Our Sustainability Journey - Our Certifications

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Newsletters, Sustainability Journey28 April 2023


Sustainability has been woven into the foundation of the Wickaninnish since our inception and remains top of mind in our daily operations and long-term goals. We are proud to hold a number of sustainability certifications that provide a definitive roadmap and framework, holding us accountable as we evolve our practices. These certifications take hard work and dedication. They allow us to see our progress, assess what is working and what isn't, and adjust our actions for the months and years to come.

Most recently, we are thrilled to have acquired certification through the Biosphere Sustainable Program. As of April 2023, we are the first hotel in the Pacific Rim Region to be certified, the first Relais & Châteaux in North America, and the second Relais & Châteaux worldwide (the first being Mas de Torrent, Spain).

Created by the Responsible Tourism Institute, the program is a comprehensive worldwide system based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and 169 goals of the United Nations, the guidelines of the Paris Climate Summit, COP 21, and the principles and objectives of the main international Summits and Charters on sustainability. Beyond the environmental factor, the program also promotes sustainable life experiences while upholding standards that provide incredible value to our guests, a secure and healthy work environment for our team members, and a lasting legacy for our families and the community as a whole. Our journey began with a commitment to an action plan and the certification was only granted following a rigorous audit of our practices.

For close to a decade, we have held a Five Key Status as a member of the Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key Eco-Rating Program. Green Key Global is a comprehensive, worldwide program delivered by the Global Sustainability Tourism Council. It employs cutting-edge technologies, policies, and programs to set an international standard for sustainable hotel operations. To achieve this highest status as a hotel that exemplifies optimal standards of environmental and social responsibility, the Inn participated in audits that evaluated an exhaustive list of our hotel operations.

Since 2016, we've undergone rigorous evaluation by the Green Tourism Certification Program, now the Sustainable Tourism Program. As the world's largest sustainability certification for tourism businesses, this certification led by Greenstep grades properties on over 80 criteria, calculating greenhouse gas emissions, electricity consumption, and hydro usage, examining both current numbers and future projections. We are pleased to have consistently achieved Gold Certification, with reassessments made every two years.

The Pointe Restaurant proudly holds Green Leader Status, attained by a green level score through the Vancouver Island Green Business Collective (VIGBC) for at least 3 consecutive years. Operating on a provincial scale, this certification leans primarily on assessing the environmental impact of an establishment. The Pointe Restaurant has been growing its score since we started working with VIGBC in 2016, achieving 46/51 points in 2022, which has placed us among the leaders on Vancouver Island in terms of Green Leader certification.

Single-use plastics make up 90% of the waste found on our beloved local beaches during regular beach clean-ups. As stewards of the environment, the Inn continues to adopt measures that divert waste which could end up in our oceans. The Ocean Friendly Business award focuses specifically on ocean protection to complement the Green Leader certification. This program involves a thorough waste audit to determine the amount of plastic going in and out of our operations, helping us reduce our footprint. Keeping in line with the Tofino bylaw banning single-use plastics, the Ocean Friendly certification has also supported us in transitioning to reusable wares and technology throughout the Inn.

A sea of sustainability certifications exist worldwide. We chose to focus on the ones that complement each other and allow us to cover a diverse range of actions while speaking to our values. These programs hold us accountable for our continued growth, allowing us to connect with peers in the sustainability field to create reference points and milestones together. As a team, we are dedicated to our efforts and look forward to continuing to learn and evolve our practices for many years to come.

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