EarthCheck partners with Västerbotten to support Swedish sustainable tourism 

Northern Lights in Umeå
EarthCheck, the world’s leading certification, consulting and advisory group for sustainable destinations and tourism, is partnering with Västerbotten to support sustainable outcomes in the Swedish province.

Image Credit: Fredrik Larsson/Visit Umeå

EarthCheck, the world’s leading certification, consulting and advisory group for sustainable destinations and tourism, is partnering with Västerbotten to support sustainable outcomes in the Swedish province.

The Swedish region of Västerbotten has joined EarthCheck’s Leading Destinations of the World™ program, a global network of destinations that share a vision and a passion for improved sustainability outcomes. 

The Leading Destinations of the World™ program provides a framework for destinations to benchmark their environmental, social and economic performance and to measure their carbon footprint. 

A natural wonderland with a rich cultural heritage, Västerbotten is a region in northern Sweden that borders the Gulf of Bothnia to the east and Norway to the west. Throughout Västerbotten, you’ll find mighty lakes and rivers, grand mountains, deep forests and a beautiful coastline, as well as urban experiences in the region’s two major cities, Umeå and Skellefteå.

Västerbotten is situated in the ancestral land of the Sámi, the only recognised Indigenous people of the European Union, who can still be found herding their reindeer from the Baltic Coast to the Scandinavian Mountains.

Västerbotten Experience, an initiative of the regional tourism organisation, Region Västerbotten Tourism (RVT), supports the local hospitality and tourism sector to provide authentic experiences for visitors, and to have positive environmental, cultural and socioeconomic impacts. 

Annika Sandström, Region Tourism Chief, says Västerbotten Experience is a method intended to help tourism companies, destinations and municipalities to develop more sustainable services and experiences.  

“Västerbotten Experience has become a method for 100+ organisations that are actively working towards sustainable development,” Ms Sandström says, “from accommodation providers and restaurants to tour operators and even entire municipalities.

“We choose to work with EarthCheck because they are the world’s leading certification and consultation partner for sustainable destinations and tourism organisations.”

Sustainability certified 

To ensure the credibility of Västerbotten Experience, RVT developed the program in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria, the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism.

The GSTC does not directly certify any products or services – rather, it provides an accreditation program for sustainable tourism certification bodies. That’s why, to operationalise the program, Västerbotten Experience has partnered with EarthCheck, a GSTC-accredited certification body.  

“Gaining EarthCheck certification is the way forward for us to demonstrate our region’s commitment to more sustainable practices for the region, local destinations and tourism operators,” Ms Sandström says. 

“EarthCheck will help us strengthen Västerbotten’s brand as a sustainable destination in Sweden, as well as strengthen the efforts of local companies, and attract environmentally conscious people who want to experience Västerbotten.”

Västerbotten Experience is now supporting destinations and leading tourism operators within the region to participate in EarthCheck certification programs, which will require them to benchmark, monitor and continually improve their environmental, social and economic health, and have their progress audited by an independent third party. 

Husky dogs pulling a sled in Umeå
Image Credit: Beatrice Holmberg/Visit Umeå

For example, Visit Umeå – a key destination within the region – is already working towards EarthCheck Sustainable Destinations certification.

Stewart Moore, EarthCheck’s founder and CEO, says certification gives consumers confidence that destinations and tourism operators are backed by a commitment to sustainable, high-quality tourism experiences. 

“Our science-backed, people-focused certification process has been taken on by the world’s most visited destinations and most trusted operators for over three decades,” Mr Moore says. 

“We’re pleased to see Västerbotten, and so many precincts and operators within the Västerbotten region, embrace the transparency and accountability that comes with EarthCheck certification, and we look forward to supporting all of them on their sustainability journey.” 

Annika Sandström will discuss her work with Västerbotten Experience and EarthCheck at GSTC2024 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference in Stockholm, Sweden from April 23-26. 

To learn more about Västerbotten Experience, as well as the destinations and operators that have earned the Västerbotten Experience seal, visit

Learn more about EarthCheck’s Leading Destinations of the World™ program here.


Keep up to date with news from EarthCheck:

EarthCheck Logo

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.

EarthCheck Logo

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.