CSR – Social responsibility

First Green Key awarded hotel in Sierra Leone!

The Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel is the first hotel in Sierra Leone that has achieved the Green Key award. Congratulations!

Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Freetown Sierra Leone.jpg

Green Key is proud to announce the expansion of the programme to a new country: Sierra Leone. The Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko in Freetown is the first hotel in the country that complies with Green Key's strict criteria. The hotel has excellent internal communication concerning sustainability and truly cares for the local community and environment. For example, it supports tree-planting activities in the surroundings and made donations to the victims of the Freetown flood in August 2017. During the Ebola Epidemic in 2014/2015, the hotel hosted international aid agencies that used the hotel facilities as offices and as a research centre. 

Green Key congratulates the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko for its excellent work in sustainability and is proud to have the hotel among its awarded establishments. 

Hotel Kämp in Finland donates blankets and pillows to Red Cross

The iconic Green Key awarded Hotel Kämp in Helsinki in Finland Hotel Kämp actively promotes sustainable development in their daily operations. This year they have refurbished many of their rooms and as part of the process acquired new pillows and blankets for the rooms. It was important for Hotel Kämp, that the old pillows and blankets would not go to waste, but live on with someone who would need them.

Mr. Elmi Salahudin, Head of Reception Center, Red Cross Finland, Ms. Milla Laine, Housekeeping Manager, Kämp Group and Mr. Juha Niininen, Logistics Specialist, Red Cross Finland.

Mr. Elmi Salahudin, Head of Reception Center, Red Cross Finland, Ms. Milla Laine, Housekeeping Manager, Kämp Group and Mr. Juha Niininen, Logistics Specialist, Red Cross Finland.

The iconic Green Key awarded Hotel Kämp in Helsinki in Finland Hotel Kämp actively promotes sustainable development in their daily operations. This year they have refurbished many of their rooms and as part of the process acquired new pillows and blankets for the rooms. It was important for Hotel Kämp, that the old pillows and blankets would not go to waste, but live on with someone who would need them.

‘All the blankets and pillows were still usable, but unfortunately not in the hotel environment. We wanted to donate them to a partner who needed these products and could use them as such. Thus our donation would genuinely promote recycling and extend the life-cycle of the products,’ explains Kämp Group’s Housekeeping Manager Ms. Milla Laine

A suitable cause was found at Red Cross in Finland. Finnish Red Cross has recently opened several new Reception Centres and in many of these more blankets and pillows were greatly needed. All donated products will be in use.

‘We were very glad to be able to help and support the valuable work of Red Cross. In addition, the blankets and pillows will now again be in daily use and their lifecycle is extended, possibly with several years,’ says Ms. Laine.

The donation was received at Red Cross Finland by Mr. Elmi Salahudin, Head of Reception Center, and Mr. Juha Niininen, Logistics Specialist. Hotel Kämp’s aim is to continue the donations of discarded products, as long as suitable, ecologically and socially sustainable causes are found.


Green Key awarded hotels in Oman showing high commitment to social responsibility

The three Carlson Rezidor hotels in Oman are actively engaged in community support through participation in efforts for less privileged people and beach cleaning events


Park Inn and Radisson Blu hotels in Muscat have just been awarded with the Green Key for the fifth year and Park Inn in Duqm for the second year. Besides complying with the environmental management and awareness criteria in the Green Key programme, all three hotels in Oman show a high level of engagement in social responsibility activities.

In September-November 2015, the two hotels in Muscat have been actively participating in the Box Appeal – an annual charity initiative aiming at having boxes filled with a predetermined list of daily essential items with the support of participating schools and companies. People interested in being a part of the charity’s initiative can pick up a box from either of the two participating hotels. Boxes can be filled with personal hygiene essentials such as disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, talcum powder, small hand towels, combs, antibacterial soap and shampoo and with t-shirts and caps. All filled boxes are delivered to one of the two participating hotels, and volunteers will then distribute these boxes to the underprivileged in Muscat.

