Growing interest for Green Key in Northern Ireland

Green Key Northern Ireland organised a “breakfast briefing” in Belfast with the participation of hotels and various tourism industry stakeholders to inform about the Green Key programme

GK Northern Ireland.jpg

The Green Key programme was launched in Northern Ireland earlier in 2018. To respond to the interest for the scheme from establishments and tourism industry stakeholders, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (the organisation managing Green Key in Northern Ireland) organised a “breakfast briefing” in Belfast on 8 November 2018.

At the event, the International Director of Green Key, Finn Bolding Thomsen, presented the programme in general, the criteria and application process, promotion and best practice examples from other establishments around the world having implemented Green Key.

The CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Ian Humphreys, explained that the launch of the Green Key programme is closely connected with the growing tourism in the country, and it is important that the growth is managed in a sustainable way.


Please visit for more information.

GK Northern Ireland 2.jpg

Ocean Baskets want to make plastic straws history

Seafood restaurant chain Ocean Basket has launched ‘The Last Straw’ a national campaign in Cyprus.


The pollution of our oceans due to plastic waste has become a major topic in the media and in political discussions. Only recently, the EU banned the use of certain single-use plastic products to help the oceans recover from decades of plastic pollution.

Some businesses, like the Green Key awarded Ocean Baskets in Cyprus, are already one step ahead of the game. Since May 2018, plastic straws have been banned from all nine restaurants on the island. The restaurant chain is the first in Cyprus to launch a campaign against plastic straws. Guests are informed about the campaign though signs on the tables and posters. If a guest does not want to skip the straw, they are offered an eco-friendly alternative upon request.

Ocean Basket’s great initiative to reduce the use of plastic doesn’t stop here. All their restaurants have replaced plastic bottles with glass bottles and the styrofoam takeaway boxes have been replaced by paper boxes. Their ambition is to stop providing anything made out of plastic to their customers.

Furthermore, Ocean Basket participates in several initiatives to raise awareness about marine litter and plastic pollution. In cooperation with the Cypriot organisation running Green Key (CYMEPA) they organise beach cleanups around Cyprus with the involvement of hundreds of young students and their staff members.

In addition, together with CYMEPA, Ocean Basket have designed the “My Responsible Ocean Citizen Little Blue Book” for schools to engage children in the protection of the oceans.


Green Key's application process explained step by step in our new video!

Ever wondered how the Green Key application process works? Watch our second video and find out!

 Click on the image to open the video in a new browser window

Click on the image to open the video in a new browser window

In this video, Green Key explains the application and award process step by step. You’ll learn more about the on-site and off-site audits, the decision making process as well as the award itself.

If you have missed our introductory video about Green Key, you can watch it here

Don’t want to miss any of our new videos? Then sign up to our YouTube channel Green Key International

From farm to table at Castelli Hotel

The Castelli Hotel in Zakynthos, Greece offers their guests much more than a bed to sleep in. The hotel has its own farm just aside the building which is not only a perfect place to relax but which also offers a great variety of homegrown products for the hotel’s restaurant.

 Copyright Castelli Hotel

Copyright Castelli Hotel

The Green Key awarded Castelli Hotel in Zakynthos is bridging the “boutique feel” with sustainable practices through various initiatives. One of them is their own farm of almost 15,000 square metres right next to the hotel. On this farm they keep a small number of chickens, sheep, turkeys, pigs and rabbits and also maintain several herb and vegetable beds which are all organically grown. The organic waste that is produced in the hotel is composted in their own composting unit and just as fertilizer for the hotel’s farm and garden.

Furthermore, the hotel is surrounded by olive trees that are grown using organic methods. The olive oil produced from the hotel’s own trees is used for baking the breakfast homemade marble cake, for seasoning and for cooking.

Guests can taste the hotel’s homegrown products at the buffet and also in their award winning A La Carte restaurant “Eucalyptos”. The restaurant has dedicated its menu to old traditional recipes and the offered wines are all local. In addition, half of the pasta offered is produced by a local women’s cooperative and all dairy products are local specialties.

Castelli Hotel furthermore offers their guests the opportunity to explore and enjoy their farm at their weekly farm tour. Each October, guests are also invited to participate in the olive harvest picking activities where they learn about Zakynthos’ olive oil and get a taste of it as well.

The olive tree garden is also used for relaxing yoga classes and other outdoor activities to connect guests with nature.

Copyright Castelli Hotel

STF Lugnåsbergets Vandrarhem sets an example with its successful sustainable practices

By its outstanding commitment of guest engagement in sustainability, the STF Lugnåsbergets Vandrarhem in Sweden has taken the 3rd place in the Green Key Best Practice Competition 2018.


The hostel is devoted to show its guests that following sustainable principles is easy. Even small and local actions can help globally. The vision is to spread the sustainability message so that the guests are encouraged to apply these principles while staying at the hostel, but also at home in their daily routines.

The STF Lugnåsbergets Vandrarhem communicate their efforts through information stands, wall posters as well as through stories presented by employees. 

The hostel has a lot of focus on food quality where the restaurant kitchen provides local and organic food. In order to reduce food waste, anyone can bring remaining food back to the guest kitchen. There is also a garden outside that is available and free for all guests to gather berries and mushrooms.

Besides the small efforts in energy management such as small reminders about for instance energy saving, the STF Lugnåsbergets Vandrarhem allows its guests to use an outdoor kitchen without electricity for cooking and grilling.


