

2. PRESERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
3. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
4. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
5. CLIENT SATISFACTION AND INVOLVEMENT IN THE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM SYSTEM

 

INTRODUCTION

Mobility and transportation systems within the destination and its interland are currently a determining factor in the quality of the tourist experience. An excessively motorized destination is not only an unsustainable destination due to the emissions and impacts of the infrastructure upon the environment. It will also be an uncompetitive destination due to the degradation in the quality of the tourist experience and in the quality of life of the local population.

Each destination should have its own sustainable mobility concept and strategy, and even some criteria and minimum requirements which enable the integration of the transport solution better adapted to the requirements for conservation of basic resources for each offered product (for example, accessibility and transport type for historic centres or sensitive areas such as National Parks or protected areas).

The implementation of sustainable mobility strategies is essential, giving priority to pedestrian systems, "soft" accessibility systems, traditional means of transportation, bicycles or more advanced solutions, such as silent and zero/ultra-low emission vehicles.

Public or discretionary transportation companies, as well as car rental companies, may play a significant role in the improvement of the destination's quality and sustainability, acting in accordance with its global strategy. Even if there is no such strategy, its responsible action as a company is essential in order to improve the conditions of the destination and the visitors' involvement.

1. INSTRUMENTS FOR A RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

In order to fulfil the principles of sustainability, we need to have some basic management tools to back up the Sustainable Tourism System. These tools aim to obtain the necessary commitment from the company, as well as means to its dissemination and compliance.

1.1 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY 

- The company should have a Responsible Tourism Policy that is documented and translated into customary languages, formally approved by the highest management authority of the company and communicated in an on-going manner to staff members and external stakeholders. This policy will include the commitments made concerning sustainable tourism, in particular:

  • Adoption of the principles of the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism.
  • Commitment to prevent negative impacts of facilities and activities, and to maximize positive impacts.
  • Commitment to on-going improvement in all areas of sustainability: Socio-cultural, economic and environmental.
  • Commitment to the satisfaction of internal and external clients.

1.2 PLAN OF ACTION AND INDICATORS

1.2.1.- The Company Management shall elaborate, document and operate a Plan of Action based on the Responsible Tourism Policy. This Plan of Action shall establish the specific targets and priorities needed in order to achieve continuous improvements. This plan shall be structured with the following contents:

  • A prioritised list of objectives to be achieved, specifying the person responsible for achieving each point.
  • A general description of the measures designed to achieve these objectives and the deadlines and means for implementing the measures. The total timeline shall not exceed three years, by which time the Plan must have been reviewed and updated, setting new targets for improvement.
  • A definition of the follow-up planned for these objectives, to monitor compliance and to take action if necessary.

1.2.2.- The necessary indicators shall be selected and calculated in order to assess the main sustainability, quality and safety parameters, thus having comparative data to monitor the level of improvement achieved.

1.3 STAFF MOTIVATION AND TRAINING PLAN

1.3.1.- The Company Management shall approve an awareness, information and training plan for employers in order to ensure their involvement within the Responsible Tourism System. It shall include actions regarding the different aspects of sustainability, quality and safety.

1.3.2.- There shall be a welcome manual for new employers including basic information on the Responsible Tourism System in order to ensure their involvement since their arrival.

1.4 RESPONSIBLE MARKETING

- All promotional messages of the company shall include true, clear and accurate information about the environmental quality and other sustainability specifications of the company. Furthermore, the information provided through different channels shall be clear and complete, not create expectations that cannot be met or ambiguously describe the different aspects of the company’s commitment and sustainable offer.

1.5 LEGAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

- The company manager shall ensure the constant knowledge of all applicable legal and regulatory requirements in terms of sustainability in order to ensure compliance. They must therefore keep an up-to-date record which includes all of them in a clear and understandable way.

1.6 OPERATIONAL CONTROL

- The company shall ensure that all its subsidiaries, franchises or entities acting on its behalf, know and comply with the principles of sustainability established by the group. In order to do so, such principles shall be effectively drafted and disseminated to all parties. Also, there shall be mechanisms for the verification of compliance.

1.7 CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

- There shall be effective and consistent procedures for the company to implement corrective actions whenever needed, for deviations from the commitments undertaken in terms of the sustainability principles, the established objectives or the requirements of this standard.

2. PRESERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

For humankind, cultural diversity is as necessary as biological diversity is for living beings. Cultural resources are the historic memory of a community and the expression of its artistic, ethical and religious sentiment. Thus, the cultural factor of a destination is an identity in itself, and it should therefore be preserved for the benefit of present and future generations. The role of tourist companies in its preservation is essential, not only through direct action but also through its influence on visitors.

2.1.- The Company shall cooperate with the destination in the promotion and conservation of cultural heritage with all available means. They may, for example, cooperate with the corresponding tourist administrations or other entities in the dissemination among visitors of resources that can be visited, promoting their involvement in the different conservation strategies.

