First Green Key in Northern Ireland awarded to Lackan Cottage Farm

Lackan Cottage Farm is the first establishment in Northern Ireland to achieve Green Key due to its focus on sustainable operation  


The self-catering accommodation is located in rural Northern Ireland around one hour from Belfast. It is a self-catering cottage and the owners, Steve and Claire, live on the farm as well. Birch Cottage has been beautifully renovated using chemical-free, natural materials, sourced as locally as possible. Steve and Claire love to recycle and many of the materials have been reclaimed and given a new life. All the bedding, towels and curtains are organic and fair trade.

Steve and Claire were delighted to be awarded the first Green Key in Northern Ireland, and the only one on the island of Ireland: “Green Key appealed to us because the commitment to rigorous standards really is the highest and reflects our own commitment to environmental responsibility. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we all have to work together to make changes to our way of life if we do not want to significantly compromise ours and our children's future. This is no longer a radical viewpoint, and as a family we are committed to demonstrating how those changes might look.” 


Steve and Clair continues: “At Lackan Cottage Farm we show people that off-grid living does not mean compromising the living standards. Our guests often comment that they are inspired to take ideas that they have seen here back home with them. Because the Green Key standards are embedded in our every-day day lives here, people can see how they work in the real world, and are reassured by that."


Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Chairman Sue Christie commented:  “We are delighted to bring Green Key to Northern Ireland and to recognise the achievements in sustainability that local tourism businesses are attaining.  Lackan Cottage Farm is a flagship of what can be achieved when businesses truly embrace sustainability.  We hope to award more establishments, in all of the Green Key categories – Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc. If your establishment would like to be rewarded for your sustainability performance, get in touch and we’ll help you on the path towards an award.” 

Guests are very impressed with their stay at Lackan Cottage:  "Birch Cottage took our breath away. Such a wonderful, functioning cottage. It was great to see that this way of life can be so eco-friendly. I'm sure this place has a positive impact on everyone who stays here. Thanks for teaching us how to be better towards planet earth!". "The cottage and your off grid small holding is a credit to you both!  It just goes to show there is no reason why people can't live off grid and be self-sustainable".

The farm is powered entirely by renewable electricity, generated on site using solar and wind power. Hot water for washing and heating is powered by the sun, and by woodstoves, fuelled by timber cut in the farm’s woodlands. Water from baths and sinks is cleaned on-site, and for the adventurous, the farm provides a composting toilet as well as a rainwater flush toilet.

The kitchen and garden wastes are mixed with chicken and horse bedding and then used on the vegetable and fruit areas. The hosts have planted thousands of native trees on site, as well as an orchard. The carbon footprint of their visitors’ travel is offset by planting additional native trees every year.


You can find more information about Lackan Cottage Farm on their website. Green Key is now present with more than 3,000 establishments in 57 countries.

Green Key present at international conference for hospitality schools

During various events of AMFORHT (World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training) on 15-16 March 2019, Green Key was present and promoted the programme for hospitality school representatives


AMFORHT has a range of hospitality schools, academic institutions and various professionals in the hospitality industry as members. AMFORHT is granted a special consultative status by the United Nations. Since 2018, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE, the organisation administering the Green Key programme) has been a member of AMFORHT.

AMFORHT celebrated its 50th anniversary at World Forum event and General Assembly on 15-16 March 2019 in Paris, France. The celebration was honoured through participation of ministers from France and other countries, senior and honorary World Tourism Organization representatives, international and national hotel associations, international hotel chains as well as a number of hospitality schools and academic institutions.


The Green Key International Director, Finn Bolding Thomsen, attended the meetings representing FEE. During both the World Forum event and at the General Assembly of AMFORHT he gave presentations about FEE and the Green Key programme.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, says: “We are interested in supporting an increased learning about sustainability in hospitality schools, so that the students are aware of the environmental, socio-cultural and financial sustainability issues when subsequently getting employed in hotels and other areas of the hospitality industry.”

