Green accreditation is a public acknowledgement that an organisation has met agreed standards of CSR policies and practices. The business events industry was asked about what types of green accreditations they currently hold and their plans to seek accreditation over the coming years. Respondents were also asked about barriers to seeking accreditation.
One third of total Audit respondents and almost half (46 per cent) of the key respondents reported holding at least one green accreditation from a list of 18 programs (refer to Chart 4). Green accreditation is considerably higher among large organisations employing over 100 people and international chains, where around 60 per cent hold at least one accreditation.
The most advanced sectors of the business events industry in Australia in terms of CSR accreditation are Convention & Exhibition Centres and Venues, with two thirds (63%) currently holding at least one accreditation. More than half (56%) of accommodation providers, retailers and travel agents are also accredited.
New South Wales and Victoria are leading the way when it comes to accreditation, reflecting that more operators are within these states and that it is a particular focus in these areas.
While ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 14000, 14001 accreditations are held by 16% of Audit respondents and 25% of key respondents, most reported being accredited with at least one of a wide range of programs, including Australian travel and tourism accreditations, building-related accreditations and other more general green accreditations.
There is no industry concentration around a particular Australian accreditation program. 7% are accredited with Tourism Accreditation Australia (TAA), which is the highest level of support for any one form of accreditation, followed by the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (now NABERS Energy) at 4%.
While no one Australian accreditation dominates, certain types are favoured by different sectors of the business events industry. For example, half of the Convention & Exhibition Centre respondents hold the Green Globe Bronze accreditation, and one quarter of attractions hold TAA accreditation and 10% of transport operators are Australian Building Greenhouse Rating accredited.
GROWING COMMITMENT TO ACCRDITATION
The Audit results show that levels of green accreditation among respondents in Australia are rising and are set to remain a focus over the next few years. Almost one third (31%) of total respondents report they are currently seeking accreditation, including three quarters of Convention & Exhibition Centres, and just over half (55%) of accommodation providers, venues and business events services.
Green Globe Silver, Bronze or NABERS accreditations are the most popular in the industry, currently being sought by 35-50% of businesses. These businesses also have Green Globe Gold accreditation in their sights over the next five years. The Ecotourism Australia- Nature Tourism and Ecotourism Australia-Advanced Ecotourism are prized by attractions, with one fifth of this sector currently seeking them.
Those sectors which have been slower to take up accreditation aim to do so over the next 12 months. Almost one third (31%) of transport operators and one quarter of attractions plan to get accredited, along with one quarter of industry representative bodies.
BARRIERS TO ACCREDITATION
One in five respondents has not yet initiated green certification or accreditation with the Audit results identifying a number of barriers to seeking accreditation:
- 30 % say they don’t have enough time to seek accreditation
- 28 % say they don’t have the information they need to seek accreditation
- 23 % say they lack guidance from industry bodies and/or associations, and
- 19 % say the accreditation process is too costly and requires too much effort to pursue.
Some organisations like business event service providers do not believe they have a need to become accredited. These operators in the sector tend not to have regulatory or planning obligations to become accredited, unlike infrastructure operators such as venues and hotels.
Of those organisations not yet accredited, half employ less than 10 people. 60% of this group reported that accreditation was of minimal value to their business, suggesting that the perceived costs of accreditation outweigh the benefits for smaller businesses. This view is shared by almost half of those with between 10-99 employees, and by 30% of large organisations.
SELECTING THE RIGHT ACCREDITATION
The Audit results show that two out of every three industry participants are not familiar with, or do not understand the different types of accreditation available. This lack of familiarity with accreditation programs naturally makes it difficult for industry participants to decide which are the most relevant for their business.
Even where there is significant familiarity with a program, it may not be seen as relevant for that business. One third of respondents in the accommodation sector stated that the Green Building Council of Australia’s accreditation only related to new buildings. Similarly, one third of respondents were familiar with Ecotourism Australia’s Nature Tourism and Advanced Ecotourism accreditations, and one quarter with the Green Building Council of Australia programs, but commented that they felt these accreditation programs were not relevant to their organisation.