Responsible Tourism

XL Green Key Cartoon makes visitors curious about sustainability

The interactive science centre Hidrodoe in Herentals, Belgium came up with a creative and fun way to inform their guests about sustainability and Green Key.


At Hidrodoe, visitors can learn everything about water - from Roman baths to water in space -in a fun and interactive way. The science centre is an initiative of the Flemish water company Pidpa to raise awareness about the importance and value of water. The centre has more than 150 interactive exhibits, covering indoor and outdoor activities.

One of their newest additions is an XL Cartoon that shows the centre with all it’s environmental initiatives, for example their bee hotel, the electric bike charging station and the fair trade café. A Green Key logo on each of the illustrations indicates that this is part of their environmental agenda. At the same time, visitors learn about Green Key and it’s requirements. The creators compare the comic with the well-known “Where’s Wally” children illustrations.


Due to its high environmental ambitions and creative ways to engage visitors in environmental issues, Hidrodoe won the Belgian Energy and Environment award for Sustainable Education in 2018. Moreover, Hidrodoe has been Green Key awarded for 7 years in a row.


Ocean Baskets want to make plastic straws history

Seafood restaurant chain Ocean Basket has launched ‘The Last Straw’ a national campaign in Cyprus.


The pollution of our oceans due to plastic waste has become a major topic in the media and in political discussions. Only recently, the EU banned the use of certain single-use plastic products to help the oceans recover from decades of plastic pollution.

Some businesses, like the Green Key awarded Ocean Baskets in Cyprus, are already one step ahead of the game. Since May 2018, plastic straws have been banned from all nine restaurants on the island. The restaurant chain is the first in Cyprus to launch a campaign against plastic straws. Guests are informed about the campaign though signs on the tables and posters. If a guest does not want to skip the straw, they are offered an eco-friendly alternative upon request.

Ocean Basket’s great initiative to reduce the use of plastic doesn’t stop here. All their restaurants have replaced plastic bottles with glass bottles and the styrofoam takeaway boxes have been replaced by paper boxes. Their ambition is to stop providing anything made out of plastic to their customers.

Furthermore, Ocean Basket participates in several initiatives to raise awareness about marine litter and plastic pollution. In cooperation with the Cypriot organisation running Green Key (CYMEPA) they organise beach cleanups around Cyprus with the involvement of hundreds of young students and their staff members.

In addition, together with CYMEPA, Ocean Basket have designed the “My Responsible Ocean Citizen Little Blue Book” for schools to engage children in the protection of the oceans.


Green Key's application process explained step by step in our new video!

Ever wondered how the Green Key application process works? Watch our second video and find out!

Click on the image to open the video in a new browser window

Click on the image to open the video in a new browser window

In this video, Green Key explains the application and award process step by step. You’ll learn more about the on-site and off-site audits, the decision making process as well as the award itself.

If you have missed our introductory video about Green Key, you can watch it here

Don’t want to miss any of our new videos? Then sign up to our YouTube channel Green Key International

Château de Namur hosts local sustainable development award in Namur, Belgium

On 26 April, the hotel Château de Namur hosted the local sustainable development award "Prix du développement durable de la Province de Namur" only shortly after the hotel received its own sustainability award – the Green Key.


With this award, the Province of Namur wishes to highlight and, as a result, help raise awareness of existing sustainable development initiatives in Namur. And which venue would be better for a sustainability award ceremony than a Green Key hotel?

Château de Namur itself received its Green Key award in February 2018 due to its excellent environmental performance. The hotel strongly focuses on organic and local food products which becomes both evident from the restaurant menu and the refreshments offered in the guest rooms. Latest technologies in the hotel ensure that resources like energy and water are saved to a maximum. Guests can support the sustainability efforts of Château de Namur by using the offered electric bikes or the charging station for electric cars right outside the hotel. Furthermore, the hotel engages their guests by providing plenty of information about their environmental initiatives and environmental tips for their stay.

For its environmental committment, Château de Namur not only received the Green Key, but also the sustainable tourism award in the framework of a contest organised by the city of Namur.

