Business sustainability TOOLKIT

Standards- Business Sustainability

A.1 Sustainable Management

A.1.1 Implementation of a Sustainability Management System

The organization is implementing a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scope, and which addresses environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

A well crafted sustainability management system defines and clearly communicates organizational goals, objectives, identifies the required results as they relate to the economic, environmental, and socio?cultural performance of the organization. It guides the management, decision?making, daily operations and capital investment of the organization in a sustainable manner.

  • A sustainability management system should include transparent, documented policies and procedures, implementation and communication plans.
  • A good plan will follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle, or PDCA. This is a process of planning, then implementing the plan, checking how it is going and then acting on this check. It is a continuous cycle. Find out more click here>
  • Implement and adhere to the sustainability management system in all aspects of the daily operation of the business
  • Designate a person in charge of driving the implementation of the sustainability management system
  • Regularly report the progress of the implementation of the sustainability management system to senior business managers
  • Ensure that the sustainability management system has been signed by the business managers, and is regularly improved and updated

A.2. Legal Compliance

A2.1 Legal Compliance

All operations s are in compliance with the relevant National and International legislation and regulations (including, among others, health, safety, labor, intellectual property rights and environmental aspects).
Land and water rights, and property acquisition are legal, comply with local communal and indigenous rights, including their free, prior and informed consent, and do not require involuntary resettlement.

International and Tanzanian legislation and regulations address many of the social and environmental negative practices associated with tourism operations, e.g. major labor conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Such regulations are not alternatives to government regulation and national legislation. Rather, they are complementary instruments that fill voids in the application, adherence and enforcement of critical social and environmental protections

  • Establish procedures for maintaining up-to-date list of legal requirements
  • Have meetings and consultations with a local registered legal counsel on an ‘as needs basis’
  • Legal compliance is critical, and should be complete

A.3. Risk Management

A.3.1 Risk Assessment

The likelihood of the risks related to the operation are constantly identified, qualified and measured, taking steps to minimize their occurrence, and develop contingency plans to effectively react to emergencies.

A tourism operation is exposed to many risks, such as fire, accidents in transportation of employees and supplies, and natural disasters. Through measuring and anticipating such risks, contingency plans can be developed and certain insurance products can be used so that the organization performance of operation is optimized.

  • Summarize the accidents that have occurred in your company in the last 10 years.
  • Summarize the accidents that have occurred in your company’s industry in the last 10 years, (see example……..add link) which could serve as a checklist of the risks your operation is most highly exposed to.
  • Calculate metrics such as “car accidents per operator per year” in order to get a rough concept of the likelihood of a certain risk.
  • In measuring risks, consider seasonal and regional factors, and use your knowledge in the industry to decide whether certain risks have decreased or increased over the years – examples for tourism industry in Tz = …
  • Comply with all regulations that are related to natural and human hazards
  • Where activity services are offered, the company’s guides, trip leaders or instructors should have received special training and education e.g. First aid, First Responder (?)
  • Hedge against potential losses from accidents by entering into insurance policies that provide coverage to important aspects of the business that have high risk exposures.

A.3.2 Health and Safety

The safety of your operation is reviewed constantly and appropriate measures taken to ensure the well being of your guests, employees and the surrounding communities.

Your guests and employees can cost a company a lot of money if they need medical attention and especially if it is something that can be linked to negligence within your operations. A safe and hygienic environment should be established for both your guests and employees to minimize such risks. Any negative press that your business receives concerning safety could be detrimental to the competitiveness of your operation, your local reputation and potentially the tourism sector.

  • Create and implement a health and safety policy based on a risk assessment (see A.3.1.) – Link to an example of a health and safety policy
  • Have clear safety instructions and procedures, for both staff and guests.
  • Develop an internal audit using a check list to make sure that all your health and safety checks are current- link to a checklist
  • Equip workplaces, machinery and equipment with adequate safety devices, and ensure that employees have been instructed in their proper use
  • Clearly mark high risk areas and potential hazards with warning signs in Kiswahili, English and pictograms-Links samples of such signs
  • Have first aid facilities and staff 24/7 in place to meet all reasonably foreseeable emergency situations- record all incidences and first aid treatment.
  • Potable drinking water should be accessible to all guests and employees, and if you are unsure of the source, it should tested every 6 months to identify risks.
  • Provide adequate and clean sanitary facilities
  • Ensure that all workers have appropriate working clothes.
  • Fire exits, escape routes, firefighting equipment and fire alarms should be provided for indoor venues
  • Make sure your fuel, gas and other inflammables are stored in a manner that reduces risk from fire and in event of a fire.
  • Regularly inspect electrical equipment, wiring and outlets.
  • Ensure that staff are trained in health and safety procedures

A.4. Workplace Practices

A.4.1 Employment

A clear employment policy is in place that outlines employees’ rights and compensates employees fairly.

