Biosphere Reserve Schwäbische Alb – Germany

Vision & objectives

The cluster focused on the implementation of an environmental management systems meeting the EMAS requirements in each SME part of the cluster. EMAS has also been used as management tool for the overall vision of a sustainable tourism in the Biosphere Reserve. The Biosphere Reserve Schwäbische Alb reviewed the criteria to accept SMEs as members of the Biosphere reserve by including EMAS as a mandatory criteria.


Funding by Baden-Wuerttemberg ministry of environment (80% of consulting costs) for the implementation of EMAS within a cluster approach. SMEs had to cover 20% of the consulting costs and the full costs for validation and registration

Dec 2009 – Nov 2010


Main stakeholders : Regarding the regional and touristic development of the Biosphere Reserve there are several important stakeholders:

  • The biosphere reserve office
  • Municipality Münsingen,
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg president of DEHOGA (German hotel and restaurant association)

Other stakeholders :

  • Local authorities (Landratsamt Reutlingen)
  • Touristic service providers: accommodation services, restaurants, other touristic attractions

The coach


KATE coached 2 clusters in Germany and orhganised a training in Catalonia. KATE elaborated the indicators part of the cluster guide and included CSR indicators. KATE designed the EMAS cockpit to provide online support to SMEs from the tourism sector …

Labels ands brands in the region


The European EMAS Regulation specifies the requirements to comply with when setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS). It is a voluntary scheme. EMAS goes beyond...

The region


The biosphere reserve Schwäbische Alb is situated about 50 km southeast of Stuttgart in the south of Germany. The region is characterized by diverse beautiful landscapes, different geological and climatic conditions and traditional land use.

In June 2009 a part of the region Schwäbische Alb was declared UNESCO biosphere reserve. Thus, it is now one of 15 German biosphere reserves and of altogether 500 biosphere reserves worldwide. An important component is the former military training area near Münsingen, which is located in the center of the Biosphere Reserve


Biosphere reserves are areas of particular ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are in some ways 'living laboratories' for testing out and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity. Sustainable tourism is an opportunity of promoting quality economies in this area.

Thus, the biosphere reserve Schwäbische Alb is implementing a sustainable approach on tourism. They are establishing a network of „Biosphere partner enterprises to implement a sustainable tourism concept in the region. These partner enterprises have to fulfill a series of criteria in regionality, quality, and environment. This aims to promote quality services that reflect and promote the local uniqueness. First step within this initiative is to develop a regional brand („Biosphere Hotels") for the accommodation services. Overall objective is to raise its competitiveness with regard to other destinations.

Boundaries and Certifications

Implementation of EMAS in 12 SMEs and implementation of ISO14001 in one SME in the first phase of the cluster coaching (2010-2011). In the second phase of the cluster coaching, end of June 2012, 5 SMEs were EMAS registered and 2 SMEs will be registered in August 2012.