Put yourself into the shoes of a plastic bag

The Green Key awarded Kamp Kovačine raises children´s environmental consciousness with interactive theatre pieces. While learning about environmental issues such as plastic pollution or the protection of species, children can express their creativity and understand their key role in protecting the environment.

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Last year, Kamp Kovačine´s Eco-Theatre was about plastics, micro plastics, clean or dirty beaches. The animators of the campsite were dressed like dolphins, flowers or birds who were threatened by a plastic bag. During the piece, children had the opportunity to save the species with the help of “decision cards” so that they could become conscious of their possibilities to repair and change the world. In reaction to this “life of a plastic bag” theatre piece, animators have seen sad and angry children wanting to save animators dressed like animals or plants. It helped the children identify with nature and perceive what it is actually going through with plastic pollution and climate change.

Changing people’s behavior about our environment is not simple. Thanks to this initiative inspired by psychology class, children start caring about what they are learning. These feelings will guide childrens´ behavior their entire life and will permit them being emotionally connected to ecology. Creating these memories now is helping them understanding that each action (or inaction) matters.

“We wanted them to feel that they are not just passive individuals to whom everything is just helplessly happening. We wanted them to feel they have to be active in order to repair, to change the world”, according to Kamp Kovačine´s quality manager, Tina Gams-Fučić

In addition to the theatre piece, the animators showed a documentary about plastic waste afterwards and invited the children and their parents to discuss the topic further. At the end, each child got a bag made of recycled material from Kamp Kovačine to start their new life as small environmental ambassadors. The Eco-Theatre was so successful that the campsite decided to repeat this activity in the following seasons.

 Kamp Kovačine´s Eco-Theatre plays a key role in involving guests in and raising their awareness about the campsite’s environmental policy. This Green Key and Blue Flag awarded establishment contributes to the prevention of climate change by educating children, showing them that they can and, most of all, have to be active for our environment. It also permits interactions between generations, as kids can talk about this theatre piece with their parents, family and friends.

Noot Nordik Kitchen leveling up the game against food waste

The restaurant Noot Nordik Kitchen in the Green Key awarded Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Gothenburg is taking the fight against food waste to another level.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

Food waste is one of the biggest challenges in hospitality industry and more and more restaurants and hotels try to level up their initiatives to reduce the amount of unused products and leftovers. The most common strategies to minimise food waste is monitoring, diligent planning of the purchases and meals as well as optimising the storage of the products to extend their shelf life.

The Noot Nordik Kitchen, however, is putting an extra effort on reducing their waste that is produced in the kitchen. They use every last piece of a vegetable or a fruit, turning carrot tops into pesto, lemon peel into both a lemon peel syrup for cocktails, a candied lemon peel for desserts and cocktails or as freshly grated flavoring to a cake. Any tops, peels, pumped corners or cut offs go in to making broths for sauces.

They use fresh, locally grown raspberries to infuse an OP Andersson Aquavit (local to Gothenburg) for their cocktails, the berries left after the infusion gets dried and crushed into a powder we use do decorate cocktails and desserts.

Bread that has gone stale become croutons. Fresh herbs that’s looking a bit sad becomes herb butter. Any ingredients left over from their daily lunches gets new life in a salad, a soup, a stew or are served as a topping on a traditional Danish Smørrebrød. In addition, “ugly” and often discarded vegetables are purchased and given a new life in their perfectly composed dishes.

Sofia Roos, restaurant manager at Noot Nordik Kitchen:

"At Noot we love every crooked carrot, every single potato and all ugly peas. They are the soul of our food philosophy. All we want is to create delicious, tasty and climate-smart dishes without crossing it too much.”

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

.Noot Nordik Kitchen does not only fight against food waste but another cornerstone of the restaurant is to buy as local and sustainable as possible. The fish is local and sustainably caught, they always favour locally grown greens and fruits and they bake their own bread and knead their on pastry for cakes and desserts. They support brewers of all sizes across the Nordic countries so that their guests can enjoy a diverse range of real ales, IPAs, APAs, lagers and stouts. On top of that, they only serve Swedish, organic sodas, there is simply no Cola-Cola in their fridges, but a local and natural Cola Blanco from Dirty Fox Water Brewery in Norrköping.

