Green Key

Great results for the good of the environment at Green Key awarded Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Mikkeli

Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna in Mikkeli (Finland) has been Green Key awarded since December 2016 and has integrated environmental perspective deep into their daily operations. Hotel Manager Hanna Coker-Appiah presented their vast variety of Green Key efforts to Finn Bolding Thomsen from Green Key International.

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Vaakuna started their journey with Green Key in the autumn of 2016 to prepare for a Green Key application. Environmental work was nothing new for them, but with Green Key, it became more consistent and the awareness of the impact of different daily actions increased. Small modifications were also made. For example, the shower heads in all rooms were replaced with more eco-friendly ones. This repair investment was already in the plans and new shower heads on their way. Two different kinds of shower heads were tested by staff and the final selection was made based on these results.

The two tested shower heads also complied with the Green Key requirement that in at least 75% of showers are with a water flow of max. 9 litres per minute. Modern shower heads, as the new one Vaakuna chose for their hotel rooms, limit the water flow onto an ecological level without compromising guest satisfaction. Vaakuna’s guests have been happy with the choice the hotel made for new shower heads and have been also able to know about their environmental impact. Vaakuna follows water consumption carefully and was happy to share good results after their first Green Key year: the amount of water saved each month equals the water consumption of an average household for a year.

Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Mikkeli actively encourages also guests to make an ecological choice. The bikes available at the hotel are hugely popular and the guest can enjoy local products such as the famous delicacy Karelian pies, local bread or taste the local beer named after the great Marshal Mannerheim. A welcoming letter in the rooms informs the guest of the environmental efforts at the hotel and provides easy, practical tips how to make ecological choices. The guest can sort waste or save water and energy by using the towel again. The hotel is also situated conveniently with an easy access for trains and buses – even a bike taxi in the summertime!

The whole staff in Vaakuna is involved in the work for the good of the environment. The kitchen keeps a close eye on energy consumption of ovens and the nightclub strives to reduce the use of plastic. Housekeeping uses microfiber cloths and 100% of daily chemicals are eco-labelled.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, visited the hotel in January 2018 and was very impressed with the environmental efforts at the hotel. He also very much appreciated the way that Sokos Hotel Vaakuna informs the guests about their environmental work both in the carpark of the hotel, in the hotel lobby and in the guest rooms.

However, new things are constantly under development. The next one will make the overnight at Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna in Mikkeli a memorable environmental experience. But this will be something to be revealed a bit later – so to be continued…

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Booking.com and Green Key start a collaboration

Booking.com is testing a feature of highlighting accommodations that are actively working with sustainability – and Green Key awarded establishments are included in the test

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Booking.com is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and a digital technology leader connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay. With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com is continually exploring improved ways to uncover and share the sustainability efforts of its accommodation partners with those searching and selecting on its site. As part of this, Booking.com is partnering with Green Key to highlight Green Key awarded properties on its site as 'sustainable'. 

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, says: “As a previous survey done by Booking.com has revealed that travellers are increasingly conscious about the environmental impact of travels, the pilot project by Booking.com is a natural next step, as it will enable users of Booking.com to actively select accommodations having the Green Key award or other sustainability initiatives in place. Green Key is proud to participate in the pilot project, and we hope that it will become a permanent feature on the Booking.com website”.

Talking Point: Why is it important for housekeeping to clean green?

Housekeeping is at the frontline of any hotel business, both in terms of their contact with guests and their presentation of rooms for guest appreciation. Their role in creating a sustainable hotel is often overlooked, but it is critical. This news feature describes how staff can be trained to help boost a hotel’s environmental performance.

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1. Eco-friendly products

Many of the products that are used in everyday tasks at a hotel can have a tremendous impact on the environment and people around them. For example, chemical-based fungicides can impact local insect populations including bees, and certain cleaning liquids can release toxic fumes or harm cleaning staff if improperly handled. This is a completely unnecessary risk when there are many alternative eco-friendly products - including disinfectants, glass and window cleaners, liquid soaps, degreasers, laundry bleach and many more - to choose from.

2. Clean towel policy so guests help cut down on washing

 It has been standard practice for hotel guests to get clean towels daily. While this is undoubtedly a perk for guests, when thinking green there’s a lot of doubt over whether it’s really necessary. This shift in attitude has resulted in many hotels adopting a policy where only dirty towels which are left on the floor will be replaced by housekeeping. Other hotels may have their own rules regarding how or where you leave your dirty towels, such as a rack or a hook on the back of a door, but the end result is the same: less washing means less harm to the environment.

It’s also a positive way to portray your hotel to residents when an information card is placed in the bathroom.

3. Organic washing powders

 Many of us don’t think twice about the washing powders we use, often choosing our favourite brand or whatever best suits our pocket. This attitude carries through to the washing powders hotel managers use in their hotels, without taking into consideration two major factors:

The washing powder you use may contain toxic chemicals that can negatively impact your health

Excessive washing dumps these chemicals into the sewers, which in turn might end up in rivers or the ocean

Switching to more eco-friendly brands can reduce water consumption and lower your waste production - which is especially important as water scarcity becomes an increasing concern across the globe. Modern washing machines use less water and some include technology which allows them to use just a fraction of the water of a usual machine.

