The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, in collaboration with enviroIndexTM, created itravelgreen® West Virginia.

itravelgreen® West Virginia is a voluntary and affordable program underpinned by the enviroIndexTM Sustainability Rating System that benchmarks and produces numerical indices that assess a range of key economic, environmental and social performance indicators and brand West Virginia travel and tourism organizations that have made a commitment to continually improve their operations in order to reduce environmental, socio-cultural, and economic impacts.

itravelgreen® West Virginia allows West Virginia travel and tourism organizations to effectively manage and continually improve environmental, socio-cultural, and economic performance and requires the organization to apply performance indicators to measure environmental, socio-cultural, and economic impacts over time. By doing so, the organization will have the capacity to evaluate their operations; set goals, objectives, and targets; establish programs; measure improvements; and show continual improvement over a pre-determined performance period.

itravelgreen® West Virginia motivates travel and tourism organizations to take specific actions toward environmental, socio-cultural, and economic sustainability.

According to what we read, see, and hear every day, our world is suffering from the outputs of polluting gases from various systems, activities, products, processes, and services. While some facts about this are disputable, it is fair to say that not only do these polluting gases damage our environment, there is a limit to what our planet can take, and once we exceed that limit, we will find ourselves on a very steep downward slope.

The organization may not find it as the easiest task, and may not be rewarded for the effort, but reducing your organization’s impact on the environment can help in many ways. Some of the best ways the organization can help the environment actually save money.

With the majority of employees travelling to work by car, the organization is causing employees to increase the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by driving into work every day. One of the best ways to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint is by encouraging employees to travel to work using environmentally friendly means.

One of the most important things to be aware of is whether the organization recycles used materials and uses recycled materials. Many refuse collection companies specialize in certain recyclable materials and it is very common for organizations to establish scrap paper and plastics collections which is then recycled. If the organization owns water dispensers, make sure the disposable cups are made from recycled material such as paper.

Many organizations waste vast amounts of energy, and therefore money in heating and lighting every year. There is a comfortable temperature for offices in most cases and if you are exceeding that, you may be wasting electricity. As well as that, many organizations are wasting money lighting areas in which employees and customers do not frequent. One way to get around this is by installing a lighting system that is activated by a proximity sensor, therefore automatically turning the light off when employees or customers are not present.

Of course, the organization could try to generate electricity, ultimately reducing the amount of energy used from the grid. There are several ways an organization can do this though the most common and most cost effective are solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro. Although these methods require large initial outlays, recent advances in technologies have improved efficiency to the point where you can expect your initial investment to have a return on investment within less than ten years.

Sustainability has come to the forefront of global issues. Travel and tourism organizations are increasingly concerned about the impact of their activities, products, processes, and services AND can affect change by adopting a culture of organizational sustainability.

Travel and tourism organizations around the world consume significant amount of energy and water and create enormous amounts of wastes. Some are beginning to green their activities, products, processes, and services to minimize their impact to the environment, as well as the economic and socio-cultural aspects of the surrounding communities.

Travel and tourism organizations are increasingly recognizing that improved environmental and socio-cultural performance results in economic benefits such as lower costs and greater market and brand recognition.

itravelgreen® West Virginia sets the standard for sustainable travel and tourism and travel and tourism organizations with a clear and concise framework to develop and provide a credible green activity, product, process, or service.

Organizations can use itravelgreen® West Virginia to assess triple bottom line operational performance and account for environmental, economic, and socio-cultural impacts.

Travelers and tourists can look for the itravelgreen® West Virginia logo and brands to identify sustainable travel and tourism organizations.

Travelers and tourists will have access to information about participating organizations to better understand how they meet or exceed the itravelgreen® West Virginia standard.

itravelgreen® West Virginia is designed to: 
  • Give participating travel and tourism organizations a marketing edge;
  • Promote best management practices;
  • Reduce operational and maintenance costs;
  • Educate travelers and tourists; and,
  • Protect the beauty and vitality of the people and landscapes.
itravelgreen® West Virginia welcomes the participation of a variety of travel and tourism organizations – from accommodations – to fairs and festivals – to wineries.

The bottom line is that greening our travel and tourism organizations is an important agenda for West Virginia – and it is here to stay.

It is no longer acceptable to continue doing business as we have done for many years, without regard to the impact our activities, products, processes, and services have on the environment, the economy, and the socio-culture in which we live, work, and play.

We can effectively meet the challenges that the future will bring by being visionary in the way that we govern. This new vision should be uplifting – even transforming – as it will improve our lives and the lives of our children. That is something we in West Virginia should all be able to get behind.

Today in West Virginia we are the beneficiaries of a proud culture and heritage, one that was created by those who came before us. To enjoy that culture and heritage, without making the commitment to sustain it for future generations, would be to forsake our roots and to forget what it means to be a West Virginian.

We look forward to seeing you contribute to a more sustainable future by engaging enthusiastically with itravelgreen® West Virginia.

… and remember, we need to make a difference and have fun doing it!

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