On their mission to be a front-runner in sustainability, this summer they also joint forces with “Fredagspizza”, a food concept started through the initiative Swedish Food Challenge with the aim of spreading knowledge about and increasing the use of Swedish raw materials in everyday life. Fredags.se works with consciously selected raw materials and places great focus on what we can produce where we live, more specifically in Sweden and the Nordic countries.

On July 15-20 you can visit Noot Nordik Kitchen, where they offer four variants of Swedish pizza with different topping such as lard, fresh potatoes, meatballs and air-dried elk. There are plans for a continuation for this Autumn.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen





Apitherapy and relaxation in pure nature

Green Key awarded Želinc Tourist Farm from Slovenia is offering its guests a proximity to nature, locally produced food and healing through ‘apitherapy’

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Želinc Tourist Farm is situated at the confluence of the Cerknica and Idrijca rivers, with a vast plain stretching at a distance just perfect to get away from the city noise and embark on an outdoor adventure.

The first known written records of the farm date back to the end of the 14th century. The farm was passed from one generation to another. It was basically self-sufficient, while any surplus was sold to buy fabric and sugar in particular. During World Wars I and II, the farm remained intact thanks to its strategically important military location. In 1995, the farm was renovated and a new building was built to provide for tourist activity. The tourist offer has expanded over the years, therewith changing and further complementing the image of the farm.

Urša, the present owner of the farm, states:

With the new generation of farm owners, the real estate expanded in terms of farming and tourism, and became even more connected with nature and environment. On our farm we produce fruit and vegetables without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and a large part of the food that our guests receive on our plates are produced with our hands. What we do not have, we buy mostly from neighboring farms or local shops. We care for our surrounding nature, and we regularly maintain it to keep the balance and give us the necessary raw materials for heating the house with wood. As we have our own source of water, we encourage our guests not to buy bottled water but to drink our water from the tap.

The farm has a special walking path around the property with beautiful views on surrounding hilltops, and the farm also offers a possibility for healing with beehive air and other bee products such as honey, pollen and honey liquer, called 'apitherapy'.

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Guests of the Želinc tourist farm can be accommodated in 14 different spacious rooms that fully meet the requirements of the Green Key programme.  

Urša concludes:

Because we are lucky enough to be able to live in a nature with clean air, beautiful green surroundings, and because we respect and care about our nature, we decided to acquire the Green Key eco-label, and thus demonstrate to ourselves, our guests and others that we are on the right track.

 For more information about Želinc tourist farm, please visit https://www.zelinc.com.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel awarded the Green Key eco-label

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel from Rovaniemi has been awarded the Green Key eco-label as the first private hotel in Finnish Lapland.

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Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is a family-owned hotel, located on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. The hotel provides a unique blend of luxury comfort in the heart of arctic nature, local traditions and modern Scandinavian design. In contrast to the meticulously designed accommodation and nest-like coziness, the panoramic views from the windows provide impressive spectacles of the surrounding forest and skies. Arctic TreeHouse Hotel has received a great deal of recognition and a number of awards since its opening in late 2016. and will host the upcoming World Luxury Hotel Awards in October 2019.

”We are committed to the values of sustainable tourism,” says Ilkka Länkinen, the CEO of the company. ”We want to ensure that the Rovaniemi area remains a great place to live in and visit in the future as well.”

Ecological values and the Green Key criteria have been kept in mind at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel since the very beginning of its designing and building process. The company has also invested in remarkable renewable energy sources, such as geothermal heating and solar power. The latest investment is the newly installed OptiWatti system for smart energy management that sets the temperatures of the TreeHouses according to their capacity utilization.

”We monitor the strain caused on the environment and do our best to use our resources and energy as efficiently as possible,” Länkinen explains.

The hotel personnel has gotten together on various occasions to do some good for the environment. For example, they recently spent a day planting 10,000 pine tree seedling to the arctic forests.

