Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #4

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 4: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

According to the UN, poor education and equity issues in regard to the access to education facilities and vocational training are problems that still need to be solved worldwide. Furthermore, Goal 4 explicitly addresses the need for education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 4?

Although Green Key is not a mere educational programme, it does have a strong educative component that promotes education for sustainable development. In addition, Green Key promotes equal access to employment though its CSR criteria. Many Green Key awarded sites like the Park Inn by Radisson Leuven or the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in Prague have special training programmes for disadvantaged social groups that help them to gain skills in the hospitality sector and to get an employment. 

Let's have a closer look at the criteria that support Goal 4:

  • Green Key awarded sites have to establish active collaboration with relevant stakeholders to support the local community. This includes for example local schools or other educational institutions. ( criterion 1.6)
  • Sustainability education within the establishment is ensured through regular staff training on environmental and other sustainability issues. ( criterion 2.3)
  • In addition, Green Key awarded establishments have to inform their guests about its environmental initiatives and encourage them to support their work by taking more sustainable decisions during their stay. The support can involve issues of environmental management (e.g. water, energy and waste saving), but can also focus on issues related to social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues (for instance support to social charities). (criterion 3.4) 
  • Awarded establishments are also asked to be equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions to give everyone equal access to vocational training and employment. (criterion 11.3)
  • To increase the sustainability awareness of the guests, staff and nearby community, the establishments are encouraged to provide activities for raising awareness focused on sustainable development, environment and nature in or around the premises. (criterion 12.4)
  • Furthermore, Green Key awarded establishments are encouraged to inform third party operated businesses on their premises as well as suppliers about their environmental committment. (criterion 13.2&13.5)


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