The long road of setting and ensuring global standards- Dunleavy’s construction of the chapterXavier Font Essay Writing School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, LS1 3HE, United KingdomPurposeI have written this paper following the methods to write a chapter or paper suggested in chapters 4-5-6 of Patrick Dunleavy’s book, Authoring a PhD. The purpose of this is to provide a specific example to discuss in classroom situation. Focus on the style, not on the contents of the paper. Double click on the yellow underlined text to see my comments. IntroductionCertification of sustainable tourism and ecotourism can help to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism, ensure that the tourism industry is held accountable and provide marketing benefits to those firms that meet the certification standards. In recent years there have been several projects aiming to set international standards for sustainable tourism and ecotourism. Other chapters in this book reflect on European experiences, by far the most advanced region in setting sustainable tourism standards and certification programs. This chapter discusses the feasibility to set international sustainable tourism standards from the experience of writing the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council (STSC) proposals. First, it will review the challenges faced in internationalising tourism certification and standard setting, with comparisons between the European and global context, in order to develop a rationale for international initiatives in this sphere and how these have been taken into account in writing the proposals for an STSC. Second, it will outline the outcomes from the feasibility study, by reviewing the areas of consensus and the desired activities of a global body that both markets companies meeting standards as well as sets standards and supports certification programmes to meet those standards. Third, this chapter outlines the stepped approach taken to move towards this objective. Because of the concerns raised through the consultation, the proposals were to work towards a stepped implementation aiming for consensus, information sharing and skills transfer, that would gradually introduce further benefits as well as expectations of quality, until these were requirements. The chapter will be of interest to organisations working to set locally applicable standards that at the same time consider the international operating environment. There is some consensus that the increasing numbers of certification programs would benefit from shared functions such as marketing, training and development, while supply chains and consumers would benefit from the setting of standards (Font, 2002; Honey, 2002; Sanabria, 2002; Synergy, 2000). In 2001 the Rainforest Alliance, with funding from the Ford Foundation and help from its Advisory Committees of NGOs, intergovernmental agencies and industry representatives, initiated a study of the feasibility of establishing the STSC. The purpohttp://www.ukassignment.org/daixieEssay/Essayfanwen/se was to promote globally recognised, high-quality certification programs for sustainable tourism and ecotourism through a process of information sharing, marketing, and assessment of standards. The method would be to accredit certification programs, i.e. it would ensure the rigour of the certification product and competency of the certification body, hence acting as a guarantee to both industry and markets (Sanabria, 2002; Toth, 2002). However there are important challenges, reviewed here, to the feasibility of global standards and accreditation. These are considered here under level of development of certification, different nature of certification programs, level of knowledge, financial and political reasons. #p#分页标题#e#Raising the benefits of certification is challenging when tourism companies do not start from a level playing field that allows them access to be certified. The first challenge is that different regions in the world are not at a comparable stage of implementation of certification programs; this makes it hard to propose standards that in effect can not be applied in certain countries or even continents. Specifically Europe differs greatly from the situation elsewhere in the world. 39 of 59 ecolabels analysed by Ecotrans on behalf of the World Tourism Organisation were based in Europe (WTO, 2002). . In developing proposals for Europe, the issue of whether developed countries could have a certification program is not questioned and is not a hurdle, but this is a key concern when thinking of a global reach. Europe has a high level of consumer consciousness towards environmental issues and governmental financial and technical support towards environmental initiatives. Initiatives such as VISIT in Europe are at the cutting edge and although there are growing attempts elsewhere, there are clear challenges to certification in developing countries, but also some cases of good practice. First, the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) in Costa Rica is has been accepted as a model for other Latin American countries, although there is little evidence of turning the political agreements into new national programmes by other countries. Second, Green Globe has successfully taken off in Australia and New Zealand, established partnerships with the Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Programme and the Pacific Area Tourism Association ***, opened offices in China and expanded operations throughout South East Asia, to become the programme of the Pacific. Elsewhere certification is not making an impact; North America has not shown an interest in the subject, while in Africa the Fair Trade in Tourism Network folded once external funds run out, with only a South African initiative still in operation The second challenge is that not only different regions in the world have developed certification at different speeds, but also the fact that the meaning of sustainability standards is location specific. European programs target exclusively or mainly accommodation providers and the criteria relate almost in their entirety to environmental standards, whereas in developing countries sustainability cannot be understood without a strong socio-economic emphasis. European programs do not measure staff welfare as this is taken as already achieved, while the efforts for standards in Africa focus mainly on fair trade. Besides the differences in meaning of sustainability, the metrics for environmental standards are more established, and there is more consensus on what needs to be assessed; certification programs consistently measure water, waste and energy in somewhat transferable methods. While all stakeholders acknowledge the importance of community-based development and local empowerment, turning these principles into measurable criteria has proved a challenge, only seven programmes from those analysed by the WTO (2002) include social criteria, and these are more ambiguous and less transferable (Font and Harris, undated). This is not a solid basis from which to suggest a comprehensive global standard. #p#分页标题#e#The third challenge is the lack of knowledge and information on certification. Ecotrans has been at the forefront of both the development of standards and their