“We are pleased to be part of the campaign for a second consecutive year, and thanks to our sister hotel Radisson Blu Muscat as well to our partners who have given their support to the initiative. We have encouraged people across Oman to come forward and collect, fill and return these boxes. Living and working in Oman involves more than just day-to-day operations at the hotel. Having been able to fill more than 4000 boxes for this year’s campaign, responsibility to the community is proving to have been integrated into our thinking.” Rabih Zein, Cluster General Manager for Park Inn Muscat and Park Inn Duqm.

Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Residence Duqm is one of Rezidor’s relatively few beach resort hotels. As part of the social commitment of the hotel, a team of employees (staff and management) got together in July 2015 to help clean up the waste left behind by beach visitors in beach area of Duqm.

Reputable or sustainable: what comes first?

How can hotels benefit from communicating their sustainable activities and why they need to be clear and proactive about doing so? Clare Garnham, Senior Account Director at Speed Communications sets out the case in an interesting article on Greenhotelier.com, a leading source of information on the sustainable and responsible agenda within the hotel industry.

Some Key Points:

  • Communicating: responsible business activity is about communicating responsibly. Many business travellers will actively look for an environmentally conscious hotel, some even willing to pay more for the experience, which is encouraging, but equally challenging. 
  • Sustainable practices need to be evident, recordable and – critically – transparent.
  • Communicating sustainable practices can’t sit in isolation, a bolt-on, a bit of text in one area of the website; they need to be communicated from all parts and all people in the business.

There is no doubt that responsible business strategy will continue to take on an escalating role, as will communicating such activity. For hotels, the challenge is to think about what you want to be known for and what you want your responsible business plan to say about you and your people. Gaining clarity of this and greater confidence in your beliefs will support a braver, a more holistic and importantly, a long-term approach to responsible reputation building. And communicating your sustainability will undoubtedly lead to increased CSR activity across the board.

You can read the full article here

Radisson Blu launches Blu Planet – Re-Use to save Lives

Radisson Blu, part of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and a Green Key partner, is committed to Responsible Business with Blu Planet, an initiative with a specific focus on conserving and protecting the earth’s priceless water supply.

As part of the Blu Planet programme, Radisson Blu has partnered with Just a Drop to help give children around the world access to safe drinking water through the hotel brand’s towel re-use program. At Radisson Blu, choosing to re-use a towel means giving a vital donation to Just A Drop. For every 250 bath towels reused at Radisson Blu hotels, enough safe drinking water will be provided to a child for life. And each year, we estimate this will save 12,000 children. In addition, each set of towels reused saves 15 liters - or nearly four gallons - of water and reduces the use of laundry chemicals.

To help celebrate and launch the partnership, a number of Radisson Blu hotels around the globe held 'Walk for Water' events for three days, starting on Earth Day, Wed 22 April 2015. Funds raised through the partnership will support clean water and sanitation projects in Kenya, India & Peru.

Just A Drop was set up by the founder, Fiona Jeffery, after she learned it costs little more than a dollar to deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years. Just A Drop operates with a tiny full-time staff and an army of volunteers. They work tirelessly to provide clean, safe water to some of the world’s poorest communities in more than 30 countries.

Halting the loss of biodiversity – how sustainable tourism can contribute to the millennium goal

ECOTRANS provides a set of recommendations which highlight in detail how responsible tourism companies, destinations and tour operators can make a difference on their standards concerning biodiversity and thereby boosting their contribution to the promotion of species diversity. Green Key welcomes this initiative.

The indicator report 2014 of the Federal Statistical Office on “Sustainable Development in Germany” reveals that the topic of species diversity lags far behind targets, with an increase in recreational activities e.g. along coastal regions, aggravating the threat to ecosystems. The tourism sector in Germany has a range of opportunities to mitigate such threats and to contribute to the strengthening of biodiversity in coastal regions and mountainous areas, in the countryside as well as in urban environments. In this regard, standards on biodiversity in the more than 20 national and international certificates and awards for environmental responsible and sustainable tourism in Germany could make a difference.

