Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #5

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 5: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".

According to the UN, "Gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms."

Although women make up the majority of the workforce in tourism in most parts of the world, they are mainly employed in low-paid jobs and in those with a lower status, such as housekeeping. Furthermore, many women are engaged in unpaid work for family businesses, which excludes them from formal employment and the possibility to develop a professional career. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 5?

In 2016, Green Key expanded its criteria with a new section called "Corporate Social Responsibility" to make sure that the programme does not only consider environmental issues but also social responsibility.

Criterion 11.3 explicitly encourages awarded sites to be equitable in hiring women in all positions.

Furthermore, it is imperative for all Green Key awarded establishments, e.g. as part of their CSR policy, that their employees receive fair treatment without discrimination (criterion 11.1). 

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

 

Hormuz Grand Hotel first Green Key awarded Quorvus Hotel

The Hormuz Grand Hotel in Muscat, Oman is the first hotel in Carlson Rezidor's Quorvus Collection to receive the Green Key award. 

The luxury boutique hotel is located close to the city centre of Oman's capital Muscat, surrounded by the Muscat mountains. The establishment received the prestigious Green Key award due to its excellent environmental performance that has been confirmed during the Green Key on-site audit. 

To name a few of Hormuz Grand Hotel's outstanding environmental and social activities, the hotel is working in close cooperation with small-scale suppliers that produce local products such as halwa, dates and honey. One objective for 2017 is to organise a cleanup day in the adjacent valley. In addition, the hotel is a supporter of the Earth Hour which takes place every year in March encouraging people to switch off non-essential electric lights for one hour to save energy. 

The Quorvus Collection is a luxury brand of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group which focuses on a distinguished guest experience that is enriched with characteristic elements of the local culture of each property. 

You can read more about the Hormuz Grand Hotel here

 

 

Finnish Sokos Hotels recycle thousands of furniture

Sokos Hotels that has already 35 Green Key certified hotels in Finland take their environmental work seriously. They have recently done impressive environmental work when renovating their establishments, at the same time spreading good will by donating the replaced goods.

In Original Sokos Hotel President that lies in Helsinki city center thousands of furniture are replaced when giving the hotel a refreshed look. The old furniture will get a new life in multiple ways: Some of them have been reupholstered to fit the hotel´s new look. Some have been relocated to staff premises. Beds, blankets, pillows, curtains and night tables in turn get to continue their lives with a help of a Finnish company named Freshrent.

Freshrent cleanses and renovates the old materials. Some of the materials are good enough to be sold to private homes, smaller hotels and festivity premises. There are also temporary houses for construction workers as well as reception centers furnished with the old hotel beds.

Often hundreds of beds can be replaced when renovating a hotel. These beds might end up in a landfill but Freshrent gives it´s all to keep the stuff away from the landfills: If a bed is not suitable for use anymore it will be put into pieces that are recycled. Caring about the nature is a trend but Festrent also has plenty of customers that highly value the good quality of durable old hotel beds, states their CEO Juha Mäkinen.

Recycling furniture to fight social exclusion

Renovated Original Sokos Hotel Puijonsarvi at the city of Kuopio in turn donated their old goods to local work training foundation, Tukeva. The foundation gives workshops where the goods are renovated and then sold in foundation´s shops. The earnings from the shops are used to support socially exclusioned young people and long term unemployed.

Also, Original Sokos Hotel Alexandra in Jyväskylä donated some of their beds to help prevent social exclusion and help the long term unemployed, however, also the animals got their share of good will: Bedsheets were donated to vet clinics and to a local agility association.  

Responsible business is made of everyday choices

Reusing and recycling as part of everyday work is a fundamental part of Green Key work and an important part of responsible hotel business. Sokos Hotels chain is working hard to have all their remaining few hotels Green Key certified by the end of the year 2017.

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #4

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 4: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

According to the UN, poor education and equity issues in regard to the access to education facilities and vocational training are problems that still need to be solved worldwide. Furthermore, Goal 4 explicitly addresses the need for education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 4?

Although Green Key is not a mere educational programme, it does have a strong educative component that promotes education for sustainable development. In addition, Green Key promotes equal access to employment though its CSR criteria. Many Green Key awarded sites like the Park Inn by Radisson Leuven or the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in Prague have special training programmes for disadvantaged social groups that help them to gain skills in the hospitality sector and to get an employment. 

Let's have a closer look at the criteria that support Goal 4:

  • Green Key awarded sites have to establish active collaboration with relevant stakeholders to support the local community. This includes for example local schools or other educational institutions. ( criterion 1.6)
  • Sustainability education within the establishment is ensured through regular staff training on environmental and other sustainability issues. ( criterion 2.3)
  • In addition, Green Key awarded establishments have to inform their guests about its environmental initiatives and encourage them to support their work by taking more sustainable decisions during their stay. The support can involve issues of environmental management (e.g. water, energy and waste saving), but can also focus on issues related to social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues (for instance support to social charities). (criterion 3.4) 
  • Awarded establishments are also asked to be equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions to give everyone equal access to vocational training and employment. (criterion 11.3)
  • To increase the sustainability awareness of the guests, staff and nearby community, the establishments are encouraged to provide activities for raising awareness focused on sustainable development, environment and nature in or around the premises. (criterion 12.4)
  • Furthermore, Green Key awarded establishments are encouraged to inform third party operated businesses on their premises as well as suppliers about their environmental committment. (criterion 13.2&13.5)

 

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

 

Green Key on board of Brussels Airlines!