Finn Bolding Thomsen also presented a planned cooperation with a hospitality school in Switzerland, where FEE’s Eco-Campus programme for universities will be adapted to include hospitality schools, so that the students at hospitality schools not only can learn about sustainability as part of the curriculum but also work with it in practice by upgrading the sustainability standards at the hospitality schools in cooperation with the teachers and administrative staff.   

Finn Bolding Thomsen continues: “At the AMFORHT events, we received good support for our plans of working with hospitality schools on supporting their sustainability curriculum and try the learning in practice at the schools”.

Hostel in Belgium uses social media to reduce food waste

The Green Key awarded Hostel De Draecke in the city of Gent uses a local group on Facebook to reduce food waste


Hostel De Draecke is working with sustainability in many aspects such as recycling of furniture and waste material, and the hostel is also actively fighting to reduce food waste. The kitchen at the hostel is in charge of breakfast, lunch packages and dinners for its guests, and it carefully tries to prepare food according to the orders in order to reduce food waste, but it still happens from time to time that some bread or other food items are left unused.

As the surplus food varies from day to day, the hostel has taken an innovative solution in use: Through a local Facebook group, the hostel announces when it has surplus food, and local organisations or student groups are coming to pick up the food so that it is not wasted. If the hostel has other types of waste, such as empty and cleaned food plastic containers or glass jars, this is also advertised on the Facebook group and picked up by locals needing the material.  

One of the receivers of the surplus food waste from Hostel De Draecke is the organisation ‘Let’s save food Gent’. Filip François from the initiative explains: “Our first goal is to fight food waste and climate change because human people are destroying the earth. The fight against climate change and poverty is one fight.”


”We believe in recycling and reuse of material and left-over food to the largest extent possible, and we are happy that we found a way to ensure that surplus food is eaten by local people in need of it,” says Sara Geysels, Manager at Hostel De Draecke.


Half of all hotel rooms in Aalborg (Denmark) are eco-labelled

With the Green Key being award to Kompas Hotel in Aalborg from 2019, 50% of all hotel rooms in Aalborg are now eco-labelled


Kompas Aalborg Hotel joins the number of green hotels in the city of Aalborg (Denmark’s fourth largest city). The former sailors’ home has just been restored, and environmentally improved with a new reception area and an expansion of the number of rooms to 111.  

 The hotel joins a number of other Green Key hotels in the city, such as neighboring First Hotel AalborgComwells Hvide Hus Aalborg, which was completely restored when it was acquired, and Radisson Limfjorden which has also has been through a larger environmental upgrading.

 The four Green Key hotels have in total 651 rooms, and together with the two Nordic Swan labelled Scandic hotels in town, there are 819 eco-labelled rooms in Aalborg, equivalent to 51% of the rooms in town, or 1/3 of the hotels.

Marriott International trains 500,000 hotel workers to recognize signs of human trafficking

Marriott International has announced that, as of January 2019, it has successfully trained 500,000 hotel workers to spot the signs of human trafficking in its hotels and how to respond if they do, marking a watershed moment in the global fight against this multinational crime.


“Human trafficking is a horrific form of modern slavery that entraps millions of people around the world,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International. “By educating and empowering our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are not just standing up for the most vulnerable in society, we are also protecting associates and guests as well as living up to a core company value—serving our world.”

Marriott launched its mandatory human trafficking awareness training program for on-property staff in both managed and franchised properties in January 2017, underscoring ongoing efforts under the company’s robust sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction.

As part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Marriott reports that hundreds of thousands of associates have stepped forward to understand and stop the exploitation.

“Hotels can unfortunately be unwilling venues for this unconscionable crime—and as a global hotel company that cares about human rights, we’re proud to be training hotel workers across the Marriott system to spot the signs,” said Dr. David Rodriguez, Chief Global Human Resources Officer, Marriott International. “There is no easy fix, but combating modern-day slavery starts with awareness—and we now have a significant number of people capable of recognizing suspicious behavior and reporting it to management and, in some cases, law enforcement.”

Training Has Resulted in Rescues

Since launching the program, Marriott’s training has directly resulted in young people being removed from dangerous situations.