The initiatives on biodiversity could include:

- clearly defined actions with regards to biodiversity
- strive to cover all fundamental aspects of biodiversity with the criteria
- follow the no-net-loss target
- determine their impacts on biodiversity
- offer training on biodiversity for certifiers and certified establishments

International Green Key director Finn Bolding Thomsen welcomes this initiative: “We will have new Green Key hotel criteria taking effect by mid-2016 and we will seek to include some CSR and biodiversity related criteria, add specifications in the explanatory notes to the new criteria and share best practice examples also related to biodiversity issues”. 

“Some of these best practice examples like the Areias do Seixo with their nature based offer in the central Oeste region in Portugal, the Hoeve De Schapenkop with their biodiversity teaching of children or the Botel Ophoven with their regional and organic food purchase in the Flanders region in Belgium, and also several hotels in Morocco with their staff training and local community activities show how well the Green Key programme and biodiversity go together”, says Herbert Hamele, director of Ecotrans. “We are looking forward to include such best practice examples from Green Key in our global Atlas of Excellence and in our Travel Green Germany Map on DestiNet.eu as valuable information sources for the growing list of committed tour operators, booking platforms and marketing organisations.  

Download PDF (700 KB): Biodiversity criteria in Tourism: Recommendations for standards,certificates and awards

Green Key entering a partnership with BookGreener

Green Key is happy to announce that it has entered a partnership with the online booking website, BookGreener.com.

For travellers looking for eco-experiences, BookGreener give access to the world’s green hotels - and for every booking made, BookGreener ensures the planting of a tree.

It was natural for Green Key International to team up with BookGreener, since both organisations aim at promoting hotels that are part of the solution not part of the problem, and that care about local communities and culture as well as wildlife conservation and the environment.

BookGreener is also growing a community-generated database of “hotSpots” – think spas, yoga retreats, health-food restaurants and children-friendly activities and destinations – all conveniently mapped so travellers know exactly what’s near their green hotel.

The BookGreener website is at an early stage and invite travelers to share hotspots they love and recommend sustainable hotels they have visited.

BookDifferent.com has high expectations for 2015

Lonneke de Kort, Director Business Development and Sales at BookDifferent.com states that 2015 could be the tipping point for eco-tourism around the world. Her statement is supported by the Hospitality 2015 report issued by Deloitte.

In this report a team of experts of Deloitte analysed the Hospitality Industry with a special interest in the sustainable development of this sector towards 2020. Consumers are increasingly environmentally aware, and this will present great challenges for the industry. The year 2015 will be the tipping point on regulatory, economic and stakeholder level. It will begin to shape new expectations for both leisure and business consumers.  

This means that (business) travellers expect the sector to take their responsibility and integrate going green in their mission. The good news is that this is backed up with a growing number of consumers that are willing to take their responsibility too. Not necessarily by paying a premium for green hotels but by choosing a sustainable alternative when values-plus-value is offered.

And that is great news! 2015 promises to be a year with great opportunities ahead of us. BookDifferent will continue developing the platform that makes it easy for consumers to travel green and social. A great thanks goes out to Green Key and all her members who do the real work! 

Pinepark Holiday Club uses kites to inform children about Green Key

The Green Key awarded hotel, Pinepark Holiday Club in Turkey, organised a kite festival for primary school students to educate them in a playful way about sustainable tourism.

The environmental management team of the Pinepark Holiday Club set up a cooperation with the local primary school to inform the children about sustainable tourism since tourism is heavily blooming in the area. To make it a memorable day for the children they organised a kite festival as a side activity.

First, students were informed about the Green Key label by the manager of the hotel. Afterwards the manager answered all the questions about sustainability, environmental education, etc. Then the children were taken to the beach of the hotel in order to make their own kites which all had the Green Key logo on them. As icing on the cake, they flew the kites all together on the beach.