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Governance and New Governance Theory

Certifications and labels increase the knowledge of consumers and guests with regard to the commitment of business to sustainability, increasing their awareness towards responsible practices, and, finally, increasing their ability to distinguish between real sustainable practices and green washing (Graci & Dodds, 2015). They thus increase the credibility of certified organizations, and, consequently improve their image and reputation (Bien, 2007). Finally, certifications are an opportunity to monitor the compliance with legal requirements in the fields of environmental protection, health and safety at work, and human resource management (Chan & Wong, 2006; Arocena & Nuñez, 2009), thus reducing the risks of penalties and increasing trust with all stakeholders (Dodds & Joppe, 2005). In Italy, the Trento and Bolzano provincial authorities recently evaluated the environmental and economic impact of the adoption of the EU-Ecolabel in Trentino Alto Adige. Trentino Alto Adige has the highest number of Ecolabel certified facilities in Italy in the tourism sector (accommodation and camping). The survey was carried out between April and October 2015 and related to both certified and not certified facilities, involving more than 100 organizations. The results showed that the environmental impact of an Ecolabel facility is about 43% lower than a non-certified facility, thanks to the higher percentage of differentiated waste, the reduction in energy and freshwater consumption, and the reduction in CO2 emissions. In economic terms, this improved environmental performance has been quantified in a reduction of expenses of approximately 10.5 €/m2 (that is -21% in costs incurred by a non-Ecolabel structure).