Assessment FAQ


The Blue Community Assessment is designed to assist communities or destinations in developing baseline data and developing a sustainability management plan to reduce both the ecological footprint and carbon emissions of the community or destination.The assessment is rooted in the science of the nine planetary boundaries, and includes both the one planet living principles, and blue community strategies. The one planet living strategies were developed by Bioregional headquartered in the UK. The Blue Community strategies were co-developed by the Blue Community with the Walt Disney Animal, Science and Environment Team.

The assessment also includes all the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) for destinations. GSTC is considered the gold standard for sustainability for communities and destinations. Some of the GSTC criteria are found in questions within the assessment. In such cases a link is available to the GSTC criteria to guide you into what the question is looking for to satisfy the criteria.

Other criteria are included in the completion of the online sustainability management plan. For this criteria additional information will be provided at the time the community or destination is developing is plan.

To receive Blue Community Certification the Community or Destination must not only receive a passing score on the assessment but also develop a sustainability management plan that is peer reviewed.

To assist you with the plan the Blue Community offers training, a tool kit, and other resources. We thank you for your interest in becoming a more sustainable community or destination to do your part in making a better world.

The Blue Community Consortium provides an opportunity for coastal communities, businesses, and organizations to declare their own work to protect, enhance, and restore coastal habitat and marine environments through their own sustainability efforts.

As a member of the UNWTO International Sustainable Tourism Observatory (INSTO) network, the Blue Community networks globally sharing its best practices while simultaneously learning from the best practices of other INSTO members from around the world.

Each INSTO member develops their own speciality or expertise. For the Blue Community that area is coastal habitat and marine environments and developing sustainable tourism management plans.

The Blue Community Certification is recognition that a hotel or accommodation has met the Blue Community criteria.

The Blue Community Certification is said to be one of the most comprehensive certifications in the world containing over 350 items and including the following components.

  • The hotel has developed a sustainability management plan with outcomes and indicators for all ten principles of the One Planet Living Framework

  • The hotel utilizes the Blue Community strategies for their actions in their sustainability management plan

  • The hotel meets all of the criteria set forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council

  • The hotel meets the minimum Blue Community criteria for protecting, enhancing, and restoring coastal habitat and marine environments.

  • The hotel has developed strategies or programs to mitigate the impacts defined by the science of the 9 Planetary Boundaries.

A few notes on each of the above components.

  1. The One Planet Living Framework is being used world wide and has received numerous awards. Most notably for the hospitality industry is the use in Villages Nature, France which was recognized by the UNEP as the most sustainable tourism resort in the world and who also received the World Hospitality Award for sustainability and social contributions.

  2. The 12 Blue Community strategies were co-developed with the Walt Disney Company Animal Science & Environment Team. They are strategies developed to protect, enhance, and restore coastal habitats and marine environments. They are strategies that The Walt Disney Company uses themselves that can be scalable from a small bed and breakfast to a Walt Disney World, and that have proven to be cost effective.

  3. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria was initiated through a joint effort of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Rain Forest Alliance, and the U.N. Foundation. They were joined by 37 tourism organizations that has now grown to hundreds that have adopted this global criteria. GSTC Criteria is considered the global gold standard for sustainable tourism.

  4. The Blue Community Criteria was created to give specific recognition for hotels and accommodations that were not only meeting the GSTC Criteria but were going above and beyond with specific actions to protect coastal habitat and marine environments. The criteria was developed through the International Ocean Institute Waves of Change program.

  5. The 9 Planetary Boundaries were researched and defined by a team of 25 leading scientists from around the world and coordinated through the The Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), an international centre of excellence for resilience and sustainability science. The 9 planetary boundaries are the scientific limits we need to maintain to keep the Earth in safe ecological balance. This is the science that underpins the 17 UN SDGs ( Sustainability Goals ).

Process for Blue Community Assessment

STEP ONE: Start by completing this form and please remember to "Save your Progess" after each section to insure that all of your data is recorded. You can also open the form full screen here.

🌊 It is a good idea to Submit Your Progress after each section is completed. After submitting your progress, simply visit your email (the one used inside the form) and click on the Edit Submission Link to return back to the form and then jump to the next section. You will notice that all of your previous entries will be there.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

🌊 The Assessment Form is not a short survey. The full self-audit of your destination consists of 375+ questions, representing metrics which are tracked into the future, across 17 categories.

🌊 Every section of the survey contains four levels of questioning. Required, Intermediate,Advanced, Industry Leader.

🌊 The surveys will work best in Google Chrome Browser. Firefox will be sufficient if you do not have Chrome Browser

🌊 Switching between browsers while completing the form will most likely lose all of your progress. In other words, plan to use a computer which you will have access to until the entire form is completed.

🌊 After you complete each section, you will be presented with a button to save your progress.

PDF Version of Main Assessment Form for Reference

You can use this pdf of all sections to plan your responses


What you will not see inside the PDF is a combo-question that will appear inside the form to record both a Yes/No (N/A) AND a text box which will record your comments, details and additional information. Every section also has a dedicated File Uploads question which will allow you to upload one or more documents as reference material and validation of examples presented.