To develop and test its human trafficking awareness training program, Marriott spent nearly a year collaborating with ECPAT-USA and Polaris—two leading nonprofits that specialize in combating human trafficking. The company arranged for the program to be translated from English into 16 additional languages and made sure it could be taken either online or in a classroom setting, so it can be accessed and understood in the 130 countries and territories where Marriott operates. The instruction is also broken down by role because the signs that a front desk clerk sees may differ from those that a housekeeper or bartender sees.

The International Labour Organization projects that worldwide more than 40 million people are subjected to modern slavery—and UNICEF  estimates that about 25 percent of trafficking globally involves children. Polaris, which runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the United States, estimates there are hundreds of thousands of sex and forced-labor trafficking victims in the United States.

Examples of the visible and hidden warning signs that Marriott shares with its hotel staff:

  • Minimal luggage and clothing;

  • Multiple men seen being escorted one at a time to a guestroom;

  • Individuals who can’t speak freely or seem disoriented; and

  • Guests who insist on little or no housekeeping.

“Hotel workers wouldn’t necessarily see a human trafficker visibly restraining a victim; they would typically see a scenario that is much more nuanced and harder to detect if you don’t know what to look for,” said Rodriguez. “That’s why helping hotel workers identify the signs of sexual exploitation and forced labor is so important. This knowledge gives them confidence that they can do something to help, which is already having an important impact in our hotels.”

Greater Awareness Leads to Greater Responsiveness

Through Marriott’s training, hotel workers learn to observe and take notes about what they remember and then report their suspicions to a manager, who may then contact law enforcement. For their part, law enforcement officials say that this training helps enhance security in their community because greater awareness can lead to greater responsiveness both inside and outside of a hotel’s walls.

The training is having an impact far beyond Marriott International’s workforce. The company donated the training to academia and to the industry through the American Hotel & Lodging Association Education Foundation, where the proceeds of the training bought by other lodging operators go back to support ECPAT-USA and Polaris.

Guests who suspect trafficking or abuse should not confront the child or adult but should alert hotel management or security, dial 911 or their local emergency number for emergency situations. In the United States, they can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BeFree” (233733).

Hotel Hilton Belgrade joins the large network of Green Key awarded establishments

Hotel Hilton Belgrade has received the Green Key eco-certificate as the third hotel in Serbia


Hotel Hilton Belgrade now belongs to the list of establishments that have received the prestigious Green Key eco-label for hotels and other tourism facilities based on compliance with a range of criteria that demonstrate that Hilton Belgrade is active on developing itself as an environmentally friendly, sustainable and responsible business.

The Green Key programme is internationally administered by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development as the authorised organisation for implementing the FEE programmes in Serbia as a national operator.

During the design and construction of Hotel Hilton Belgrade, new technologies have been implemented that enable more rational utilization of the energy consumption. Their heating and cooling is based on geothermal systems and heat pumps, which is unique in the region. The presence of a sensor system controls a rational usage of lighting that is 100 percent implemented in newest LED technology, and by installing high quality sanitary equipment, the hotel has enabled optimal water consumption.

Nicolaas Houwert, General Manager at Hilton Belgrade says: "Obtaining Green Key certificate demonstrates the Hotel's efforts to develop environmental friendly, sustainable and responsible business."

The Green Key was presented at the ceremony in Hilton Belgrade hotel, Dr. Anđelka Mihajlov, expert and national mentor for FEE programmes in Serbia, and Aleksandra Mladenović, president of the Environmental Ambassador for Sustainable Development. The reward was received by Nicolaas Houwert, General Manager of Hotel Hilton Belgrade.


