Jon Proctor founded Green Tourism to become a tourism eco-label, ensuring the sustainability of destinations the world over.
What did you do before you started this business?
I’ve always been involved in environmental roles, starting my career as a country park ranger, then becoming a local authority project officer for environmental projects and working for Friends of the Earth in Manchester.
Following these roles I moved up to Shetland to set up the Shetland Environmental Agency, an environmental consultancy for the industry in Scotland and helped with the formation of an anti-pollution association called KIMO.
What inspired you to start up?
Travelling in Africa and realising that helping save the planet meant working in my home country first – this lead to myself and my partner Andrea developing and establishing Green Tourism.
Tell us about your business – what it does, who for, and what makes it work so well?
Green Tourism is the market leading sustainable certification programme in the UK, and increasingly Internationally, within hospitality and tourism sectors.
Businesses are graded by a qualified assessor against a rigorous set of criteria that cover a range of areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and social involvement and communication on a Bronze, Silver and Gold rating.
We work with around 2000 members from a variety of business types including accommodation providers, visitor attractions, activity centres and corporate offices among many others.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
We are constantly researching and investigating best practice with suppliers and government agencies however we get a lot of our inspiration and some of the best new ideas from our members who are often very innovative implementing green measures whilst improving the experience for their guests and visitors
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Becoming the world’s largest and most successful tourism eco-label. We are a private, not-for-profit organisation that is not reliant on government funding and yet we have become the go-to standard for sustainability in the UK and increasingly internationally.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
Tough, a lot of hard work, but it’s also very rewarding, we have a great team with some great ideas and its brilliant to see them steadily grow and flourish.
I am so passionate about the work we do at Green Tourism that even when I am juggling all the different aspects of my role – from managing the Technical Team to ensure we maintain technical standards to establishing new products and services and presenting talks to educate and inspire – I understand the importance of it all and it makes it all worthwhile.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I see Green Tourism being further recognised as the go-to standard for sustainability and as the sustainability label of choice for consumers around the world.
We already work across the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland and Italy and are constantly developing our services across the world to help achieve this.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t follow the money, follow your dream. Anyone can make money but no one else can make your dream come true!