A Green Travel Glossary

A glossary of definitions pertaining to the field of Green Travel

Adventure Tourism Travel that involves a risk factor (usually referring to outdoors) and utilizes unconventional modes of transport.

Carbon Footprint A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels.

Carbon Neutral Balancing the impact of activities that generate carbon emissions.

Carbon Offset Displacing the impact of carbon/greenhouse-gas emissions by doing something for the environment to reduce emissions (for example, planting a tree).

Ecotourism The International Ecotourism Society defines it as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Fair Trade An attempt to maintain equitable and fair partnership between businesses and organizations in North America and producers in the developing world.

Green Certification An award or distinction marking a product or practice as having met and maintained certain predetermined standards of environmental stewardship. A number of government and private agencies are in the business of green certification, a field that itself has no internal or universal standards nor auditing. (See examples under Certifications, below.)

Green Travel Any activity or facility operating in an environmentally friendly manner. Term originally popularized in the UK, gaining wider use in the U.S.

Greenwash A term that critics give to the practice of giving a positive public image to environmentally unsound practices or products.

Leave No Trace Travel or activity that has no negative impact on the environment.

ISO International Organization for Standardization, a nongovernmental organization and network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.

Responsible Tourism Travel and tourism that employ Leave No Trace principles.

Sustainable Tourism Travel and tourism that do not deplete future resources of site for future visitors.

VolunTourism Using one's vacation or leisure time to experience another culture or area by volunteering work hours to assist in projects that improve the living standards of the area and its population.


Eco-Index Sustainable Tourism Businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean that have been deemed environmentally and socially friendly by reputable environmental organizations and/or ecotourism-certification programs. www.eco-indextourism.org.

Energy Star A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to protect the environment and pocketbook through energy-efficient products and practices. www.energystar.gov.

European Ecolabel A system created to reward European tourist accommodation services that demonstrate respect for the environment. www.eco-label-tourism.com.

Green Seal Certification Independent, nonprofit, green standards and practices certification organization. www.greenseal.org.

Green Advantage Green certification for building-related businesses, contractors, and practitioners. www.greenadvantage.org.

Green-e The Green-e logo is the nationally recognized symbol for certified renewable energy. www.green-e.org.

Green Globe Worldwide benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry. www.greenglobe.org.

Green Leaf Audubon Eco-Rating Program Audited lodging facilities have met environmental best-practices standards that are required for their rating of one to five Green Leafs. www.greenhotelsonline.com.

ISO 14001 or ISO Green Certified A standard set to help organizations both manage better the impact of their activities on the environment and demonstrate sound environmental management. www.iso.org.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green-building rating system that is the national benchmark for high performance green buildings. www.usgbc.org/LEED.

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