- By conducting third party certification audits for hotels in North America for EarthCheck, Project Azul Verde helps travel and tourism organizations increase efficiencies, maximize guest experience and minimize their environmental footprint. EarthCheck is a leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism that helps businesses, communities and governments deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travelers to visit, live, work and play.
- Project Azul Verde delivers auditing and coaching for Travelife tour operators to improve and manage social and environmental impacts by complying with sustainability criteria. Travelife is a leading training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to reaching sustainability. The Travelife initiative is based on the central role of tour operators and travel agents in the tourism supply chain. Their unique position between suppliers and buyers enables them to influence consumer demand, procurement policies and the development of destinations. This allows them to contribute significantly to sustainable development and environmental and cultural protection in destinations. Travelife aims to offer companies the knowledge, solutions and tools to implement positive change within their businesses and their supply chain.
- To reach SIDS policy makers across the globe, Project Azul Verde provides consulting to Sustainable Travel International in the development of an online course “Sustainable Tourism and Stakeholder Networking for SIDS Policy Makers.” Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face distinctive challenges and opportunities. The course focuses on the positive role tourism should play in the sustainable development of SIDS and other developing nations. Participants will gain inspiration and hands-on knowledge while learning best practices and applying sustainable tourism tools. The seven week course contains assignments which culminate in a project proposal for policy makers to apply in resolving their particular challenges. The course seeks to form a truly global SIDS learning community, facilitating peer-to-peer interaction and cross-destination knowledge sharing; while drawing from concrete experiences in the Caribbean, Pacific, West African, and Indian Ocean regions.
- The GSTC promotes the development of broad market adoption and application of the GSTC Criteria, with the ultimate goal of increasing demand for sustainable travel and tourism offerings while building trust amongst travelers. As part of this important initiative, Project Azul Verde aims to identify opportunities and solutions for aligning greater market potential.
- As a continual improvement management tool, Environmental Management Systems use a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. EMS can be applied to any business as every organization can benefit from going through this cycle. The ISO 14001 standard has recently been updated to include an emphasis on leadership, risk, life cycle, environmental performance, strategic direction, and more, and gives organizations the opportunity to refresh and modernize an organization’s EMS.
- Change moves outward in ripples, and Suck the Straws Out seeks to bring the empowering message that one small change for every business has a great impact on our waters and the life they support – from our local rivers and streams all the way to the sea. Our first target city was Boulder, Colorado, and we’ve since expanded the campaign to include other cities in Colorado, including Denver and Salida, as well as Connecticut. We encourage all states and countries around the world to get involved! Project Azul Verde is a partner and founding member of the movement, fortifying the message with meaningful statistics and the business case for change.
- How does your accommodation or activity capture a potential customer’s interest as they plan vacations online? Is your experience easier to book than your competitor’s? How are the leaders in your field approaching these issues? Peaking at the customer perspective is valuable. There are many places to find your business listing online (Airbnb, Trip Advisor, business website, booking.com, and more) all which have various rankings, guest reviews, commission rates, etc. And there are certain elements that tourists are looking for in the experience: to taste, touch, see, and share the culture, natural heritage, and uniqueness of your destination. The Mountain Goat Lodge, an agritourism B&B in Colorado, was looking to formalize tours as well as manage the increasing competition from Airbnb in the area. To help the Mountain Goat Lodge identify current strengths and potential gaps with its existing strategy, Project Azul Verde evaluated the lodge’s approach in comparison to local competitors and similar tour providers in the agritourism industry. A comparative assessment reviewed website and product offerings while a competitive analysis focused on differentiating the lodge’s strategy to provide a unique accommodation experience. As a result, we focused on developing farm tours as a value-add product, from generating interest online, making online booking easy, incorporating tour best practices, and selling tour related products, all providing a joyful experience from pre to post vacation.
- MesoAmerican Reef Tourism Initiative (MARTI) is re-launching the collaborative to maintain a vibrant tourism industry that can support local communities and contribute to a healthy ecosystem. Efforts as Future Leader volunteer include assistance in new program development, market research, fund finding, strategic planning, and key partner engagement with specific focus on Cozumel, Mexico.
- Anthesis is a specialist global consultancy founded on the belief that commercial success and sustainability go hand in hand. Anthesis offers commercially-driven sustainability strategy, underpinned by technical experience and delivered by innovative collaborative teams across the world. The name is from the Greek word “anthesis”, the stage of a plant’s lifecycle when it is most productive. With deep roots in sustainability the aim is to help organizations thrive and prosper. Project Azul Verde provides sustainability consulting to Anthesis, including Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting.
- The Mountain Goat Lodge provides a unique agritourism experience and leverages sustainable business operations in order to best connect guests to nature. The Lodge is continually inspired to find ways new to improve what they do, reduce resource use, and communicate their story. Through the CHAMP program, Project Azul Verde worked with the Lodge to measure and improve upon current sustainability practices, draft strategies for adding to existing efforts, and create a marketing plan to promote our responsible tourism work. The Cultural, Heritage/Agritourism Mentor Program, or CHAMP, exists to stimulate the development of high-quality cultural, heritage and agricultural tourism experiences for travelers in Colorado. Read about project wins here to see Project Azul Verde’s tools and services in action!
- Beautiful ocean photographs invite visitors to glide through this new website. I love being able to be creative to bring important projects to life; these images integrate the call to action for sustainable scuba diving.