About Hilton Hotel Belgrade

Hilton Belgrade was opened 8th of March 2018. With 242 guest rooms, visitors can enjoy first class accommodation with elegantly designed stylish and spacious rooms. All rooms have floor to ceiling windows that provide natural light to illuminate the space. The hotel has 19 suites, offering extra space and luxury for larger groups or those staying for longer periods. Guests can enjoy a variety of gourmet offerings from the hotel’s various dining outlets. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Two Kings Restaurant & Bar, serves up authentic and modern Serbian cuisine. Elsewhere in the hotel, guests can enjoy exclusive views across the city at the SkyLounge Bar, where Asian platters and prime cuts of meat meet signature cocktails. The ultimate experience in relaxation is at the onsite LivingWell Health Club, with sauna, thermal baths, relaxation room and fitness room. The hotel offers an array of attractive meeting spaces, consisting of a ballroom, boardroom, courtyard and three additional rooms.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

One of the most recognized names in the industry, Hilton Hotels & Resorts stands as the stylish, forward thinking global leader in hospitality. From inaugural balls and Hollywood award galas to business events and days to remember, Hilton is where the world makes history, closes the deal, toasts special occasions and gets away from it all. The flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide continues to build upon its legacy of innovation by developing products and services to meet the needs of tomorrow's savvy global travellers while more than 144,000 Team Members shape experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected. Today, the Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes more than 540 hotels in 78 countries and the brand remains synonymous with "hotel." Access the latest Hilton news at or begin your journey at Social media users can engage with Hilton at, and Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s ten market-leading brands. 

About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 93 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,750 hotels and timeshare properties, with 615,000 rooms in 86 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®. For more information about the company, visit or connect with Hilton Worldwide at

The tourism sector in Brussels joins forces to strengthen and expand the Green Key programme in the capital of Belgium

In an event held at ‘The Hotel Brussels’ on 25 February 2019, GoodPlanet, Inter-Environnement Wallonie, and the Brussels Hotel Association announced that they are joining forces to further promote Green Key in Brussels


There are currently 239 Green Key locations in Belgium: 34 in Brussels, 69 in Wallonia and 136 in Flanders. Belgium is thereby ranked four on the list of countries with the highest number of Green Key awarded establishments.

Currently, 20% of all hotel rooms in Brussels stands out with a Green Key label, and a number of distinctive Brussels event venues and meeting places has also received the label, in collaboration with Brussels Special Venues.

To further grow the Green Key programme in Brussels, the various stakeholders have launched a new initiative to promote the label and support the Brussels candidates. In April and May, interested establishments can take part in workshops which will prepare them for acquiring the label. GoodPlanet and IEW have also developed a tool to help tourists easily find a sustainable accommodation in Belgium, so that tourists looking to travel sustainably will find Green Key locations to meet their expectations, through a search module and a map.

The new collaboration was presented in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region government, Rudi Vervoort: “Brussels is an open city which welcomes everyone and in which the quality of life is above average. My task, as Prime Minister, is to implement a policy which benefits as many people as possible, while safeguarding the well-being of the residents of Brussels."


The cooperation was launched at an event at ‘The Hotel Brussels’, a hotel in Brussels that at the same time was awarded with the Green Key certificate for the first time. The Hotel is a first-class hotel with a breath-taking view across Brussels from its height of 94 metres. The 420 rooms are furnished in streamlined, contemporary design. The location, in the upper part of the city, is ideal and allows you to undertake many tourist activities in the surrounding area.

The Hotel Brussels has taken a lot of sustainability initiatives. The hotel, for instance, decided to partially produce its own electricity, through cogeneration, saving energy in the process. They took other sustainability measures too, and were awarded the Green Key label. The Hotel intends to go a step further than simply doing business more sustainable; they want to raise awareness in their guests about the subject too.

Greenview Releases Green Lodging Trends Report 2018

SINGAPORE—Greenview has released its 106-page Green Lodging Trends Report 2018. The Report is the lodging industry’s annual exercise to assess and catalyze green innovation, best practices, and awareness regarding the state of sustainability across hotels worldwide.


The Report which is published annually highlights and summarises responses to 115 survey questions in the categories of Energy Management, Waste Management, Water Conservation, Health & Wellness, Back of House, Communications, Staff Involvement, Community Involvement, and Climate Action & Certification. The Report is supported by Green Key.

