Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #10

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism, guiding tourism establishments in doing their part in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. In our new feature series we will present each of the 17 SDGs and explain their connection to Green Key. 


In 2015, the UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide governments, the private sector and civil society in transforming our world into safer, fairer and more livable place.   

Sustainability lies at the heart of Green Key, which is why the programme inherently contributes to all of the 17 goals. Today, we talk about Goal 10: "Reduce inequality within and among countries".

In many developing countries, tourism is an important source of income and employment. However, these positive effects often do not reach those parts of society that would need it the most. If managed sustainably, however, tourism business can make a valuable contribution to the eradication of discrimination and inequalities. 

How does Green Key help to achieve goal 10?

  • Green Key awarded establishments ensure to Green Key that it is in compliance with international, national and local legislation and its CSR policy regarding the environment, health, safety and labour. This includes fair salaries and fair treatment without discrimination (criterion 11.1)
  • Green Key furthermore supports equality in employment (criterion 11.3)

A feeling for the sustainable details at Pensionat Stalldalen

A small Green Key village is about to emerge. Just around the corner from the Green Key restaurant Pub Stallhagen on Aland Islands, Finland, you will find the newly opened boarding house Stalldalen. In addition to the boarding house you will also find Johannas Hembakta, a bakery and café. Both Pensionat Stalldalen and Johannas Hembakta is working towards Green Key certification.

One of the driving forces behind the boarding house is Christian Ekström, who is also one of the owners of Pub Stallhagen. "The idea is that everything should be available here, an oasis in the middle of Åland. In addition to food and accommodation, a recovery clinic will also be available at the lodging house. The guests have the possibility of taking part in the MittÅland concept during the stay. This means that you can go on guided farm trips to local producers to collect ingredients. The ingredients are prepared by you with a chef or left to Pub Stallhagen so that the chefs make a meal. The guests that don’t feel like cooking can go for a tour in the small beer brewery wall to wall with the pub. Through the concept, visitors get a better understanding of the chain from farm to fork,” says Christian.

Christian has a solid network through Pub Stallhagen. The pub only uses local ingredients, and this is made possible by the fact that 84 Åland producers supply food to Pub Stallhagen, all within a 20 kilometer radius. At the same time, a unique opportunity is offered for those who want to be physically involved in farm to fork chain during the visit.

“Guests have the opportunity to be volunteers and help farmers to pick apples or harvest onions and potatoes. For the work done the volunteer receives Stalldaler. Stalldaler can be used as payment at Pub Stallhagen. The volunteering is a support for small businesses who feel they can’t hire anyone.”

In the boarding house right next to the water, which opened its doors in June, sustainability has been taken into account in every detail. The more well-known sustainable solutions, such as showers and taps with low water flow and organic bedlinen, are combined with unique crafts like the curtains and bed canopies sewn by a local seamstress. The pillows on the headboard are upcycled and sewn from fabrics from the local second hand store and the floor in the corridor is decorated with handmade, recycled rag rugs.

"The rag rug is 37 meters long. The world's longest Alandian rag rug,” Christian laughs. “The walls are painted with egg tempera instead of latex paint. We used local eggs, local and organic rapeseed oil and color pigments. 35 kg of eggs where used to the color and we only used eggs that were too small to be sold. It is very unusual to use egg tempera in such large projects as this, but there are many advantages. The color breathes better and lasts longer than the latex paint. In addition, the color is toxic free and gives a living feeling in the room as it changes shade depending on how the light from the sun falls in the room. Egg tempera is even cheaper than latex paint.”

The windows are covered with UV film to maximize heat intake from the sun in the winter and minimize heat from the sun in summer and this is combined with efficient heat recovery. The walls are decorated by local art and the rooms are accessible.

"Thinking locally and sustainably becomes a way of life. I do not even think about that it's going to be sustainable, it just gets that way. In the Pensionat Stalldalen there are 17 rooms and 4 apartments, and the basic idea has been that the decor should be timeless and work all year round. While the rooms are available to temporary guests, the apartments will mainly be for those who want to try to live on Åland. For example, newcomers can live in the apartments while looking for permanent accommodation. It’s the perfect location really, close to everything and in the middle of nature.”

World Tourism Organization approves the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics

On 15 September 2017, the member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) approved a historical document: the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics transforming the Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention, the first in the life of the Organisation.

Silverskär Bryggan på natten.jpg

The Convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development sustainable tourism, providing a framework that recommends an ethical and sustainable modus operandi, including the right to tourism, the freedom of movement for tourists and the rights of employees and professionals. 