- Honored to be featured by Travel Massive… “Deby Stabler, Owner of Project Azul Verde and member of our Colorado Travel Massive chapter, helps spark positive global change to advance sustainability and decrease negative impacts. Inspired? We were too, which is why we’ve asked Deby a few questions to learn more about the project.”
- What would cause a business to shift from automatically including plastic straws in customer’s drinks? I believe that the way we live, travel, recreate, and do business impacts our communities and environment — so I look for ways that shape, and change, our behavior. While straws are a small fraction of a greater problem, this initiative provides both a way to start the conversation and an entry point to tackling larger sustainability issues. This initiative became the Suck the Straws Out of Boulder movement and has now taken off nationwide.
- I demonstrate how to engage youth and adults in this hands-on activity to increase awareness of ocean plastic pollution problems and solutions.
- We love to visit paradise. The beaches. The food. The people. The culture. The diving! How we enjoy all of it can have a positive impact to ensure the places we visit thrive. Read about how sustainability and tourism go hand in hand in my story.
- For Scuba 6 Eco Diving, sustainability means teaching divers about what they will see on a dive so that they will have more fun. What does sustainability mean to your business and what does it bring to your customers and community? Learn one way to make this critical connection in my article.
ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems – Consulting and Gap Assessment for Transitioning to the Updated Standard
- I conducted an EMS Gap Assessment for a confidential client to gain competitive advantage as an environmental leader. The analysis included interviews with keystakeholders, a review of existing documentation, and site visits in order to identify and map existing environmental management policies, processes, and programs to ISO 14001:2015. The outcomes of the project involved drafting an environmental policy, making recommendations for the scope and framework, and building an implementation roadmap to take the client through to successful ISO 14001:2015 certification.
Sustainability Leaders Article: The Ripple Effect of the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference
- Important synergies and connections continue to grow and spread, like a ripple
effect. To explore the topic of sustainable tourism further, I’ll take you on a virtual trip around North America to explore how conferences shape our journey in this Sustainability Leaders article.
- There’s much excitement as 2017 has been named the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Read about the ESTC conference in my recap.
Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference presentation: Environmental Management Systems for Sustainable Tourism
- Environmental Management Systems are often applied to sustainable tourism and development to enable evolutionary change. I presented highlights from Denver’s EMS and the GSTC-based Blue Certified program at the International Ecotourism Society’s 2016 Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference as examples to show how Management Systems benefit all organization types and can be expanded to a Sustainability Management System.
- The Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) Mentor, formerly Cultural, Heritage/Agritourism Mentor Program (CHAMP), exists to stimulate the development of high-quality cultural, heritage, agricultural and outdoor adventure tourism experiences for travelers in Colorado. The CRAFT program was founded in 2018 by the Colorado Tourism Office to offer training and support for rural economic development through creation and branding of new or enhanced traveler experiences. The CRAFT Mentor program provides exceptional funding and pairs experts with organizations or businesses wishing to advance a specific tourism-related goal or strategy.
- The STEP Sustainable Shore Excursions program offered by Sustainable Travel International is an internationally recognized sustainability standard designed in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Conservation International and the Cruise Lines International Association to enhance the sustainability of the cruise industry. Developed specifically for tour operators, attractions and other providers serving the cruise industry, this program helps ensure that shore excursion providers are operating with environmental protection, inclusion of local communities, and cultural heritage in mind. Sustainable Travel International uses internationally accepted methods to verify operators, including having an independent third party remotely confirm that appropriate evidence is provided to show a baseline set of criteria are in compliance. My value-add audits increase marketing opportunities for sustainability leaders and ensures that shore excursion providers are operating in a way that contributes to the long-term viability of the communities, cultures and environments in which they do business.
Ocean First Institute Launches Blue Certified, with Deby Stabler as Program Manager
- The Blue Certified eco-label promotes increased knowledge, understanding, and adoption of dive operator best practices to ensure the long-term health of global marine environments and preserve the livelihood of the industry. As Program Manager for this responsible tourism pearl, my efforts include addressing priority needs, developing tools, improving materials, mentoring, marketing, recruitment, and auditing, while moving from pilot to launch phases. The goal of the program is to provide tools to perform better, leading to more efficient business practices and cost savings, all while benefiting the environment and strengthening marketing reach. The certification program centers around 30 best practices to guide dive centers towards operating at an optimal level in all day-to-day operations and in relation to their biggest stakeholder, the ocean.
- With annual nation-wide water shortages now a common crisis, and water pollution and ocean acidification a critical global issue, this program plays a vital role in citizen awareness and engagement for ocean conservation. Ocean Ambassadors are empowered with information on some of the most pressing global environmental issues, with a particular focus on the world’s oceans and fresh water resources. Topics include marine conservation problems and solutions, watershed health, marine sanctuary protection and legislation, climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, advocacy, social media skills, and public speaking. Because this program emphasizes solution-based thinking, Ocean Ambassadors are empowered and prepared to take action in a variety of ways to effectively make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Make waves!
- Sustainability Leaders aims “to feature the best examples (hotels, tours and destinations) of sustainability in travel and tourism, to tell the stories of sustainability thinkers and doers around the world, and to inspire and encourage travel & tourism decision-makers to embrace sustainability and to ‘get on with it.’ As travelers, consumers, citizens, businesses, organizations and service providers, we are all in this together. By following examples of leaders in the field of sustainability, it is much easier to put strategies in place.”
- Think outside of the box and shine.