In July, travellers can read about Green Key in Brussels Airlines inflight magazine b.inspired.

Each month, the supplement of the Brussels Airlines inflight magazine b.inspired highlights one specific business topic. This July, the focus lies on sustainable development. Green Key contributed to the special edition with an article about its work on sustainable development in the tourism industry.  

The magazine is available on all Brussels Airline flights in Europe (60 destinations) and on flights to Africa (20 destinations) and North America (NYC, Washington, Toronto). Additionally, the magazine is available in several five star hotels in Brussels and in the airport lounges at Brussels airport. 

If you don't have the chance to read our article above the clouds, you can get your digital copy of the b.inspired magazine here. Green Key is featured on page 76. Enjoy!

Brussels Airlines magazine.jpg

 

 

 

Drinkable Air® and Green Key entering a collaboration agreement

Drinkable Air, Inc. is a US based Emerging Growth Technology Company that designs, manufactures, assembles and distributes Atmospheric Water Generators ("AWG's").  

The AWGs of Drinkable Air, Inc. create an unlimited supply of pure drinking water from "the moisture in the air". The purity, freshness, and taste of the water produced are superior to expensive bottled water options with the cost savings easily demonstrated.  Drinkable Air products are now in 38 countries. 

Today the company offers seven scalable (from 10 litres to 15,000 litres of water per day) products that can extract humidity from the atmosphere.

The technology utilizes the principals of condensation (the same way nature creates rain) to create water where there is no water.  These units do not require plumbing or piping. The water is produced, stored and purified by a patented EnviroGuard™ ozonation process maintaining  thewater free of bacteria, viruses and impurities and has a superior alkaline value. Water is then dispensed from the units to the end user as needed.

In addition to the production of drinking water, the Drinkable Air® units in hotels also act as an air purifier and dehumidifier which creates an environment where heating, ventilation and air-condition (HVAC) units operate more efficiently.

Drinkable Air® technology saves fresh water resources and are especially well suited in hot and humid locales with a shortage of water.

Green Key is very happy to enter the agreement with Drinkable Air® as these products support a lower environmental footprint by reducing water consumption from other sources and minimising the production of plastic water bottles with the subsequent reduction in waste management from used plastic bottles.  AWGs make the water on location minimizing both transportation expense and the carbon footprint transportation creates.

More information about Drinkable Air® can be found on their website: www.drinkableair.com.

Radisson Blu wins IMEX Sustainability Award

Blu Planet, the responsible business programme of Radisson Blu hotels has been named winner of the 2017 IMEX-GMIC Innovation in Sustainability Award

Inge Huijbrechts receives the IMEX Award

Inge Huijbrechts receives the IMEX Award

The IMEX-GMIC award celebrates inspiring brands that drive sustainability forward through innovation, collaboration and idea sharing.

The IMEX Awards programme was developed to recognise individuals and companies who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the meetings and incentive travel industry.

The IMEX Green Awards, jointly run with GMIC (Green Meeting Industry Council), supports IMEX's environmental initiatives with four awards specifically developed to reward and promote environmental awareness and corporate social responsibility. The Awards are presented annually at the IMEX Gala Dinner in Frankfurt.

Receiving the award Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President of Responsible Business for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said, “We are determined to help protect the Earth’s priceless water supply. We launched Blu Planet to conserve water and help bring safe drinking water and sanitation to communities in need. Blu Planet is a key pillar of our group’s Responsible Business programme and our hotels’ contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal number 6. Winning the IMEX-GMIC award is a great recognition of our hotels’ engagement and our partnership with Just a Drop.”

The Blu Planet initiative includes:

  • Towel replacement programme in support of Just a Drop
  • Soap for Hope recycling initiative with Sealed Air
  • Radisson Blu’s signature water-light Super Breakfast
  • All natural bathroom amenities by THIS WORKS
  • A continued focus to have all hotels eco-labelled and minimize Carlson Rezidor hotels’ water footprint

“Water covers 71% of Earth, but only 1% of it is actually potable,” says Huijbrechts. “Experts predict that, by 2025, more than half the world’s population will become vulnerable due to safe water scarcity. The tourism and hospitality sectors consume substantial amounts of water. Radisson Blu and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group are extremely mindful and have reduced their water consumption by 29% since 2007. The company’s ambition is to reduce litres consumed per guest, per night by another 10% by the end of 2020, without compromising guest experience or comfort.”

Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts has encouraged its guests to reuse close to 2 million towels since the launch of a new towel replacement programme in 2015, in partnership with Just a Drop. The programme aims to provide clean drinking water for life for more than 10,000 children in India, Kenya and Peru. Radisson Blu has also helped recycle and distribute an estimated 66 tons of soap waste in support of Soap for Hope, giving free soap to communities, creating local entrepreneurs, bringing jobs to the community, and helping hotels reduce waste through recycling.

Today, more than 450 Carlson Rezidor Hotels & Resorts worldwide have eco-labels, signalling the brand’s commitment to work on saving water, using fewer chemical products and supporting community-based projects in water stressed areas.

“According to UNICEF, no single intervention is more likely to reduce global poverty than the provision of safe water, and Radisson Blu is proud to positively contribute to this global commitment,” said Huijbrechts.  

Åland Maritime Museum preserves for the future with Green Key

The Åland Maritime Museum Trust is a charitable trust, operating the Åland Maritime Museum and the four masted steel barque Pommern. Over the last couple of years, the trust has been awarded the Visit Ålands Tourism Prize and the Museum of the Year in Finland. The museum is the first attraction on the Åland Islands that has decided to start their work towards Green Key certification. The decision to initiate work with the Green Key criteria was not a hard one.


"During a conversation with Hanna, director of the Åland Maritime Museum Trust, I suggested that we should work towards an environmental certification and Hanna immediately felt that it was a good idea. The reason why we chose the Green Key program is that it is so comprehensive and the criteria can be adapted into our own operations", says Madeleine Caldén, environmental manager at Åland Maritime Museum Trust.

Striving for preservation is striving for environmental values in the museums operation. "In line with our initiation to start our work with Green Key, we captured this opportunity to evaluate our purchases and routines within several areas. Luckily, environmental work often goes hand in hand with preserving. Gentle care is often required when preserving objects and that means that we for example don’t use any chemicals unless it is necessary." 

The aim of Åland Maritime Museum Trust is to pass on knowledge about the tangible and intangible maritime cultural heritage. This might bring history to mind before the future, but Madeleine states that one thing requires the other. "The Trust’s purpose is to care for and pass on knowledge about the cultural heritage of Åland, but for that to happen there must be someone to pass it on to. With thoughts about the future it feels self-evident that we also need to do our part and do what we can to preserve nature and the environment." 

The museum is appropriate for all ages. The younger visitors can go on an adventure with the ship’s rat Ruby and peek into small rat holes in the floor. This spring opened also a new play environment for children. The playroom has gone through extensive reconstruction and since April 2017 it was called 'Ruby and the ocean'. The playroom will be a place for free play, for discoveries and research and of course environmental education. 

The museum is constantly developing and this summer, the visitors will have the possibility to enjoy some coffee and biscuits. "Some small refreshments, like coffee, tea and biscuits will be sold in a little café. It feels much nicer with a café in comparison to the coffee machine that we have today, and a café is also something that the visitors have requested. At the same time, we are discussing how we can adapt the Green Key criteria to the café already from the start. We will use real cups and spoons instead of disposables and some of the assortment will be locally produced or organic", concludes Madeleine Caldén.

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #3

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 3: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". 

According to the UN, Goal 3 "seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The Goal addresses all major health priorities, including reproductive, maternal and child health; communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines. It also calls for more research and development, increased health financing, and strengthened capacity of all countries in health risk reduction and management."

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 3?

Green Key's criteria promote the health and well-being of the staff of the establishments, but especially helps to indirectly achieve target 3.9 which addresses death and illnesses due to environmental pollution: 

  • All Green Key awarded establishments have to treat their waste water to ensure that it does not enter into the sea or the groundwater body. (criterion 4.9) 
  • The use of hazardous chemicals must be kept at a minimum in awarded establishments. This especially applies to cleaning products. Green Key has its own blacklist of hazardous compounds that must not be found in these daily cleaning products. Disinfection substances may only be used in limited amounts, and it is also recommended to avoid fragranced products  (criterion 5.2, 5.3 & 5.8)
  • In addition, Green Key has strict criteria on the storage and transport of hazardous chemicals and waste in general (criterion 6.7 & 6.8)
  • Green Key expects a well-organised waste management from its awarded establishments to prevent environmental pollution (criterion 6.1-6.4)
  • Because CFCs contribute to ozone depletion,  pumps and refrigeration plants that use CFC or HCFC refrigerants are not allowed in Green Key awarded establishments (criterion 6.5)
  • Green Key promotes a smoke-free environment. At least 75% of the rooms in an awarded establishment have to be smoke free, and restaurants should be non-smoking or at least have a non-smoking section. (criterion 9.1 & 9.2)
  • If the awarded establishments are refurbishing their premises, Green Key also recommends to use environmentally friendly products such as paints e.g. (criterion 9.4)
  • In the garden areas of awarded establishments, it is not allowed to use chemical pesticides or fertilisers that could harm the environment. (criterion 10.1)
  • Concerning the health and well-being of the employees, Green Key expects that the establishments are in compliance with international, national and local legislation and its CSR policies regarding environment, health, safety and labour. (criteria 11.1)

 

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