”Our team has had a very positive and enthusiastic attitude about all of this. We have established an in-house Green Ambassador team that supports the environmental know-how of the rest of the staff and is responsible for executing internal sustainability-related audits, thus increasing our positive hand-print,” Länkinen says.

With its exemplary actions, the hotel is also responding to the growing demand for sustainable and ethically produced services.

”Today’s tourists are more and more aware of environmental issues and make decisions based on their own set of values. We want to develop our experiences with quality as the top priority. And naturally, our aim is also to communicate the principles of resposible travel to our guests,” Länkinen states.

From left to right: Katja Ikäheimo-Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Liisa Kokkarinen (manager, regional partnerships, Visit Finland), Ilkka Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Tina Kaikkonen (hotel manager, ATHH), Pirjo Pääkkönen (Green Key ambassador, ATHH)

From left to right: Katja Ikäheimo-Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Liisa Kokkarinen (manager, regional partnerships, Visit Finland), Ilkka Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Tina Kaikkonen (hotel manager, ATHH), Pirjo Pääkkönen (Green Key ambassador, ATHH)

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel wishes to encourage other local tourism operators to familiarize themselves with the the Green Key programme as well.

”The programme is very comprehensive and clear. It would be great to have even more Green Key certified businesses in Lapland. It would be a way for us all to work together for sustainable development,” Länkinen comments.

Apollo makes the charter holiday greener

Charter is not exactly known to be an environmental-friendly way of travelling, but Apollo Rejser, who offers charter holidays in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, tries their best to encourage all their collaborators and travellers to think green(-er).

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Electrical cars, local produce and less disposable plastic are only a few of those initiatives that have been done by hotels and resorts in the Apollo catalogue over the past few years.

Apollo have been front-runners in the Nordics when it comes to more sustainable and environmental-friendly charter travels and, at the moment, they offer 84 Green Key hotels to their travellers.

Apollo are, in general, working towards being a more environmental-friendly travel option in the Nordics, and Green Key is only one of the certifications that they have as they believe in making a difference when it comes to an industry that is not very green in itself.

“Although only few guests ask for a greener and more environmental option when they are looking for a hotel for their holiday, we believe that it’s our duty to focus on sustainability and environmental friendly tourism when we can. The guests don’t even have to know that they booked a more sustainable hotel as long as we’re doing our best to make a difference,” says Glenn Bisgaard from Apollo Rejser in Denmark.

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Green Key has entered an agreement with DER Touristik Nordic (Apollo Rejser) and Green Key is regularly sending the updated list of Green Key awarded establishments to Apollo Rejser.

Have your say on the future of the Green Key programme

Green Key launches the review revision of the Green Key criteria for 2021-2025 and all interested stakeholders and individuals are encouraged to give suggestions for the new criteria.

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Green Key is launching a consultation for the development of the new Green Key criteria and explanatory notes to take effect from 1 January 2021. We have launched this review process internally among Green Key National Operators, awarded establishments and Green Key’s main partners. In order to continue to strengthen our programme, we would also welcome input from other stakeholders who have an interest in the Green Key programme.

Green Key has criteria and explanatory notes in six categories: hotels & hostels, campsites & holiday parks, small accommodations, conference centres, restaurants and attractions. On the Green Key website, you can download the current criteria and explanatory notes for the six categories: https://www.greenkey.global/criteria.

If you have any suggestions for the new criteria or changes to the current criteria, please do not hesitate to present your ideas to us. Please note: We will need to know your name, organisation/company, e-mail address, criteria category, criteria section, and suggestions for new/changed criteria, suggestions for explanatory notes and suggestions for whether the criterion should be imperative or a guideline.

You can find the link to present your suggestions here: https://podio.com/webforms/22982796/1633630.

We look forward to hearing from you before our deadline of 1 September 2019.

Green Key presented at an international hospitality conference

The FORO international hospitality conference took place on 7 June 2019 in Bucharest (the capital of Romania) with the active participation of Green Key.

