In conjunction with World Environmental Day, The UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) announced this week their plans for a Mountain Protection Label. Similar to their Safety Label, the Mountain Protection Label will be designed to help consumers make more confident and informed choices.
The UIAA would like to make it easier for mountaineers and hikers to minimize their impact on the environment. To do this, the Federation plans to launch a certification scheme for tour operators and recreational organizations. The Mountain Protection Label will be awarded to those that commit themselves to following a certain level of environmental impact standards.
As the foundation for certification, the UIAA plans to use the United Nations Environment Program guidelines and check list. Certified companies and organizations will be able to participate in the governance of the new Label and contribute to protection issue discussions and research.
Mountain regions are some of the most vulnerable to impacts of tourism, climate change and global warming. The Mountain Protection Label will be designed to be an easy to use, high-value tool that enables both tour operators and and consumers to minimize their impact on these mountain areas.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, founder of Asian Trekking and President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said "The Mountain Protection Label is a very exciting idea. Currently, we are investing a lot of time communicating with potential clients to convince them of our commitment to social, cultural and environmental protection. This Label will provide operators like us a convenient and trusted way to prove of our strong commitment to mountain protection ethics."
So the next time you are planning to go on an organized climbing or hiking vacation, make sure you check to see that your chosen guiding company or organization holds the UIAA Mountain Protection Label.