“In an interconnected world where the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles, it is important to set out a legal framework to ensure that growth is dealt with responsibly and that it can be sustained over time. Tourism is a power that must be harnessed for the benefit of all,” said the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), Pascal Lamy.

The conversion of the Code, which was adopted in 1999, into a proper Convention represents a significant step towards ensuring that tourism development is done with full respect for sustainable development, social issues, local community development, improve understanding between cultures and addresses labour issues.

“This is a historical moment for UNWTO, said the Secretary-General”, Taleb Rifai. “The approval of the Convention is a strong legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development that we celebrate this year. It is also a strong sign that countries are committed to make tourism a force for a better future for all. It reinforces UNWTO institutional outreach in the UN system,” he added.

Additional information:

About the Draft Convention

Global Code of Ethics in the Tourism sector


UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 /

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 /

Responsible Business Action Month in Rezidor Hotel Group

September is the Responsible Business Action Month, a month when their corporate offices and hotels aim to make a positive impact on local communities where they operate


Each of the Rezidor brands rolls out programmes that create unique moments that matter to their communities. 

For Radisson Blu, it is all about water sustainability. The upper-upscale brand is piloting Blu Planet Housekeeping where a guest can forego housekeeping, and ask the hotel to make a donation to their water aid partner Just a Drop. All other Responsible Business Action Month activities from Radisson Blu will also be water related. 

Adding Color to Lives returns with four new murals, creating powerful connections with the local youth at risk of the Park Inn by Radisson hotels. The public social art projects are done with renowned street artist Joel Bergner and youth at risk in Bucharest, Riga, St. Petersburg and Stuttgart. Park Inn by Radisson hotels will reach out to their local communities, to local youth centers, and to youth at risk to participate in sports activities like a color run. They will also to invite youth to the hotel for short placements, work introductions, assistance with CV writing and really connect employees with the youth.

For Radisson RED, social innovation and the sharing economy will again be the focus. The four Radisson REDs (Brussels, Minneapolis, Campinas and the brand-new Cape Town) will connect with and support people in need with a pay forward initiative and a swishing event, a clothes and accessories swap.

Local produce and biodiversity are part of the “Care. Create. Cultivate” philosophy of Quorvus Collection. The luxury brand will concentrate on celebrating local culture and promoting local biodiversity. The G&V Royal Mile Hotel in Edinburgh will introduce honey beer to its drink collection, produced from its own honey and the team of Hormuz Grand in Oman organizes local farm visits, promoting local biodiversity.

“Our passion to make every moment matter truly shows during the Responsible Business Action Month”, said Sven Wiltink, Responsible Business Manager. “It’s the time of the year to shine, connecting our brands with our communities and doing our part to make the world a better place." 

Source: Rezidor

Talking Point: How can hotels work with refugees?

Hotels around the world, but particularly around the Mediterranean have witnessed the refugee crisis that has hit the region for the past few years. Having a seasonal need for staff, hoteliers are keen to try to engage refugees, but local restrictions often apply. So what can hotels do if they want to support refugees?

The UNHCR estimates there are 21.3 million refugees worldwide – 80% of whom are hosted by developing countries. The number of migrants entering the EU Member States is increasing rapidly, with many seeking asylum. There were 1,255,640 first time applications for asylum in EU member states in 2015, up from 562,680 in 2014. 53% of refugees worldwide came from three countries. (Syria: 4.9 million; Afghanistan: 2.7 million; Somalia: 1.1 million).

Since 2015 businesses have started to show a greater interest in this crisis, but the need still outweighs the offer of support, and in many countries, the status of refugees and whether they are allowed to work can be confusing.

In the UK refugees resettled through one of the official Government, schemes are automatically granted refugee status, allowing them to work and access mainstream services immediately. However, the situation is very different for those seeking asylum.

Asylum seekers whose applications often take more than a year may apply for permission to work – however, their opportunities are restricted to occupations identified by the Home Office as having a staff shortage.

Refused asylum seekers can apply for a limited amount of support if they would otherwise be destitute whilst waiting to return to their home country. A ‘cliff edge’ on support for both groups means refugees and trafficking survivors can face destitution, leading to homelessness and related challenges for getting into employment.

