The final conference of the MOVE-IT! project held on the 22nd of May gathered 40 high-level experts from 7 different European member states in the premises of the Martin’s Hotel Charlemagne, which is part of the first Belgian EMAS registered hotel group.
During the last three years, the MOVE-IT! project has clustered SMEs of regions, which are all part of the tourism value chain and which form a competitive tourism service package, linking cultural, economical, ecological and social aspects with their respective added value. The pilot applications covered various types of destinations and 17 clusters in 5 EU member states: Estonia, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Besides SMEs, the project kept a focus on active involvement of different stakeholders – local authorities, regional developers and tourism agencies.
“The innovation resides in the fact that the simple and practical EMAS easy methodology is used in territorial clusters with specific and online guidance to reduce the internal and external transaction costs of the effort of SMEs to implement EMAS”, stated Harri Moora, coordinator of the project. “The approach aims to go beyond classical EMAS implementation as it provides key performance indicators on social, health and economical issues and is linked to other local and regional schemes and labels under the EMAS scheme (e.g. Green Key, BIO Hotel, Eco-Label, regional environmental approaches etc)”.
The key outcomes of the project, funded under the CIP Eco-Innovation programme from the European commission , were presented during the conference.
17 cluster in 6 members states.
Up until now, project partners have coached 17 clusters including 136 small organisations. 70 organizations among cluster members have been certified or labelled. Majority has achieved EMAS certifications, some companies have ISO 14 001 certifications and some Green Key registrations. Collaborations with regional certifications, labels or awards have been made, like the UNESCO BIOSPHERE reserves, the PANPARKS recognition and the EDEN (European Destination of Excellence).
MOVE-IT! service package :
Part of the MOVE-It service package, a Cluster management guide on how to make a tourist destination excellent in terms of environmental performance, competences and local governance of the destination identity, has been developed. It also includes the guidance and key performance indicators for tourist related regional clusters.
An electronical web-based supporting tool « AVANTI » (www.avanti-greensoftware.org) that facilitates vocational training has been provided for 30 regional development agents and consultants. Launched in December 2011, it is now integral part of the service package.
These elements and others can be accessed from the project’s website. The site also allows cluster members to have all the relevant information at hand and to be coached on-line, lowering costs.
Bridging labels and certifications to fasten the implementation of sustainable destinations
Following presentations of selected cluster members, a discussion between various panelists stressed the added value of clustering and the importance of management system to induce long-term involvement.
The recognition either through a management system or through a label or both will depend mostly on the stakeholders interests, but mutual recognition should be possible and developed for more efficiency.
MOVE-IT! Final conference slideshows:
Harri Moora, Stockholm Environment Institute, Tallinn, Coordinator of the project
2. EMAS Clusters approaches in ecoinnovation /or Tourism and ecoinnovation (incl other tourism related projects like INTOUR, Ecolabel Tourism,…)
Marie Christine van Wunnik, European Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI)
Rolf-Jan Hoeve, EMAS Policy Officer, DG Environment, Unit C1, European Commission
Erwan Mouazan and Marcel van Meesche Groupe One / 21 Solutions
Laurent Stroobants, EMAS coordinator of Martin’s Hotels
Ariane Carabaux, Environment and Safety Coordinator, asbl Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure
Matthias Menschel, Director, Menschel Vital Resort
Kamen Chipev, Project Manager, Time Foundation
Evelin Urbel-Piirsalu, Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn centre - Environmental management programme
10. Exchange with panelists on the different labels and approaches :