Benefits of our ecolabel

There are plenty of tourism ecolabels in the world, each of them awarding tourism establishments in a different manner and on the basis of different criteria. On this page, you will discover what makes Green Key one of the leading ecolabels in tourism. 

 

High quality ecolabel with high standards

Just like in your establishment, quality comes first in the Green Key programme. In ecolabelling, quality is defined by the transparency of the programme, regular on-site audits conducted by well-trained Green Key auditors and third-party verification. Green Key fulfils all these requirements. Both the Green Key criteria and the award process are available on our website, meaning that everyone can understand how and why an establishment has been awarded. The criteria of the Green Key programme are recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. All Green Key awarded establishments receive regular on-site audits conducted by well-trained Green Key auditors.

Non-profit driven

Green Key is managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education which is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. As the programme is non-profit-making, the participation costs are comparably low. 

Dialogue-based programme with 20 years of experience

Going green and implementing sustainability from the bottom to the top of your establishment is not an easy task. Green Key acknowledges that no establishment is like another and that different businesses face different struggles when it comes to sustainability. Therefore, our programme offers support all the way through, from the application to the award. Developed in 1994, Green Key already has over 20 years of experience in the field of tourism ecolabelling, with an extensive knowledge base that is shared with applicant and awarded establishments.

International ecolabel with national support

Green Key has over 2700 awarded establishments in 56 countries, which makes it one of the most geographically widespread tourism ecolabels in the world. In 40 countries, national Green Key operators are responsible for the management of the programme, which means that you receive support in your own language. Most importantly, our national operators understand the national context and can give you advice with due consideration for national legislation, customs and practices. Find your national operator here.

Multi-stakeholder programme

Green Key was founded by the tourism and hospitality industry but is now managed by a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). This means that we understand the situation at the applicant/awarded establishments but that the programme maintains its independency from the tourism and hospitality industry  The International Steering Committee, which is the political body behind the programme, is composed of the founders of the programme, representing the tourism and hospitality industry, and of representatives from the Foundation for Environmental Education. In most countries, Green Key national juries which consist of representatives from different ministries, NGOs, and the tourism and hospitality sector make the decision on the awards. In this way,it is ensured that the programme is not driven by one single entity but involves multiple stakeholders. 

Internationally recognised by high-profile entities

Our programme has been recognised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and UN UN Environment (UNEP), and the Green Key criteria are recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. In addition, Green Key is working in close cooperation with the University of Surrey from United Kingdom to receive scientific-based support. 

Promoting your success story

At Green Key, we really appreciate your efforts to become greener and more sustainable, and we are proud of each tourism establishment that achieves the award. Therefore, we are happy to promote your establishment by publishing best practice stories on our social media and website and newsletter. You are also welcome to participate in the Green Key Best Practice Competition which gives you the chance to become our Sustainability Champion of the year! Green Key awarded establishments contained in the database of different Online Travel Agencies also benefit from Green Key's cooperation with them, as a reference to the Green Key award will automatically be added to the establishment's entry on the platform.