Barriers to employment for refugees and trafficking survivors can include:

  • legal status
  • poor English (or local) language skills
  • lack of relevant and accessible information, advice and guidance services
  • mental health conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • trafficking survivors – difficulty trusting employer
  • lack of recognition by UK employers of qualifications, skills and experience
  • little knowledge of the environment and culture of the UK workplace
  • a lack of UK-based work experience
  • little understanding of employment rights and responsibilities

At the same time, employers can be wary of offering employment to refugees and asylum seekers due to:

  • confusion over refugees’ legal status
  • lack of support to translate qualifications and experience for the UK workplace
  • negative media coverage
  • a perception that refugees will be resented by existing employees

Some of these issues were identified by hotelier Michael Stober in his interview for the International Tourism Partnership. The 2017 Green Hotelier Award winner in Europe made a point of employing refugees but spoke about some of the challenges he faced

People escaping desperate situations in their home country are also vulnerable to exploitation through human trafficking and modern slavery.

Modern slavery is a global issue, with an estimated 45.8 million people in modern-day slavery worldwide (Source: Global Slavery Index 2016, Walkfree Foundation). Human trafficking affects every country of the world, as countries of origin, transit or destination - or even a combination of all three.

Modern slavery is a complex crime that takes many forms. It encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Traffickers and slave drivers coerce, deceive and force individuals against their will into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Victims may be sexually exploited, forced to work for little or no pay or forced to commit criminal activities against their will. Victims are often pressured into debt bondage and are likely to be fearful of those who exploit them, who will often threaten and abuse victims and their families. These factors make it very difficult for victims to escape. (Source: HM Government Modern Slavery Strategy, November 2014).

The International Tourism Partnership has produced specific guidance for its members and the wider industry on Addressing Human Trafficking in the Hotel Industry, and YCI – the Youth Career Initiative - provides employment support for trafficking survivors internationally. Created by leading hotel companies, YCI is an award-winning employability programme offering skills training through a range of hotel departments.

The programme has successfully supported the reintegration of 101 rehabilitated survivors of human trafficking in six locations, across five countries. The programme engaged 24 hotels, training over 160 hotel managers and 77 non-profit professionals in Mexico City; Nairobi, Kenya; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Delhi and Mumbai, India; and Hanoi, Vietnam.

In the UK Ready for Work is Business in the Community’s national employment programme, which has supported more than 4,000 people to enter employment - 7% are refugees. The programme supports people facing multiple barriers to gain and sustain employment, and each year works with a number of clients identified as refugees. Though the number is unknown, there are some Ready for Work participants who have experienced trafficking and slavery, including labour exploitation and sexual exploitation.

Although in most countries there may be obstacles to employing refugees there are still a number of actions businesses can take to help improve access to employment for refugees. These might include:

  • Providing volunteers for employability sessions eg. CV workshops, job coaching
  • Providing volunteers to help with English language skills
  • Hosting work placements in your business through programmes like Ready for Work or YCI dependent on local government
  • Training recruitment managers to interpret refugees’ qualifications and experience

Learn more about how Michael Stober employed refugees at his hotel, here.

Source: Green Hotelier

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #9

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism, guiding tourism establishments to do their part in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. In our new feature series we will present each of the 17 SDGs and explain their connection to Green Key. 


In 2015, the UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide governments, the private sector and civil society in transforming our world into safer, fairer and more livable place.   

Sustainability lies at the heart of Green Key, which is why the programme inherently contributes to all of the 17 goals. Today, we talk about Goal 9: "Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation"

Sustainable development depends on innovation and technological process that help to optimise the use of resources and help to minimise the environmental impact of infrastructures. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 9?

The Green Key programme promotes innovation and sustainable infrastructure in several ways:

  • Reduction in the consumption of water, heat and energy through the use of latest technologies such as energy-saving appliances (criteria category 7), water-saving technologies and devices (criteria category 4) and proper insulation of buildings (7.12, 7.24 & 7.25)
  • Promotion of renewable energy (criterion 7.16)
  • Support of local initiatives that i.a. promote sustainable infrastructure developments (11.4)
  • Promotion of sustainable transportation like public transportation or biking (criterion 3.6, 12.2, 12.3 & 13.10 )

A document describing Green Key’s overall contribution to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be downloaded here.


Clean the World at 4,500 Hotels, 820,000 Rooms, Positions to Continue Growth

Green Key's partner, Clean the World is a nonprofit organisation based in the US. Since its launch eight years ago, it is continuing to grow with widespread support from the global hospitality industry and its suppliers

Soap reprocessing at Clean the World

Soap reprocessing at Clean the World

Clean the World’s mission is two-fold. First, it is to collect and recycle soap and hygiene products discarded every day by the hospitality industry. Second, through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people, the mission is to prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.

According to Shawn Seipler, Founder and CEO of Clean the World, there are now 4,500 hotels representing 820,000 rooms globally that donate partially used soap and amenities to Clean the World. He estimates that 16 percent of all U.S. hotel rooms are participating.

