Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #11

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 11: "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable".

Goal 11 addresses the rapid growth of urban settlements that leads to unsustainable developments. Many fast-growing cities face environmental challenges such as water and air pollution, and need to rethink their resource and waste management.                                               

In many cities, overtourism puts an additional pressure on the urban environment. Tourism establishments use resources like water and energy, take urban space and strain on urban infrastructures. Furthermore, tourists put pressure on the natural and cultural heritage of urban spaces if not managed sustainable.

How does Green Key help to achieve goal 11?

  • Sustainable transportation systems are one target of goal 11. Green Key supports the use of sustainable transportation means through various criteria (criterion 3.6, 12.2, 12.3 & 13.10)
  • Green Key awarded establishments reduce the use of resources such as water (criteria category 4) and energy (criteria category 7) to lower their pressure on the local environment. 
  • The waste management is considered to be one of the main challenges in fast growing urban settlements. The management and reduction of waste is an integral part of the Green Key programme and is embedded in many different criteria (criteria category 6)   


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