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The international tourism event, FORO (International Forum for Reputation in Hospitality), was created and organised by a well-known communication agency in Romania, and it took place at Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest, a Green Key awarded establishment.

Around 300 people attended the one-day event. After the opening ceremony, FORO was split into two parallel sessions: one regarding restaurants and the other about the hotel industry. The Green Key programme was represented in the hotel industry session by Razvan Dinca, the Romanian National Operator of the programme and Mihai Iliescu, the Green Key auditor in Romania. Razvan Dinca gave a presentation about the history, the characteristics, the criteria, the international and national development of Green Key and, together with other speakers that were present on the stage, formulated an opinion about how the reputation of the hotels on international level can be empowered or improved, e.g. through the work with sustainability.

The event, now at the second edition, was a real success and was well featured in the Romanian media.

Radisson Hotel Group’s 2018 sustainability achievements

Radisson Hotel Group has released its 2018 sustainability report outlining its sustainability efforts with a page allocated to the work with Green Key and other eco-labels.

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In March 2018, Rezidor Hotel Group changed to Radisson Hotel Group with a new brand architecture. As part of that transformation, Radisson outlined their common vision, the beliefs and the behaviours that they are committed to. Radisson has decided on its 2022 targets that define how they care for their people, the communities and the planet.

By the end of 2018, 80% of the Radisson hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa have an eco-label with Green Key being the biggest eco-label partner of Radisson Hotel Group.

Once again, the hotels in the Radisson Hotel Group were engaged in the annual Community Action Month in June, this time dedicated to SOS Children’s Villages (an organisation that provides food, shelter and a brighter future for at-risk children). Throughout 2018, the hotel teams have engaged passionately with their communities and contributed a total of €1 million in cash and in-kind, as well as dedicating more than 29,000 hours of volunteering time to local people and organisations.

In response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UK Modern Slavery Act, Radisson Hotel Group continues to support human rights, business ethics, and diversity in all their hotels globally.

In addition to the internal company-wide initiatives, Radisson Hotel Group work together with the wider travel and hospitality industry, participating in significant collaborative initiatives, such as the UN Global Compact and the UN CEO Water Mandate. Furthermore, as a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), Radisson has built on its global commitment to focus on carbon, water, youth employment and human rights.

Radisson Hotel Group has created an overview of its Radisson’s Responsible Business programme outlining their main achievements:

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The partnership between Green Key and Radisson Hotel Group is again this year highlighted in the Responsible Business Report, where a page is allocated to the hotel chain’s cooperation with eco-labels. By the end of 2018, 80% of the Radisson hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa have an eco-label with Green Key being the biggest eco-label partner of Radisson Hotel Group.

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The full Responsible Business Report 2018 of the Radisson Hotel Group can be downloaded HERE.

Villa Thomas - a bike-friendly Italian guesthouse

Villa Thomas is the first Italian guesthouse to have received Green Key award for its focus on being a “bike-friendly” establishment and other environmental and awareness activities

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Villa Thomas is a family-managed guesthouse located in the town of Imperia by the Ligurian coast in Italy. Villa Thomas has been awarded with the Green Key due to its care and protection of the environment (including its energy efficient standards) as well as the promotion of sustainable transportation and local products.

Guests are informed of environmental procedures upon arrival (check-in) and through communications placed in the rooms. The separate waste collection manual is for instance available in four different languages to facilitate the understanding of all guests: Italian, English, French, German. The high level of energy performance is evident from the latest technology appliances usage that guarantees both minimum environmental impact and reduction of wasted water.

Tourists who are choosing the bicycling holiday experience are constantly increasing, and, in order to satisfy this trend, Villa Thomas has decided to be a "bike friendly" establishment. Each guest can use bicycles - basic models or professional ones - made available by property. It is the most environmentally friendly way to visit the city.

Thomas, the young entrepreneur managing the guesthouse, has happily decided to accept the sustainability challenge and embrace the Green Key programme for the guesthouse.

For more information about Villa Thomas, please visit https://villathomas.eu.

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