4. Products with less packaging

Anyone who has ordered an item online will be familiar with the huge box that arrives filled with packing material, only to dig through all of it looking for the tiny item that you actually ordered. While most people understand the reasoning behind this (we’d all be frustrated if our orders arrived damaged or broken), there’s no doubt that we also recognise how much of these packing products will just be thrown away, ending up in a garbage dump or landfill.

As a hotel manager, you’ll be ordering items in bulk so make sure to choose companies that offer eco-friendly packaging or communicate with your favourite brand that there are steps they could take to more efficiently package their products.

5. Training course for staff to learn company values when it comes to cleaning green

Having eco-friendly products and processes in place are no good if staff aren’t making use of them. This is impacted by each staff member’s individual beliefs in regards to environmentally friendly practices, which is why it’s important for hotels to offer training courses for their staff. This will help hotels conserve water which might be wasted otherwise by unnecessary flushing of toilets or washing of towels and linen when the guest hasn’t specifically requested clean linen.

This doesn’t only affect the hotel environment but will carry over into other aspects of the staff’s lives as well. There are a number of areas that hotels can focus on when it comes to training their staff, including water management and rationalisation, energy efficiency, and waste recycling, and as they say, every little helps.

The Green Key criteria support all of the above-mentioned recommendations. 

Source: Green Hotelier

FEE Global Action Day - showing the global commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is proud to announce the FEE Global Action Day to be held on 20 April 2018 in the Green Key programme and the other of FEE's environmental education programmes.

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As a dedicated supporter and champion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, FEE will organise a Global Action Day to be held on 20 April 2018. The purpose of this day is to call attention to how FEE and its member organisations, as well as all the participants in the FEE programmes, are helping to realise the Sustainable Development Goals through the work we do. Whatever you choose to highlight, we at FEE would like to promote it!

Worldwide, our network engages in countless acts of awareness-raising about all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals on an almost daily basis. If possible, we would encourage you to plan a specific action for one of the Sustainable Development Goals to be executed on 20 April 2018, so that together we can unite globally in a day of positive action!

If it does not suit you to plan a specific action on 20 April 2018, you can still join the movement by reposting on that day one or more stories from the past year highlighting your commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Any actions dedicated to the Global Action Day should be included on social media using the hashtags #GlobalActionDays and @GlobalGoals. If possible, please indicate the number of persons engaged in your action. 

Thank you for your participation - Keep up the great work!

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group changes name to Radisson Hotel Group and announces the new brand, Radisson Collection

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced its rebranding to Radisson Hotel Group, effective immediately, at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, and the newly rebranded Hotel Group has announced its new brand, Radisson Collection

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Radisson Hotel Group’s new identity leverages the powerful, international brand equity of the Radisson name to drive awareness in the marketplace, increase marketing efficiency across the global portfolio and offer exceptional experiences to make Every Moment Matter for guests, owners and talent. “Every Moment Matters” will be the new signature service philosophy of the company and all its hotel brands.

Radisson Hotel Group capitalizes on a strong partnership between Radisson Hospitality, Inc. (formerly Carlson Hotels, Inc.) and Rezidor Hotel Group AB (headquartered in Brussels, Belgium) who has master franchise agreements to develop and operate several brands across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The newly rebranded Radisson Hotel Group has also announced “Radisson Collection”, a premium collection of exceptional hotels in landmark locations bringing together the finest hotels in the Radisson Hotel Group portfolio.

Radisson Collection hotels are united by exceptional design and experiences across dining, fitness, wellness and sustainability. All hotel properties are situated in prestigious locations, close to prime leisure attractions and boast an individual and locally authentic atmosphere. 14 hotels are confirmed to join the collection following the launch. 

The Radisson Hotel Group is currently the 11th largest hotel group with more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development within its eight hotel brands: Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson and prizeotel.

Elite Hotel Ideon Lund in Sweden prioritises environmental and social responsibility

Green Key awarded Elite Hotel Ideon Lund has modern sustainability standards in addition to effortlessly working with more ways to upgrade its commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

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Elite Hotel Ideon Lund is a relatively new built hotel in Lund in Southern Sweden. The hotel is equipped with modern sustainability standards, and it has achieved the LEED Platinum certification for its exclusive energy efficiency standards. In 2017, the hotel received the Green Key award for its high standards.  

The hotel is constantly looking for new ways to continue their commitment towards environmental and social responsibility as well as sustainability awareness.

In order to save resources, the hotel has recently replaced individually packaged shower gel and shampoo by dispensers in most guest bathrooms. The installed dispensers nicely compliment the general appearance in the bathrooms, and the reactions from the hotel guests have been positive.

It is a general feature of the hotel that it is important to engage guests in its sustainability efforts. All rooms have an hourglass set for five minutes next to the shower. The hourglass is an encouragement for guests to consider limiting the shower period.

