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Sustainable by nature? The case of (non)adoption of eco-certification among the nature-based tourism companies in Scandinavia

Margaryan, Lusine, Stensland, Stian
Journal of cleaner production 2017 v.162 pp. 559-567
consumers (people), demography, ecolabeling, ecotourism, females, income, lifestyle, marketing, social factors, Norway, Scandinavia, Sweden
This paper investigates the factors associated with the (non)adoption of eco-certification among the nature-based tourism companies in the Scandinavian region. Previous research suggested that the popularity of tourism eco-certification schemes remained limited in the region due to socio-cultural, historical and other specifics. We revisit this query a decade later with the support of nation-wide data from two Scandinavian countries – Norway and Sweden. The quantitative results suggest that such factors as motivations for operating a nature-based tourism business, beliefs about eco-certification effects, economic and demographic characteristics, are associated with the eco-certification adoption. Qualitative insights shed more light on the existing barriers for this sustainability approach in the region. The results suggest that companies with strong beliefs in the positive context (i.e. beliefs that eco-certification is capable to generate higher income, more customers and provide marketing advantage), lifestyle and sustainability-oriented business goals together with favorable organizational context (larger size, higher income and having a female leader) are more likely to invest in an eco-certification scheme.