A clear employment structure allows each employee to be fully aware of his/her responsibility, which enhances teamwork, and optimizes the performance of your human resources. It also gives employees motivation to develop an area of expertise in your company. In addition, a fair remuneration scheme that outlines clearly employees’ rights could boost the morale and efficiency of your workforce.

  • Base employment decisions on the candidates’ fit for the vacancy, not their gender, age, religion or tribe
  • Clearly outline the role and responsibility of each employee and provide appropriate training, tools and equipments
  • Respect employees’ freedom of association and other worker rights
  • Clearly outline the company’s remuneration scheme, including compensations, benefits (including tip schemes), paid leave and days off
  • Follow at LEAST the minimum wage policies in Tanzania – link to Tanzanian Labor Law
  • Have a clear payment schedule and ensure that payments are made on time
  • Have a transparent bonus and overtime payment policy
  • Implement and apply a sick leave regulation, where sick leave should not be taken from annual leave
  • Working hours should comply with applicable law and industry standards
  • Have a fair maternity policy, and grant nursing mothers breastfeeding breaks
  • All permanent workers should have a legally binding written contract
  • Do not employ children below the age of 16, and ensure that youth employed between the ages of 16 – 18 have preferable working conditions e.g. no night work.
  • Management should provide details on circumstances/reasons for any contract termination of employees
  • Regular meetings between senior management and the workforce should be held
  • Have an employee suggestion system
  • Clearly indicate performance requirements for promotion and the opportunities available for career development within the company.

A.4.2 Training

All personnel should receive periodic training to improve or further their capacity and skills with their profession as well as training regarding their role in the operation’s sustainability management system, especially in the management of environmental, socio-cultural, health, and safety practices.

Critical to a company’s growth and prosperity is gaining and retaining a competitive advantage, companies investing in training and improving their human resources will develop a loyal and skilled workforce. Training ranks among the most valuable long-term benefit offered to employees enabling the employee to further their education, develop skills, and enhance competencies, invariably translating to all-round development of the individual and better performance at work, which in turn translates to career advancement.  The success of the company’s sustainability management system depends on the integration and internalization of the system by employees at all levels. A defined training program for all employees will enable employees to understand the company’s goals and objectives, their importance, and how they can positively contribute to the company’s efforts in their individual roles.

  • Develop a training plan that identifies the areas that require training within your company, the dates for training and the trainers.
  • Have a defined (sustainability management) training plan, provide training materials appropriate to staff’s educational levels in the local language, and allow time for staff to learn and understand the materials – link to an example of a (sustainability management) training plan
  • Provide sustainability training to new hires as soon as possible
  • Provide appropriate new SM training according to employees’ development in the operation
  • Include employees’ awareness of sustainability management in their performance evaluation
  • For small businesses, formal training programs may not be practical, but management/owners should make efforts to expose all staff to environmental and socio-cultural issues = ?, – link to SM / training?
  • Always record and document any training that takes place, make sure you get all the participants to sign the attendance register.

A.5. Customer Awareness and Satisfaction

A5.1 Accurate marketing and complete promotional material

All marketing and promotional materials promote sustainability and are current, accurate and complete including sustainability claims.

An honest representation of what services the business provides is integral to the responsible and sustainable strategies that the company undertakes. It improves customer satisfaction by ensuring that expectations can be met.

  • Do not promise more than can be delivered by the business.
  • Marketing materials should set realistic expectations for clients.
  • Analyze customers’ feedback to ensure all information in promotional and marketing materials are not misleading or deceptive.

A5.2 Guest Satisfaction

Feedback is sought from customer on a regular basis. Guests’ satisfaction, including sustainability aspects, is measured and appropriate corrective actions taken.

Guests are the central focus of the tourism experience. Their satisfaction can foment continued travel to Tanzania through return visits and word of mouth communications. Guests can also provide a unique vantage point on the organization’s operations that management and employees may not be able to provide. It will enable the organization to make improvements on a regular basis.

  • Ask the customers to give scores as well as comments on different aspects of the operation  e.g. services offered and sustainability management. link to an example of a customer feedback form
  • Ask for complaints or suggestions from the customers
  • Regularly measure metrics such as “number of complaints received as a percentage of total guests”, “percentage of complaints received that has been resolved”, and “percentage of guests who would recommend the activity/accommodation to others”

A5.3 Nurturing Understanding About Sustainability

Guest awareness and satisfaction is enhanced through cultivating understanding on natural surroundings, local culture, cultural heritage and sustainability e.g. the local economic, natural and cultural environments; and in the process invites them to contribute towards sustainable tourism.

