The ECO certification is the national scheme for ensuring the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural sustainability of hotels and farmhouses on the Maltese Islands and has been recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council as fully reflecting the GSTC criteria.
The scheme was launched by the Malta Tourism Authority in 2002. The criteria were updated in 2008, 2012 and again in 2019. GSTC fully recognised the updated criteria meaning that the new sustainable tourism criteria were reviewed by the Council's technical experts and Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC criteria for sustainable tourism.
The new criteria follow a shift from an environmental scheme to a sustainable scheme covering environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality and health & safety. Third party audits are carried out every two years to ensure that hotels and farmhouses are meeting the requirements of the scheme.
The following are the main areas covered by the current criteria:
- Sustainability management system
- Waste management
- Control of chemicals
- Air quality
- Building and green areas
- Local culture & natural surroundings
- Communication with customers