“We are experiencing a lot of momentum,” Seipler says. Clean the World now has 70 employees and recycling operations centers and/or offices in Orlando, Las Vegas, India, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Canada. “We are very focused on getting Mainland China opened up,” he says, adding that there should be offices there and in the Middle East by the end of 2018. Clean the World is in discussions with investors about additional expansion of the organization.

More Room to Grow in Orlando

Clean the World recently moved its headquarters a location near Orlando airport. "We are now at a much larger facility that allows us to bring in more volunteers and manufacture more”, Seipler says. "A soap recycling line to be donated by Guest Supply will dramatically increase Clean the World’s production capacity".

Late last year, Choice Hotels International announced a partnership with Clean the World. Choice Hotels is just one of many hotel and management companies, associations and suppliers that now partner with Clean the World. Seipler says Clean the World continues to work on adding those partnerships. Last fall, Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to Clean the World. It marked the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard. Seipler says he is in the process of finalizing similar “brand standard” types of deals with other brands. CNN’s Richard Quest reported on the Hilton commitment.

This month, Clean the World launched new Veteran Hygiene Kits. The hygiene kits are specialized for veterans and include resealable bags, two bars of new soap, bottles of re-purposed shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razor and shaving cream, comb, socks, deodorant, and inspirational note cards.

Almost 40,000 Veterans Homeless Each Night

“Many of our veterans lack the basic hygiene amenities needed to keep them safe and healthy,” Seipler says. “It is our duty to support these veterans.” There is an indefinite need for veterans to receive these necessary hygiene products. According to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night.

It was several years ago that Clean the World created Hygiene Kits for volunteers and meeting attendees to assemble. Clean the World is in the process of diversifying the kits—for women, children, emergency relief, etc. The Hygiene Kits program has been so successful that Clean the World is expanding its CSR programme offerings for groups. More details will be released soon.

As an increasing number of lodging establishments around the planet send their partially used soap and amenities for recycling, what to do with the millions of donated plastic bottles remains a challenge. Seipler says Clean the World has partnered with an engineering and science organization to figure out a way to recycle those bottles and convert that material into usable products.

For more information, contact: Pierre Daigneault, Chief Sustainability Officer, Executive Director for Canada/Europe, Clean the World Canada, 90 rue Ste-Anne, Ste- Anne de Bellevue, bureau 204, Québec, Canada H9X 1L8, web:, email: 

Eventplanner and Green Key entering into a collaboration agreement

The online event planner platform Eventplanner partnered up with Green Key to promote sustainable event venues all over the world.


Green practices are more and more capturing the event industry, helping to reduce the environmental footprint of conferences, trade fairs and other events.

Event managers now have the chance to easily identify environmentally responsible event venues by using eventplanner’s venue search engine. Venues that comply with Green Key’s sustainability criteria are highlighted on eventplanner’s websites with the Green Key logo. The integration is now live on both the Belgian and Dutch websites and will follow soon on Eventplanner’s international website., and are the largest communities for event planners in Belgium, The Netherlands and the world. Not only do they offer the search engine for event venues and organisers, but also publish news, tips and trends in the event industry.



Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #8

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism, guiding tourism establishments to do their part in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. In our new feature series we will present each of the 17 SDGs and explain their connection to Green Key. 


In 2015, the UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide governments, the private sector and civil society in transforming our world into safer, fairer and more livable place.   

Sustainability lies at the heart of Green Key, which is why the programme inherently contributes to all of the 17 goals. Today, we talk about Goal 8: "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all".

According to the UN, "increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth." In this context, sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products has been identified as one tool for achieving goal 8. The more a tourism business is integrated into the local social and economic environment, the more benefits will be generated for the whole local community. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 8?

Green Key gives a frame for the implementation of sustainable tourism as the programme helps to reduce the use of sources and to increase the environmental efficiency of tourism establishments. Furthermore, Green Key encourages the support of local economies and promotes equality and inclusiveness in working environments. 

  • Many of Green Key's criteria aim at improving the resource efficiency in consumption of water, energy, food and other resources to lower the environmental footprint of the tourism establishments
  • All establishments must be in compliance with international, national and local legislation and CSR policies regarding enviornemnt, health, safety and labour (criterion 11.1)
  • Green Key promotes equality in the work space (criterion 11.3) 
  • Establishments awarded with the Green Key are encouraged to support the local economy by purchasing and offering local products and services (criterion 8.1, 11.5, 13.7)
  • Suppliers and third-party businesses in the Green Key establishments are encouraged to follow the same spirit as the Green Key awarded establishments (criterion 13.3 &13.5)

A document describing Green Key’s overall contribution to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be downloaded here.