analysis for a number of years (see for example Hamele, 1996), although it is only since about 2000 that certification has taken off sufficiently to be studied (see Font, 2002 for a review of events in certification). Until recently there have been no guidelines or templates to help in the development of certification programs, albeit VISIT, STSC and the World Tourism Organization have done work in that respect (WTO, 2003). There is little data available on best practice in tourism certification (with the exception of WTO, 2002), and to date there is limited information published in relation to the benefits of certification in tourism, and accreditation in other sectors. The fourth challenge is financial; basically the high cost of accreditation and low willingness to pay is now coupled with the fact that certification programs already are in financial difficulties. This challenge can be broken down into components. First, accreditation is an expensive process because of the need for impartiality and to avoid conflicts of interest. Assessing that each certification program works to the agreed global standards means considerable paper trails and site visits, by trained verifiers who hare independent from any certification program. Second, demand for accreditation is low and requires consensus and ownership from the current certification programs to bhttp://www.ukassignment.org/daixieEssay/Essayfanwen/e meaningful. VISIT has proven that trust building is a first key step to work towards consensus, and has managed to bring together European programs on a regular basis. Yet the costs are comparatively low to a global scale process, which instead tends to rely on regional meetings and electronic communications. Third, most certification programs are in financial difficulties, having secured funds their development, they find that operational costs are higher than their potential income stream, and rely already on subsidies before a quality assurance scheme such as accreditation. Finally, there is no organisation with the funds for global governance of sustainable tourism that can fund this process. VISIT has benefited from European (LIFE) funding for a European project for its development but is likely to need subsidies for long term operations. The STSC benefited from Ford Foundation funds, but it doesn’t have a mandate equivalent to the EC for Europe. The World Tourism Organization would have the credibility for that role, but the subsidies needed to become an accreditation body (estimated at nearly 1 million US dollars per year according to RA, 2003) are a considerable hurdle to say the least. Finally, political challenges should not be dismissed. The partial information available is interpreted differently according to the interests of different stakeholders, as there are vested interests in protecting the sovereignty of certification programmes as well as their geographical areas. Perceptions of accreditation range from saying that involves adding a new layer of bureaucracy, to fearing it means loss of decision making control. Organisations having invested in developing international certification programs could be justified in having political reservations regarding proposals such as the STSC, and the work undertaken by the STSC has consistently aimed at creating a environment of mutual trust and complementarity. This brings us to the issue of competition between programs. For VISIT, the majority of programs have national competence, and they can work in conjunction without the fear of threatening each other, and their main challenge is the link between VISIT and the European eco-label (VISIT, 2002b). The politics of global governance are more complex; there are some supra-national programs that are expanding and there are potential clashes between certification programs that are claiming the same territory. In this respect it is encouraging to see that many key organisations have supported the proposals of the STSC, including Green Globe (GG21, 2003) and VISIT (VISIT, 2002a; VISIT, 2003).#p#分页标题#e#Progress to dateThe report produced by the Rainforest Alliance focuses on the organisational blueprint, the financial feasibility and the activities that an organisation like the STSC would undertake. The team developing the proposals was aware from the outset of the challenges faced when proposing international standards, and in particular of the feelings that European countries would impose standards onto developing countries, and conducted considerable consultation and awareness raising in developing countries accordingly (see Font and Sallows, 2002; RA, 2003). The study acknowledges the challenges outlined earlier in the proposals developed and identifies a number of tasks that a body could undertake to raise the standards of certification, including accreditation as well as other functions, of interest to both certification programs and to other stakeholders. These are networking, marketing, training, standard setting, and standard assurance, and are reviewed in turn. The order does not imply importance, but somehow reflect the stepped implementation outlined later in this chapter. The first, enabling activity is networking. This involves acting as a clearinghouse of information on certification that both helps current programmes to make internal improvements by learning from others, and develops baseline data and a first port of call for countries aiming to develop new programmes. This formalises some of the tasks already started in the feasibility study. The challenge is to embed the networks into the current regional structures in development, to avoid duplication and competition. In this respect STSC is collaborating with VISIT for the latter to act as the European partner that represents the labels in this region, and similar arrangements are under development in other regions. Marketing was raised from the outset as a key task, at two levels: marketing the sustainable tourism certification programmes and the companies that are certified. The plan is to created a database of certified companies and use it for marketing/brokerage, to lobby stakeholders to support certification, and to develop buyer groups of tour operators to encourage using certified suppliers in their packages. STSC can learn from the marketing activity of VISIT in this respect, as the latter has been successful in raising the profile of certified accommodation and encouraging tour operators to support certification of their current suppliers. STSC can also learn from VISIT with regards to the challenges of doing consumer marketing, as the budgets available are low in comparison with the private sector marketing campaigns, and it is important to focus on key markets with the highest probability of success. Marketing could be an income generation activity for the STSC but the potential revenue might not justify the additional burdens and potential criticisms from stakeholders. Training is necessary at three levels. First, to support of certification programme staff to improve their systems. Second, to support for organisations and government aiming to start new certification programs. Third, to train auditors to undertake accreditation inspections. Training has the potential of being a source of income, somehow less controversial