Greenview received data for 4,544 hotels across 61 countries. Of the overall data set, 2,202 properties were classified as City/Urban Hotels, 814 as Suburban Hotels, 607 as Resorts, 296 as Small Metro/Town, 258 as Airport Hotels, 211 as Convention/Conference Centers, 66 as Bed & Breakfast (B&B) Hotels and 11 as Serviced Apartments (the remainder of the properties are unidentified). A total of 2,271 properties of the data set were in Asia-Pacific, 2,127 in the Americas, and 146 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In terms of service type, 2,564 (56 percent) properties were classified as full-service properties, and 1,954 (43 percent) were classified as limited service (the remainder <1 percent properties’ service type is unidentified).

The responses do not represent the full data set, as participants were not required to answer all questions. The full data set also includes integration from other sources to augment the missing regions and hotel types. Participants received an insightful Benchmarking Report with further peer analysis by location and market segmentation across all the best practices surveyed. One of the objectives of the Report is to establish a benchmark against which one can compare one’s own property from year to year—whether that is against one’s own progress or that of other similar properties. While impossible to tell the individual stories of thousands of properties, this Report includes examples of best practices in action throughout the world.

Best Practices Examples Highlighted

The Report includes examples of best practices as well as graphs that include results broken down by region and property type. The following are examples of just some of the highlights from the Report:

  • Eighty percent said more than 90 percent of their guestrooms have occupancy sensors.

  • A total of 82.7 percent have over 75 percent of their hotels’ interior space equipped with LED light bulbs, up from 2017 (70.1 percent) and 2016 (54 percent).

  • 21.4 percent of hotels have on-site renewable energy.

  • 32.5 percent have electric vehicle charging stations installed, an increase of 6 percent since last year.

  • 53.1 percent place recycling bins in guestrooms, an increase since 2017 (43.8 percent) and 2016 (42.6 percent).

  • 58.5 percent have bulk soap and shampoo dispensers in over 90 percent of their guestrooms. This practice is more prevalent in Asia Pacific (63.2 percent) than in EMEA (39.2 percent) and the Americas (23.2 percent).

  • 69.7 percent have low-flow showerheads for over 90 percent of the guestrooms.

  • 26.1 percent capture rainwater for property use.

  • 72.4 percent target travelers who are concerned about health and wellness in their marketing.

  • 41 percent offer portable air purifiers in guestrooms upon request or in designated rooms for guests with allergies or chemical sensitivities.

  • 51.2 percent have a linen/towel reuse program in place that offers guests the option of opting out of housekeeping services altogether for one or more nights.

  • 85.8 percent have a policy that requires procurement from local suppliers. This is an increase from 2017 (82 percent) and 2016 (74.4 percent).

  • 42.5 percent grow food ingredients such as herbs or vegetables on-site.

  • 55.3 percent have a space on their hotels’ website dedicated to sharing green practices. The adoption rate for this practice has increased since 2017 (51.4 percent) and 2016 (48.2 percent).

  • Globally, 70.6 percent have a green team or sustainability management team.

  • 70.6 percent give employees the opportunity to volunteer time and services during regular working hours.

  • Globally, 8.9 percent purchase carbon offsets or renewable energy certificates.

    Source: Green Lodging News

Landal GreenParks in Germany supports electric mobility

In six out of the ten Green Key awarded holiday parks from Landal GreenParks in Germany, electric vehicles take the staff from A to B without polluting the environment.

So called “Christiania Bikes” with electric motors are used for the housekeeping in two of the ten parks in Germany

So called “Christiania Bikes” with electric motors are used for the housekeeping in two of the ten parks in Germany

Landal GreenParks is an organisation that administers 88 bungalow parks in nine countries. The main characteristic of Landal GreenParks is the open nature of the parks and its ambitious sustainability agenda. Each of the parks have their own initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment.

In Germany, six out of the ten parks are using electric vehicles for their everyday operations - especially in favour of the maintenance and housekeeping staff who has to cover quite a distance in the ample parks to get from one place to another.

All of the six parks have electric cars as well as electric carts for shorter distances.

In two of the six parks, the housekeeping staff uses electric cargo bikes as a quick and easy solution to transport all their equipment from one bungalow to another