Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #3

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 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 3: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". 

According to the UN, Goal 3 "seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The Goal addresses all major health priorities, including reproductive, maternal and child health; communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines. It also calls for more research and development, increased health financing, and strengthened capacity of all countries in health risk reduction and management."

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 3?

Green Key's criteria promote the health and well-being of the staff of the establishments, but especially helps to indirectly achieve target 3.9 which addresses death and illnesses due to environmental pollution: 

  • All Green Key awarded establishments have to treat their waste water to ensure that it does not enter into the sea or the groundwater body. (criterion 4.9) 
  • The use of hazardous chemicals must be kept at a minimum in awarded establishments. This especially applies to cleaning products. Green Key has its own blacklist of hazardous compounds that must not be found in these daily cleaning products. Disinfection substances may only be used in limited amounts, and it is also recommended to avoid fragranced products  (criterion 5.2, 5.3 & 5.8)
  • In addition, Green Key has strict criteria on the storage and transport of hazardous chemicals and waste in general (criterion 6.7 & 6.8)
  • Green Key expects a well-organised waste management from its awarded establishments to prevent environmental pollution (criterion 6.1-6.4)
  • Because CFCs contribute to ozone depletion,  pumps and refrigeration plants that use CFC or HCFC refrigerants are not allowed in Green Key awarded establishments (criterion 6.5)
  • Green Key promotes a smoke-free environment. At least 75% of the rooms in an awarded establishment have to be smoke free, and restaurants should be non-smoking or at least have a non-smoking section. (criterion 9.1 & 9.2)
  • If the awarded establishments are refurbishing their premises, Green Key also recommends to use environmentally friendly products such as paints e.g. (criterion 9.4)
  • In the garden areas of awarded establishments, it is not allowed to use chemical pesticides or fertilisers that could harm the environment. (criterion 10.1)
  • Concerning the health and well-being of the employees, Green Key expects that the establishments are in compliance with international, national and local legislation and its CSR policies regarding environment, health, safety and labour. (criteria 11.1)


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