2.2.- The client shall be provided with information on the destination's heritage, as well as sustainable action guidelines.

3. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Tourism offers the possibility of improving the economic lifestyle of the local population, because income generally increases and is better distributed in tourist destinations, as long as it is planned according to sustainability principles. In order to do so, companies shall contribute with their abilities to improve the socio-economic development of the destination in which they are active. They shall also act with due diligence with regard to responsibility within its value chain.

3.1.- The Company shall ensure a respectful and collaborative attitude towards local communities, through its institutions, NGO's, neighbourhood communities, companies, etc., setting appropriate communication channels. The company shall take part in the social life of the community and cooperate with the different social events held.

3.2.- The Company shall cooperate with local administrations in promoted sustainability projects, such as Local Agenda 21, Biosphere Destination certification, etc.

3.3.- The Company shall adopt a responsible purchasing and procurement policy, prioritizing local suppliers committed to sustainability. Sustainability criteria shall be established for contracting companies having the greatest impact, such as workshops. Otherwise, companies holding certifications with sufficient credibility shall be contracted.

3.4.- The recruitment of local residents shall be promoted at all levels.

3.5.- A responsible behaviour towards employees shall be ensured, in terms of work safety, wages that guarantee decent living conditions and reconciliation of family and working life.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Biological diversity is essential for ensuring the continuity of life on this planet, because it maintains the environmental conditions that we need. Natural resources are what made up the tourist area: Landscape, geographical relief, climate, sea, rivers and lakes, physical environment, flora and fauna. Their conservation is therefore crucial to the survival of tourism itself, and if companies do not control their own impact on the environment, tourism itself could come to an end.

4.1.- The vehicle fleet shall include low-impact vehicles: electric, hybrid and low-consumption vehicles. Such vehicles shall be easily identified and accessible on the Web or any other booking platform.

4.2.- The information about the rented vehicle shall include data on its CO2 emissions using the categories established by the applicable legislation or, failing this, by internationally accepted standards.

4.3.- Should quad-type vehicles or SUV's be available, their use shall be (by contract) restricted to designated areas in order not to increase the deterioration of the landscape and biodiversity.

4.4.- There shall be an appropriate management of vehicle-derived waste (tires, oils, end-of-life vehicles, etc.) based on applicable law and best practices available.

4.5.- An appropriate maintenance plan for vehicles shall be ensured in order to avoid a malfunctioning which may lead to excessive consumption, noise and emissions.

4.6.- The washing of vehicles follows water-saving patterns and use recycled water whenever possible.

4.7.- All offices and workshops shall approve environmental management practices in terms of:

  • Water and energy saving: Equipment efficiency, consumption patterns, etc.
  • Waste management: Recycling, waste separation and management.
  • Discharge management: Authorizations, risk minimization, discharge adequacy, etc.
  • Material consumption management: Minimization of paper consumption, etc.
  • Emission management: Best practices for the minimization of vehicle emissions, paint booth management, etc.

4.8.- The Company shall calculate its carbon footprint and implement measures in order to become climate neutral. If he/she wishes to, the client shall be able to participate in the designed system "compensating" the emissions caused by his/her rental.

5. CLIENT SATISFACTION AND INVOLVEMENT IN THE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM SYSTEM

Tourism quality has traditionally focused on every aspect related to safety, comfort and service. These are basic aspects for the tourist experience and shall therefore be considered by this standard. However, if we understand quality as meeting the expectations of tourists, we shall also include aspects as fundamental as the ones previously addressed. Conservation of natural and cultural resources, socio-economic development of the destination, etc. We shall therefore involve visitors in our efforts in terms of sustainability, so they appreciate them and become part of them.

Finally, the service shall be accessible to everyone.

5.1.- Staff members shall dispose of guidelines regarding their behaviour towards the client and their appearance, assistance protocols, etc.

5.2.- All facilities shall be properly maintained and cleaned, according to the plans established for this purpose.

5.3.- The Company shall inform the clients about the different responsible initiatives carried out in terms of all aspects mentioned above, both in the company and the destination. This information may be based on fact sheets, leaflets, information in telematic format or any other equivalent material.

5.4.- The Company shall call for a responsible behaviour of its clients in terms of the patterns mentioned above. In any case, it should provide for example information on fuel saving practices while driving.

5.5.- Vehicles shall have all safety regulations required by international organizations (airbags, seat belts with pretensioners, child restraint systems, etc.).

5.6.- There shall be vehicles accessible to people with disabilities.

5.7.- Systems for the assessment of customer satisfaction shall be available, as well as mechanisms to receive their complaints and suggestions. The client shall also be informed about the possibility of submitting his/her complaints to the Responsible Tourism Institute.