than marketing but nevertheless potentially eroding of the trust building approach aimed for in networking. Certification programmes might feel dissatisfied to pay for training that is meant to be the result of sharing best practice. #p#分页标题#e#Standard setting and maintenance are key activities of an accreditation body. There are two lines of work here. First, the development of a multi-stakeholder standard will take priority from the outset (i.e. what the certification programs certify to); second, the agreement on how to assess the competence of certification (i.e. how certification programs undertake that task). The standards to certify to are not clear. The nature of tourism certification, as outlined earlier, means that the discussions for reaching consensus on an international standard will be long, and it is anticipated that there will be a core international part, with regional or local variations. Conversely, the procedures on how to undertake certification are more established. Four documents from different stakeholder groups have been mapped out to consider commonalties from which to develop an initial set of indicators of good management of tourism certification programs. These are the Mohonk Agreement (Honey, 2002), the VISIT standard (VISIT, 2002a), ISO 14024 standard (ISO/IEC, 1999) and work undertaken by the Tour Operators Initiative to consider certification as a tool for supply chain management (TOI, 2002), as well as the ISO 65 Guide on procedures for operating a certification body (ISO/IEC, 1996). This leads to the final task of standard assurance and accreditation, to guarantee to both consumers and to stakeholders that certification programmes are working to high standards and that these are comparable. Eventually the certification programs will map out their own standards and procedures against the agreed best practice, and either make improvements to meet the requirements, or where necessary jhttp://www.ukassignment.org/daixieEssay/Essayfanwen/ustify why there is the need for local or regional differences. From this stage, the STSC will need to move towards a system of verification that is both cost-effective, transparent and avoids conflict of interest. The proposed method is to outsource the accreditation operations, so the STSC core activities remain enabling and developmental. A stepped, consensus-based approach The STSC will take a stepped, consensus building approach to facilitate the development of mechanisms to increase the performance of programmes over a period of time through consensus (see RA, 2003 for a more detailed account). In many ways this is similar to the processes that VISIT has undergone in its development phase in Europe, but with the additional challenges mentioned above that make it a slower and more complex process. To this purpose the STSC proposals suggest to initially develop a network to reflect on the findings and recommendations from feasibility study, share information and gain consensus on priorities and processes. The network phase also gives tourism certification programs a vehicle to build trust and to take ownership of the systems proposed. By early 2003, Ford Foundation had awarded funds to a coalition of four organisations (World Tourism Organization, Rainforest Alliance, The International Ecotourism Society, and the Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development) to roll out the first, networking phase. A number of activities, including electronic dissemination and regional meetings are included in this phase at the time of writing this chapter. #p#分页标题#e#The second phase is to move from a network to an association, which is envisaged as marketing certified products, providing guidance to countries seeking to establish or upgrade certification programs, and reaching an agreement on standards and processes. This phase allows tourism certification programs and other stakeholders to agree on international standards and criteria and methods to assess how programs meet these standards, while benefiting from joint marketing and training that increases the exposure of the tourism certification programs and improves their performance. In developing these proposals it was considered that the association phase is an important stepping-stone to allow tourism certification programs to make the necessary improvements to be able to meet accreditation requirements. This phase, like the network, assumes that the certification programs need time and capacity to develop and expertise to improve their performance. VISIT has operated at this level for some time, successfully using it to build confidence on each other and improve each programme based on the experiences from peers. STSC aims to work similarly. The association phase focuses on creating systems for international marketing of different certification programs. The association provides a mechanism to harmonise international standards and methods and to assess those standards and the certification procedures against accreditation criteria. It also assists tourism certification programs to improve their systems through information sharing and training, and this helps tourism certification programs to save on consultancy costs.The plan is that the two previous phases will have led to the preparation of tourism certification programs for accreditation. The aim is to both accredit and market certification programs that meet the agreed upon standards and demonstrate capacity to certify. This phase finally includes all key functions of the STSC by building on the agreements made at the association phase and introducing the key element of accreditation for those certification programs that voluntarily apply. This phase is new territory to all, both VISIT and STSC, and it has the added challenge of changing governance to create a two tier system, those that meet the accreditation standards and those that do not, requiring structural mechanisms to avoid conflicts of interest. To do so, it is envisaged that the structures from the association are kept and the function of accreditation is outsourced, to be able to maintain training and marketing functions separate from decision-making on which certification programs are accredited. In doing so, the accreditation guarantees independence and transparency, avoids conflicts of interest, ensures the accountability of certification programs and improves the confidence of consumers and distribution channels on certification. ConclusionsDeveloping global standards for sustainable tourism is a worthwhile, yet ambitious and long term activity. A number of initiatives are on their way to make a difference, this chapter reviews the efforts to develop a Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council by critically analysing the challenges faced, with a comparison between the European experience and the global context. The chapter summarises a number of actions that the STSC can undertake to set and raise standards, and outlines a trajectory to progress this agenda. #p#分页标题#e#This paper was prepared by the author and does not represent the official views of Rainforest Alliance or other organisations involved in the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council. ReferencesFont, X. 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