Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #16

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 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 a 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 16: "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels".

Green Key is a programme that promotes just and inclusive societies through cooperation and awareness raising. It encourages inclusiveness and collaboration between stakeholders from different sectors at local, national, and international level as well as equitability in employment, engagement with minorities, local communities and entrepreneurs, as well as dialogue and consent of nearby indigenous and local communities. 

How does Green Key help to achieve goal 16?

  • All awarded establishment must be in compliance with international, national and local legislation regarding the environment, health, safety and labour. This includes, among others, fair and safe working conditions (criterion 11.1)
  • Green Key encourages tourism establishment to provide access for people with special needs to broaden the inclusiveness of the business (criterion 11.2)
  • Awarded establishments should be equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions, while restraining from child labour (criterion 11.3)
  • To support an inclusive society, Green Key awarded establishments are encouraged to support initiatives for social community development including, among others, education, health, sanitation and infrastructure (criterion 11.4)
  • To prevent conflicts between indigenous and local communities and tourists, awarded establishments should produce a code of conduct for activities in respective communities, with the consent of and in collaboration with the communities themselves (criterion 11.6)

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