Azores, Safe By Nature.

A place for new adventures, more freedom and a full life. Discover the best that nature has to offer, safely.
A place for new adventures, more freedom and a full life. Discover the best that nature has to offer, safely.

A place for new adventures, more freedom and a full life. Discover the best that nature has to offer, safely.

Located just off the coast of Portugal and surrounded by marine protected reserves and a magnificent backdrop of nine volcanic islands, the Autonomous Region of the Azores has a goal of becoming a world-leading sustainable destination.

In late 2019, the Azores became the world’s first certified archipelago to be certified under the EarthCheck Sustainable Destination program. As part of its certification the Azores measures and assesses the entire destinations carbon footprint with an objective to minimise the net production of the greenhouse gas, CO2 equivalent (CO2-e), from energy consumption.

How does EarthCheck benchmark a destination?

Benchmarking with EarthCheck indicators is straight forward and provides practical feedback on relative performance and demonstrates to stakeholders a responsible commitment to high standards. Assessment of indicator measures is based upon the outcome’s relation to Baseline and Best Practice performance levels of environmental impact. Baseline is an above average standard of performance for the type and location of a Destination. Best Practice is an exemplary standard of performance for the type and location of a Destination.

EarthCheck’s indicator measures are benchmarked by directly evaluating the Destination’s performance against a relevant Activity Measure (a measure that reflects the key activity of the Community, taking into account the type of impact). For example, Energy Consumption, Potable Water Consumption, and Waste Sent to Landfill are all benchmarked against an Activity Measure.  The Activity Measures for the Destination sector are ‘Person Years (PY)’ and ‘Total Destination Area (ha)’.

A Person Year is equivalent to 365 full person days. This activity measure incorporates both resident and guest populations, where guests who visit the Destination are classified as either “Guest Nights” or “Day Guests” (i.e. a person who arrives and departs on the same day). Each “Guest Night” is counted as one person day and each “Day Guest” is counted as one-third of a person day.

How does EarthCheck determine Baseline and Best Practice?

The values for the Baseline and Best Practice levels for each indicator are derived from extensive worldwide research into available and appropriate case studies, industry surveys, engineering design handbooks, energy, water and waste audits, and climatic and geographic conditions.

National and regional data for per capita energy use, greenhouse gas and other emissions, wastes to landfill and water consumption, where available provide background data for normalisation of the expected performance values for per customer/visitor or employee, and/or overall performance of a Destination being benchmarked. They are used to gauge the regional or national situation and environmental performances that a Destination is based in, and hence what are reasonable levels to expect the Destination to achieve.

A benchmarking result at, or above, the Baseline level demonstrates to all stakeholders that the Destination is achieving above average performance. A result below the Baseline level indicates that a Destination can and should carry out actions that will make beneficial improvements in performance.

For more information on the Azores ambition visit sustainable.azores.gov.pt

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Acknowledgement
of Country

There are more than 476 million Indigenous Peoples, found in all regions of the world, from the Arctic to the tropical forests. They make up more than 6 per cent of our global population.

 

In the spirit of reconciliation, EarthCheck acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout the world and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous Peoples today.

 

EarthCheck acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are guardians of the forests and biodiversity hotspots we all depend on. Research shows that lands managed by Indigenous Peoples, with secure rights, experience lower deforestation rates, store more carbon, hold more biodiversity, and benefit more people than other lands — including protected areas.

 

We recognise and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a positive document that maps out a path for Indigenous Peoples to be free from discrimination and secure in their identities and life choices.

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EarthCheck Certified: Aligned globally

EarthCheck science and products were developed by the Australian Government Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre (STCRC) over ten years. Our science is reviewed annually to ensure that it meets international standards relative to greenhouse gas protocols, responsible tourism, and certification.

EarthCheck products and services are built on the Agenda 21 principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 Heads of State at the United Nations Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and aligned to the SDGs.

EarthCheck Certified provides a framework for organisations to achieve the desired outcomes for sustainable development as set out in the final report of the World Summit for Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.

EarthCheck Certified complies with the Mohonk Agreement (2000), which outlines the guidelines and principles for an international sustainable tourism certification program. It is also a Recognised program of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

EarthCheck Certified is a verification standard accepted by CDP. It is also an approved program of the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA), London & Partners, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and the City of Sydney.

EarthCheck Certified is an approved program for meeting the EU Energy Directive for the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA) in Germany and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) in the Netherlands.

EarthCheck partners with international research organisations to maintain the currency of EarthCheck science and our benchmarking systems.

The EarthCheck brand signifies scientific excellence, better environmental, economic, and social performance, improved community interactions, and savings through more efficient use of resources. It provides recognition and promotional support to a global consumer market.