In terms of transportation, the STF Lugnåsbergets Vandrarhem promotes sustainable attitude. Guests are offered to swap the car for a bike or an electric bike. There is also a great possibility to discover natural surroundings by canoes, and the hostel is happy to provide its guests with different route maps to explore the area. 

Poggio di Montedoro Agritourism, a unique Italian farm holiday experience

Poggio di Montedoro Agritourism is the first italian farm holiday establishment to receive the Green Key award due to its outstanding sustainability performance.


This special case history is part of FEE Italia’s project aimed to make a connection between the programmes “Green Key” (eco-label for tourism facilities) and “Green Spikes” (a sustainability path in the rural areas).

Poggio di Montedoro Agritourism is situated in Montefiascone Village, Lazio, in the centre of Italy. The establishment was an ancient farm with five different houses, and it has become a tourist accommodation after a restoration respecting the rural tradition and with a desire to create a well-being experience of total immersion in the beauty of the place.


Gianluca Scagnetti, the owner has opted for a sustainable management of its business in order to reduce as much as possible the impact on the beauty of the surrounding area.

The structure is equipped with both solar and photo voltaic systems that cover the property’s energy consumption.


The Green Key manager of the establishment has received a professional training in sustainable management that supports the process of spreading the right message to the staff and guests and to help to make a difference on an environmental level.

Each apartment is equipped with small information notes focused on daily best practices in order to reduce the consumption of water, energy and waste. The housekeeping staff only changes towels and sheets upon request.


Before the check-out the clients are invited to fulfill a questionnaire to evaluate the environmental performance of the establishment.

Agrotourism is a connected and complementary activity to the agricultural one. Guests can therefore taste the local food produced by the agricultural activity of the establishment.

The spa area is managed with the same environmental principles which includes waste collection, environmental friendly cleaning products, towels changed upon request, plastic-free environment and various water and energy saving procedures.

Poggio di Montedoro Agritourism is a structure that fully embraces the values in the Green Key eco-label and is therefore strongly recommended for guests that are sensitive and aware of the importance of saving the environment.

For more information about Poggio di Montedoro Agritourism, please visit

The Smell of Home Cooking in Urška Tourist Farm

The second Green Key awarded establishment in Slovenia, Urška Tourist Farm, is a family-run farm that provides a relaxing vacation in nature with focus on delicious homemade food for the guests.


Delicacies from Vilma’s kitchen at the Urška Tourist Farm are light and made by a selection of seasonal ingredients. Fruit, vegetables and herbs, as well as meat, eggs and other products are produced at the Urška Tourist Farm, so around 80% of all food is home made!

The second Slovenian Green Key small accommodation is located in Stranice Village, close to the ski resort Rogla and Spa Zreče,

Urška Guest House is a family-run farm with 5 double-bed rooms. The tourist farm also offers holidays for guests with physical impairment. One suite is prepared according to international standards for disabled persons after an emotional talk that Vilma had once with a 10-year-old daughter of a disabled person that said: “you have everything here, and my father likes this place a lot, but he has no place to sleep”.

A quarter of a century has passed in a flash since the first bite of the tourist pie was taken at Urška Tourist Farm. After taking their first steps in tourism, they listened to suggestions, found the time to travel abroad and gain experience. The name of the Urška Tourist Farm gradually became a synonym for excellent standards provided with top awards. Everything offered to guests has never been modest. Guests are welcomed by nicely furnished rooms, a pleasant environment, a table filled with delicacies and, most of all, guests will meet the whole family: Vilma and Tone with Urška and Aleš and grandma Slavka, grandpa Ivan and uncle Stana.


A taste of Cyprus

Five Green Key awarded hotels from the Louis Hotel Group in Cyprus give tourists an authentic taste of the country with the “Cyprus Breakfast” project.

 Louis Imperial Beach Hotel

Louis Imperial Beach Hotel

At the five Green Key awarded Louis hotels in Cyprus, guests can expect to find more than baked beans and uniformly cut cheese slices on their breakfast buffets. The Louis Imperial Beach Hotel, Royal Apollonia Hotel, Hilton Park Nicosia, Louis Althea Beach Hotel and TUI Family Life Nausicaa Beach all participate in the “Cyprus Breakfast” project, which promotes local gastronomy by offering a variety of Cypriot delicacies on the breakfast buffet.  

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Travel Foundation of the UK and the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative support the project, which aims to raise awareness of Cypriot products and food traditions by adding a local twist to the breakfast buffets of the participating hotels. The initiative also benefits the local economy by increasing tourists’ demand for local products.

 Royal Apollonia

Royal Apollonia

Let’s celebrate World Food Day together!

Every year on 16 October, thousands of organisations worldwide celebrate World Food Day. This is undoubtedly an occasion worth commemorating for Green Key promoting healthy and sustainable food practices.

flickr prtsc.jpg

World Food Day is connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (zero hunger) with the mission: “Our actions are our future. A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible” and Sustainable Development Goal 13 (climate action) that include the promotion of sustainable food/beverage practices.

Green Key is committed to tackling these challenges. In order to be granted a Green Key award, establishments must purchase and register an increasing number of food products that are organic, eco-labelled, fair-trade labelled and/or locally produced.

In order to lower the environmental footprint, it is also recommended for the Green Key establishments to buy seasonal, less meat products and no products from endangered species. Green Key encourages establishments to include a vegetarian or vegan alternative menu and to offer tap water to guests (where possible) instead of bottled water.

At Green Key, we join the celebration of World Food Day to encourage more people to realize the benefits of sustainable food. Lowering the environmental footprint brings us to healthier and wealthier lives and supports the eradication of hunger.