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Australia provides Korea with sustainable tourism standard

Australia provides Korea with sustainable tourism standard

The joint partnership between the Korean private sector and Australian company EarthCheck came to fruition after Coex – South Korea’s top convention and exhibition centre and the venue for the G20 Seoul Summit – had successfully benchmarked with EarthCheck.

The partnership is a result of an agreement which involves the Korea Business Council for Sustainable Development (KBCSD) and EarthCheck; the world’s largest environmental management system in use by the travel and tourism industry. The agreement incorporates the establishment of a public-private partnership on sustainable tourism, which will help South Korea boost its competitiveness as a tourism destination and raise public awareness of the benefits of sustainable practices.

Global Leaders Align

Comprised of chief executive officers of enterprises that share a vision for economic development that is in harmony with environmental preservation and social development, KBCSD members include corporate heavyweights such as; GS Caltex, Samsung, Ernst & Young, LG Electronics, KIA Motors and POSCO.

EarthCheck is the world’s largest environmental management Program used by sustainable travel and tourism industry. It was developed by the world’s largest not-for-profit research centre into sustainable tourism; the Australian Government-funded Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.


The Program leverages some $260 million worth of academic research and contains more than a decade of industry benchmarking data. It is already used by more than 1000 organisations in over 70 countries; including tourism leaders such as ACCOR, Langham Hotels International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Banyan Tree and Six Senses.

Demonstrating High Standards of Performance

The Republic of Korea understands that in order to succeed, there is a need to measure and monitor performance, identify areas for sustainable improvement and promote and recognise good commercial practice.

The nation recognizes there exists a global need for consistency and comparability across country and sector; especially when it comes to financial and emissions reporting. Information collected needs to be harmonized and baselines created to facilitate destination planning.

In-keeping with the national vision of a ‘Low-Carbon, Green Growth’, KBCSD is working closely with the Korean Government concerned with a view to adopting the EarthCheck methodology and approach as an internationally-recognised scientific solution to underpin their national program.

“As part of new growth engines for the low-carbon future, the Korean government aims at increasing the market share of green tourism from 20% in 2008 to 25% in 2014. The Korean business sector also strives to build a strong business case and marketing opportunities for green tourism. In light of this, KBCSD believes that our alliance with EarthCheck will ensure that Korean businesses are internationally evaluated in the course of achieving meaningful sustainability performances,” said Sonia Hong, Secretary-General of KBCSD.

EarthCheck provides a framework to increase operational efficiencies, maximise the benefit of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and minimise environmental impacts. Having been in market for almost 13 years, the EarthCheck infrastructure and internationally recognised standards will benefit Korea, which will white-label it for their own travel and tourism industry, associated infrastructure, communities and business clusters of associated service industries.

It is hoped that the adoption of the Australian program will help promote more cooperative projects between the two nations, encourage corporate investment for national economic growth, and lead to job creation.

“We are delighted to have signed a Strategic Alliance agreement with The Korea Business Council for Sustainable Development (KBCSD),” said Stewart Moore, CEO of EC3 Global. “Korea has shown strong leadership in this region by being proactive with this initiative.”

Early Signs of Success

Last week, it was announced that Coex – venue for the G20 summit – had successfully benchmarked with EarthCheck. Located in the World Trade Center Seoul and boasting Asia’s largest underground mall, Coex is sprawled across a staggering 190,386 square meters. With over 2,500 different events staged at the venue each year, Coex has the ability to significantly influence the MICE sector in South Korea.

More than 35 million people – almost double the entire population of Australia – visit Coex and surrounding facilities each year. Yet, despite this massive volume of foot traffic, Coex has managed to become a pioneer in Korea’s green growth industry. In fact, Coex exceeded Best Practice levels in energy efficiency and water conservation, as well as other important areas of sustainable business operations.