C.RE.ST.A. project

"Can the tourist industry respect the natural environment?" This is the question that the project "Environmental Management System for the Regina Margherita Refuge", undertaken following an agreement between Turin University and the C.A.I. (Club Alpino Italiano), addresses. The project lasting from1998 through to 2000 was run by Professor Riccardo Beltramo and backed by the Department of Commodity Science at Turin University.

But what is meant by an Environmental Management System? As well as techno-scientific notions and terminology, the idea is based on the environmental management (usually applied to the manufacturing industry) of organisational structure enabling managers to overcome or avoid the many complex situations resulting from interactions between a business and its surrounding environment.

The importance of having instruments of analysis and implementation to encourage a sustainable use of resources has only recently been recognised by the service and high value added service industries.

The same developments can be seen in the EU's environmental policy. Recent European legislation that regulate the environment, following the Fifth Programme for the Environment, covers many sections of the economy and foresees the instruments necessary to ensure environmentally sustainable development.

The D.G. XI has recognised the importance of and started to apply specific measurements to the tourist industry. The environmental impact resulting from the building and running of accommodation structures, the presence of tourists and the management of their mobility, draws a lot of attention today, as compared to the past.

The project starts with the idea that environmental pressure is not just due to the manufacturing industry. As tourism can also have a negative impact management instruments need to be adopted that can combine business with environmental quality, these can also produce increasing levels of efficiency.

A large number of alpinists and excursionists visit the Regina Margherita Refuge (3200 people in 1997) and inevitably their presence and use of the Refuge's amenities have a considerable impact on the surrounding environment. In the past, these impacts have been the cause of worry and even strong reactions by environmentalists (Mountain Wilderness).

The research's main object was to create a "tailor made" Environmental Management System for the Regina Margherita Refuge. The choice of this refuge was not random but due to several factors that made it the perfect place to create and later to implement a management system that respects the environment.


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