Green Key History
Green Key is a voluntary eco-label for tourism facilities that promotes sustainable tourism and aims to contribute to the prevention of climate change by awarding and advocating facilities with positive environmental initiatives. Green Key began in Denmark in 1994 and was adopted by FEE in 2002 to become its fifth international Programme. It has since spread to more than 40 countries and continues to grow in numbers and spread across the world.
Green Key educates and empowers tourism actors, including enterprises, authorities, guests, and local communities to change unsustainable behaviours and become importantly involved in the protection of their environment.
Tourism facilities awarded a Green Key adhere to national or international Green Key criteria. The criteria have been designed to be easily understood by tourists, feasible for the tourism industry, and clearly verifiable through control checks.
International criteria reflect the various fields of tourism facilities (hotels, hostels, camp sites, conference and holiday centres) and specialized national criteria reflect each country’s legislation, infrastructure and culture.
The criteria focus on environmental management, technical demands, and initiatives for the involvement of guests, staff and suppliers. Some of the categories covered are: Water, Waste, Energy, Involvement and Awareness of Guests, Environmental Management, Staff Involvement, Use of Chemicals, Open Spaces, and Food and Beverages.
Green Key establishments report many benefits such as savings on water, energy and waste; a noticeably better environment for guests and staff; a better environmental image; marketing advantages; and increased activity and sales.
Additionally, member programs have access to Green Key management tools and services, which many consider to be one of the top benefits. Each country involved in the Programme has a national operator. An international website has been created as a tool for national operators, applicant companies and the public. International meetings take place regularly to answer national operators’ questions and needs, and to assure international coherence and standards among Green Key member organisations. The award is granted for one year at a time.