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Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas Baseline Criteria

Rainforest AllianceThrough analyzing existing regionally and nationally accepted standards, members of the Network agreed upon a set of baseline criteria for sustainable tourism certification (View the criteria in English (PDF - 56 KB) and Spanish (PDF - 57 KB)




Code Criteria

10101 Water consumption is periodically measured and meter reading records are kept.

10102 There are written plans, with water usage and consumption reduction goals.

10103 Measures are taken to save water (for drinking, irrigation, swimming pools, etc.); when applicable, devices are installed to use water efficiently.

10104 Policies and measures to save water and use it efficiently are deployed to customers, employees, and owners.


10201 Energy consumption is periodically measured and meter reading records are kept.

10202 There are written plans, with energy usage and consumption reduction goals.

10205 Renewable energy sources are used, when applicable.

10207 Measures are taken to make the best use of natural lighting.

10208 Turning off equipment and lights when not in use is encouraged, through eithercommunication or special devices.

10209 Equipment and devices are in place to use energy efficiently.

10210 When applicable, high performance and efficient vehicles (i.e., four-stroke boat motors) areused.

10211 Measures are adopted to prevent or minimize heat or cold losses in areas with room heatingor air conditioning.


10301 Endangered species, or products thereof, or items stemming from unsustainable practices arenot consumed, sold, traded, or displayed.

10302 No captive wildlife is kept, except for wildlife breeding farms, rescue or reintroduction,according to law and best practices.

10304 Artificial feeding of wildlife is prevented, except when it is done by sowing host or food plants.

10305 Measures are taken to prevent company noise and lighting from having an impact on wildlife.

10306 In sensitive areas, measures are taken to prevent pest and exotic species introduction.


10401 The company joins or supports conservation and management of some state-owned or private natural area located within company influence zone.


10601 Specific waste sorting actions have been identified and implemented.

10602 There is a program to minimize procurement of waste-producing inputs

10603 Waste of any kind is sorted to be reused or recycled, and its final disposal is verified, including construction waste.

10605 Company organic waste is used in some management program, such as composting, fertilizer manufacturing, mulching, farm animal feed, and others

10606 The company supports and joins recycling programs, if any.


10701 Both toilet and soapy wastewater are managed in such a way they do not affect public healthnor pollute.

10703 No bodies of water are polluted with toxic, hazardous, or eutrophicating products.

10704 Properly treated wastewater or effluents are reused, when feasible (for instance, in irrigation, cleaning, or other).

10705 Measures have been implemented for storm water adequate channeling, use, and disposal.

10706 Measures are adopted to minimize gas, pollutant spray, and strong odor emissions, as well as unpleasant noises.

10707 The soil is not polluted with oil derivatives or persistent toxic compounds.

10708 Biodegradable and non-eutrophicating cleaning and cosmetic products are used.


10801 Specific actions are taken on environmental education and other issues focusing on neighboring communities, customers, employees, and owners.

10802 Environmental education programs (committees, groups) existing in the area are supported, or their creation is encouraged.

10803 Responsible behaviour is encouraged among visitors.

10804 Visitors are provided with information about the protected areas they are about to visit.

10805 Visitors are provided with information about nearby protected areas, and they are encouraged to visit them.

10806 Visitors are provided with information on native wildlife and plant species found in the area.

10807 Visitors are informed about water conservation and rational use practices, and they are encouraged to help.

10808 Visitors are informed about adequate waste management practices, and they are encourage to help.

10809 Signs are posted to guide and educate both customers and employees.

10810 Visitors are informed about energy conservation and rational use practices, and they are encouraged to help


20101 Neighboring community cultural, sports, and recreational activities are supported and disseminated, with stakeholders’ prior consent.

20102 Visiting local businesses and communities is encouraged, when they wish it.

20201 The company joins or supports neighboring community development initiatives, with stakeholders’ prior consent.

20202 Products and services from micro, small and medium local businesses are used, particularly sustainable ones.

20203 Local staff hiring and training is promoted, at all levels in the company.

20205 Making and selling handicrafts and other local products is encouraged.

20206 The company should have a widely known and feasible contingency plan that includes communities.


20302 No selling, trading, or displaying of archaeological pieces/objects should be allowed, unless the corresponding permits are obtained (in the case of displaying them).


20401 Specific measures are adopted to promote an understanding and respect of indigenous cultures and customs.

20405 Provision of basic services to neighboring communities is not to be jeopardized.

20406 Policies against sexual commercial exploitation, particularly of children and adolescents, are followed and deployed.


30101 A sustainability policy addressing environmental, socioeconomic, and service quality issues is in place.

30102 Environmental policy is made known to customers, employees, and owners.

30104 No social, gender, or racial discrimination of any kind is practiced or supported.

30106 The company has an ethical code for directors, customers, and employees, and behaves accordingly.

30107 The company has and implements a business plan that is suitable to its reality/scale, including environmental, sociocultural, and financial issues.


30204 There are programs and mechanisms in place to favor participatory approaches in managing and operating the business.


30301 The company complies with labor laws (both domestic and international) and social rights.

30302 The company complies with environmental laws, standards, and regulations.

30303 The company complies with laws, standards, and regulations concerning the protection of site historical and cultural heritage.


30401 Regardless of service category, facilities are kept in perfect sanitation and cleaning conditions.

30402 Group size is appropriate and group members respect visited site regulations.

30403 There is a preventive maintenance program in place for all facilities, vehicles, and equipments.

30404 The necessary measures are adopted to ensure product and service quality.


30501 Clear, complete, and truthful information is given about provided product and service conditions.

30502 Promotional materials are truthful and do not promise more than can be reasonably expected by customers.

30503 Customers are provided with information on the site’s history, culture, and natural environment.


30601 Policies are in place, and specific actions are implemented, regarding staff training on environmental issues related to company operations.

30602 Policies are in place, and specific actions are implemented, regarding staff training on sociocultural issues related to company operations.

30603 Policies are in place, and specific actions are implemented, regarding staff training on the company’s quality system, and on operating issues.

30604 Policies are in place, and specific actions are implemented, regarding staff training on emergency response.


30701 Buildings are designed at the right scale and respecting the landscape.

30702 When applicable, facilities for people with special needs should be built.

30705 Environmentally-friendly building materials and techniques are used.


30801 Health and safety conditions required by employees, guests, and neighbors are provided.

30802 All measures needed to ensure customer safety during their tourist and recreational activities are taken.

30803 A contingency plan for environmental emergencies is in place.

30804 A contingency plan for health and safety emergencies is in place.

30805 Visitors are provided with information on the safety measures they should take while on the premises.

30807 Insurance policies and other customer and staff protection instruments are in place.

30809 Water used for human consumption, including ice, is demonstrably safe.

30813 Insect and rodent control is biological and environmentally friendly.

30814 There is a food handling program in line with best manufacturing practices.


30902 The company has a policy of favoring certified suppliers or suppliers following best environmental and social practices.

30903 Environmentally-friendly supplies are purchased, such as recycled or nontraditional paper, organic food, certified wood, and others.


31001 There is a record-keeping program or plan to identify and monitor (environmental and social) impacts generated by company operations.

31002 There is a mechanism to receive customer inputs, complaints, and comments, in addition to keeping a record of such inputs and their corresponding corrective actions.

31003 Both corrective and preventive management actions needed to ensure continuous improvement are monitored and critically analyzed.