Additionally, the hotel is prioritising its local social engagement through successful work internships for persons having challenges entering the labour market and by purchasing locally produced items as presents for loyal customers. Where possible, the hotel donates used or forgotten items to charities.

The latest goal for Elite Hotel Ideon Lund is to continue the improvement of the waste recycling standards by facilitating waste sorting for staff in the kitchen and for guests by the hotel entrance. 

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, visited Elite Hotel Ideon Lund on 7 March 2018. He was impressed to know how the hotel, despite already having high sustainability standards, continues to look for ways to further commit in relation to environmental and social responsibility.

Green Key at the launch of the Tourism 2030 Portal at the ITB 2018

As every year in March, the Berlin Messe hosted the international tourism fair ITB last week. Green Key was there to attend the launch of the Tourism 2030 Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Portal.

Herbert Hamele talking about 25 years of ECOTRANS

Herbert Hamele talking about 25 years of ECOTRANS

In 2018 the ECOTRANS Network for Sustainable Tourism Development is celebrating 25 years of European and global-level networking, policy-making and  project implementation to promote responsible and sustainable tourism. ECOTRANS invited Green Key to join their celebrations and the launch of their new portal at the ITB. 

The Tourism 2030 Portal is an independent website which brings together the global community of people and organisations working in sustainable tourism. Among other issues, it informs about certifications, standards and awards in sustainable tourism to help businesses and travellers to learn about and compare them. Green Key has been working with ECOTRANS for many years, especially in promoting awarded establishments on online travel agency platforms. Furthermore, Green Key participates in the TRIANGLE project, which is an European wide collaborative online system for Higher Education Institutes to offer quality tourism sustainability training. 

In addition to the launch of the Tourism 2030 Portal, several members of ECOTRANS discussed the implementation of sustainable tourism to meet the SDGs in 2030 and the Paris Agreement targets. With only three policy cycles left to achieve the Global Goals, the panelists pondered whether the SDGs will remain a "fairytale" or if there will be a "fairy tale ending". 

Green Key in Flanders (Belgium): a new chapter lies ahead

After 12 years of Green Key in Flanders (Belgium) being run by Bond Beter Leefmilieu, the umbrella organisation for the environment, Green Key Flanders starts a new chapter from 2018 with the organisation GoodPlanet taking over the management of the Green Key programme.

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One of the new challenges that lie ahead is to recruit candidates for the new category 'restaurants' that is now also offered in Flanders (Belgium). Three restaurants have already signed up and will serve as models for other restaurants wishing to follow. Green Key Flanders sees a lot of potential in this new category, especially when it comes to tackling food waste and promoting sustainable food.  

The region of Flanders now has 129 of the 204 Green Key awarded establishments in Belgium, which is a fairly high number relative to the size of the region. The 129 Green Key establishments (including ten new establishments) were awarded the Green Key on 26 February 2018 during an event taking place in Martin’s Klooster, a four-star hotel and meeting location that offers its clients the possibility to offset their carbon emission.

Hotel Kämp effortlessly combines 5-star luxury with environmental friendliness

Hotel Kämp in Helsinki, Finland is an iconic landmark. It is also a Green Key awarded hotel, as are all 9 (and soon 10) hotels in Kämp Collection Hotels. Hotel Kämp has made some very important choices for the environment.

Photo: Hotel Kämp

Photo: Hotel Kämp

The hotel follows the Green Key criteria rigorously and continuously strive for excellence. They exceed imperative Green Key requirements many times over and additionally aim for LEED Gold certificate for the building itself.

For many years now, Hotel Kämp has chosen to use 100% renewable electricity. Each year they receive a report and a certificate stating the various renewable sources and the amounts of water power or wind power used, for example. They have also chosen to purchase renewable energy which is also EKOenergy certified. This means that the energy sources have been verified not only to be 100% renewable but also 100% sustainable. So they continue their historical tradition to be on the forefront:

 “Back in the day in 1887 Hotel Kämp was Finland's first hotel to have an elevator. Other modern technologies were also applied, such as electric lighting.”

                        History of Hotel Kämp, www.hotelkamp.fi

The historic building and its décor are one of the kind and highly admired. The hotel takes good care of each piece of furniture and continually refurbish them to be able to use the same high quality and timeless sofa, chair or table for yet another decade or two. They have a storage facility for excess furniture – actually a genuine treasure cave – from which they can retrieve suitable pieces for all 10 hotels in Kämp Hotel Collection instead of buying new ones. As for items which are usable but not needed anymore, they donate to charity organizations for example to the Red Cross.

Hotel Kämp also has high standards for procurement of goods and services. Housekeeping partner has a strict environmental policy and food and beverage are acquired in great portion locally. Also, guests can take part. Room TV includes practical tips for ecological choices. The guest will find information about moving around with public transportation or by luxurious Pelago bikes available for hotel guests free of charge. There is also information about recycling, electricity and other green choices. On the bed awaits a beautiful sign for the guest to use for communicating their wishes about having or not having the linen changed.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, visited Hotel Kämp on 19 January 2018. He was delighted to see all the environmental efforts done at the hotel - showing that a 5-star hotel can combine luxury with sustainability!

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