Many innovative projects in sustainability science never reach the market, but environmental certification company EC3 Global has grown a 1000-strong client base in the last three years. CEO Stewart Moore has tapped the tourism sector which is now using his products to reduce its environmental footprint.
STEWART MOORE says there’s still a lot of ‘greenwashing’ going on whereby companies talk up flimsy eco credentials. It is part the reason why he believes his scientifically-based EarthCheck program is so important for the tourism industry.
“We developed our product licensing through the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC), which is owned by 16 universities,” he says.
“We’re their commercial arm and our journey started working with leading scientists, what we’re doing is leading science, so in other words you either do it properly or you don’t do it at all. It’s exciting because many of these sort of projects don’t make it in the commercial world.”
Moore expects to double revenue in the next 18 months with several new plans in the pipeline, following a successful run with some of the world’s largest tourism operators.
“We work with some of the biggest names in hotels, like the Intercontinental, Taj in India, Sandals in the Caribbean and all of these places are leading properties. Because we work for travel and tourism chains, by virtue of that they are around the world and so are we,” he says.
But what exactly is environmental certification and what does it offer these hotels?
“We help hotels, conference centres, cruises too, actually understand that as an operator you do have an environmental footprint, so we look at how they use their water, waste, energy and resources, as well as the part they play for the community around them,” explains Moore.
“You get a report card, so it’s not something you can easily get out of, you can track year-by-year progress, and we help in benchmarking so you can compete with your peers.
“For instance, we’ve just done a process benchmarking the Intercontinental in Melbourne for around $3500, and after that process of certification we get a third party independent auditor to make sure all the work has been done right.”
Closer to home, the company has worked with the Emporium Hotel, Rydges at South Bank, as well as the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre.
“Australian hotel operators realise that whether they like it or not the world’s changed, and if you’re going to be in the travel and tourism sector and you want people to be coming to Australia, you have to understand that the way people buy things has changed,” says Moore.
“As an effective operator acting sustainably you reduce the cost of water and energy, while you’re also doing well by the community – both travellers and businesses who go to a hotel want to see you’re doing the right thing.”
The company has 26 staff and 80 independent auditors it works with worldwide, while Moore plans to boost international partnerships with both businesses and some of the world’s leading scientists.
“We’re really now a multimillion-dollar company in terms of our turnover, and it all started from a very small space in Brisbane, but we’re building brick by brick,” he says.
“We’ve signed a partnership deal with Ecolab, which is a Fortune 500 company in the states with $6 billion annual revenue – we need partners that can give a total consulting solution to clients, but it’s difficult to get them, they don’t just fall off the shelf.
“With EarthCheck we are also now going to establish a panel of leading scientists from around the world, so the next step is to work with other universities around the world, as you need to have the best minds up and running.”
EC3 Global launches its product with French translation this month, with work currently underway translating the EarthCheck program into other languages to boost its global presence.
“We’re now translating into German and Spanish, and the next big thing will be Japanese, Chinese and Korean, as we’ve just done a deal with the Korean Business Council for their tourism, and they’re one of the biggest chambers of commerce in the world,” says Moore.
Other plans include a web portal with environmental case studies that businesses or interested parties can access, as well as the continuation of so-called ‘Destino’ events that inform the tourism sector about environmental benchmarking.
The next event will be held in Melbourne from July 19-20.
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