Interpretation of the local economic, natural and cultural environment is not only important for educating visitors and protecting heritage, but a key factor for a high quality tourist experience and level of satisfaction.

  • Educate customers on the principles of sustainable tourism and the minimal codes of practice
  • Have information in different languages available to guests on the local ecosystems, culture and history
  • Information could be made available to guests as printed materials, signs, verbal communication, virtual tools such as the Internet.

A.6. Purchasing

A6.1 Procurement

A responsible purchasing/supply chain management policy that favors locally appropriate and ecologically sustainable products, including building materials, capital goods, food, beverages and consumables, encourages transparency as well as gains for the Tanzanian economy is established and implemented.

A well defined supply chain management policy could ensure sourcing of materials at a cost?effective basis as well as supporting the local economy. Utilizing environmentally friendly materials could also benefit the company’s marketing and promotional efforts.

  • Define environmentally responsible products and services purchasing targets and goals examples of responsible products / services in Tanzania
  • Incorporate environmental purchasing preferences (such as eco-labels, environmentally friendly devices, supporting local initiatives, avoiding plastic bags) into vendor and supplier purchasing systems
  • Regularly evaluate the efficiency and environmental benefits of the company’s current usage of products and services.
  • Where possible ensure that each of the company’s service providers has obtained all necessary licenses, permits and approvals required in the region.
  • Utilize locally owned services providers and locally produced goods whenever price and quality are comparable.
  • Purchase food and containers in bulk quantities whenever possible to save cost, waste packaging and impact on the environment.
  • Develop waste reuse and recycle program and train employees to implement such waste minimization programs and polices
  • Give preference to product vendors and suppliers who take back reusable packaging or provide recyclable packaging

A7. Sustainable Construction

A7.1 Legal Requirements

Planning, design, construction, renovation, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure comply with zoning requirements and laws related to protected areas and /or infrastructure. Ensure local government plans and zoning and protected or heritage area requirements are respected when deciding on the site of your property.

Local zoning reflects the community’s social, economic, and environmental needs, balanced with long-term sustainability. Any alteration should be discussed and agreed upon by the local authorities being either the village or town planning authority. Tourism operations should consider these requirements to optimize community development plans and minimize negative impacts.

  • Consult with local communities or town planning authorities on what structures/activities are allowed on a certain piece of land before commencement of the construction
  • Construction should not begin until approval of any request for zoning alteration is granted
  • Avoid any major changes to the area and its natural surroundings e.g. vegetation, rivers and topography.

A.7.2 Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment

New projects or buildings or extensions must have an environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out in compliance with Tanzania’s National Environmental management Council (NEMC) regulations (where applicable).

The environmental impact assessment is an effective tool, which identifies the implications of an action before that action is taken. It is used to collect and analyse information regarding a development, in the proposal phase, and in this way all potential positive and negative impacts are identified and the decision making process is improved. It is a process which attempts to prevent rather than alleviate environmental damage.

  • Ensure that construction plans follow a sustainable site design and plan
  • Create an environmental management plan before construction begins, outlining how the building site will be controlled from start to clean up.
  • Minimize areas of vegetation disturbance, earth grading, and water channel alteration
  • Develop and follow a construction site recovery plan that will identify and manage all the natural areas that will require recovery after construction. Contribute to the development of local capacity, including education, knowledge and experience, in adopting sustainability in local construction practices.

A.7.3 Construction Location, Design, Methods and Materials

Locally appropriate principles are used for sustainable construction. Ensure the construction of any buildings is in keeping with the natural surroundings, cultural elements, local art and architecture and cause as little impact to the surroundings as possible. Provide access for persons with special needs where appropriate.

Including sustainability into your design and construction means that you have to consider the environmental side, cultural aspects and creating something sensory for the end user. These considerations should be taken in the initial stages of the project and followed through to the final product. Local designs and development techniques often reflect many years of adaptation to local climatic and geographic conditions, and should be integrated into the design and construction phase of the operation, in order to minimize natural resource impacts and maximize socio?cultural and economic benefits.

  • Locate buildings to make natural use of heat, shade and wind in order to reduce heating, cooling, lighting and water consumption through passive design.
  • Incorporate systems which will reduce use of natural resources, waste and pollution from the beginning e.g. grey water recycling, solar.
  • Use locally available materials where possible to fit in with the surroundings, to support local business, and to cut down on transport impacts.
  • Provide access  for disabled



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