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. 

First hotel in South Africa awarded Green Key

Green Key is pleased to announce that the NH The Lord Charles in Cape Town is the first hotel in South Africa to receive our prestigious award. 


NH The Lord Charles has convinced the Green Key Jury with their strong environmental management and dedication to save scarce resources in South Africa.

Besides complying with Green Key’s imperative criteria, the hotel implements a particularly strong focus on reducing the consumption of water through several initiatives around the property. This is a very important aspects in a water scarce country where drought is an ongoing threat.

One of the initiatives implemented by the Lord Charles is their own in house plant nursery, which is used to improve their own gardens at the hotel. Many of the plants grown at this nursery are succulent plants, known as “water wise” plants, which do not require as much watering as conventional garden plants would. By slowly converting the garden to water wise plants, the hotel is able to reduce the amount of water used in their gardens.

Furthermore, the hotel involves its guests and staff in their water-saving initiatives by reminding them throughout the hotel to save water.

Green Key International congratulates NH The Lord Charles on their achievements and is looking forward to seeing a growing number of Green Key awarded hotels in South Africa. 



Green Hotelier Award 2018 - apply now!

The Green Hotelier Awards, which seek to discover the world's most sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible hotels, has launched for 2018. Will a Green Key awarded establishment be the winner this year?


This year the Awards unveil a new look which changes the winning categories. In previous years hotels have been grouped geographically. This year hotels across the world will compete to win in categories which examine their carbon footprint, their water stewardship, their waste reduction, their community impact and their role as a responsible employer.

The move aims to align the awards with the industry call to action of the International Tourism Partnership(ITP) for hotels to focus their sustainable, environmental and socially responsible actions on the United Nations’ Global Goals also called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Green Hotelier Editor Siobhan O'Neill said, "The Green Hotelier Awards have been growing in popularity year on year and we expect record numbers of hotels to share their sustainability stories with us in 2018. Although the form hoteliers will complete is essentially the same as previous years, the new approach allows us to focus on the winners' actions and impacts, rather than their geographical location. In addition it means there will be more winners and hotels named Highly Commended because we've increased the number of categories we're awarding in.

"We wanted to reflect ITP's call to action to the hotel industry to work together to achieve the Global Goals, and we can use the Green Hotelier Awards to show hoteliers how their sustainability actions and initiatives are doing just that. The application process is still free and deliberately designed to be quick and easy. The scoring on each section is simple and transparent, and hotels will need to complete every section to be in with a chance of winning, but we'd like them to indicate which category they think they're a strong contender in. It doesn't mean they won't be considered as a winner in other categories as well.

"We're really excited to be launching our new look and we're looking forward to reading all the amazing sustainable and responsible business actions we know so many hotels around the world are actioning for a fairer future for all."

The new look Awards means that no hotel is excluded from entering. Previous winners can apply this year. The Awards are open to hotels, resorts, eco-lodges and B&Bs of any size, anywhere in the world. Entrants should read all the rules and tips for applying before completing the form to make sure they maximise their chances of winning. The closing date for entries is Friday 23rd March 2018, and the winners will be announced in April during Responsible Business Week.

Download the form as a pdf here or as a Word document. Completed forms should be emailed to

The judges look forward to receiving the Awards and showcasing the winners' actions in support of the Global Goals.

Source and acknowledgement: Green Hotelier


Green Key wishes all Green Key awarded establishments that participate good luck!


Green Key International at Stichting KMVK's annual Green Key event

On 8 February Green Key International participated in this years’ Green Key award ceremony in the Netherlands. The event was held in the prestigious NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam.


Every year, the organisation Stichting KMVK - responsible for the Green Key programme in the Netherlands - organises a Green Key event for its awarded establishments to offer them the opportunity to participate in workshops, an inspiration market and to receive their Green Key award in a solemn ceremony. This year, the event was held at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky which has been Green Key awarded since 2012.

The programme kicked off with the finals of the Green Team Award, which is a yearly competition between the Green Teams of the awarded hotels in the Netherlands. After that, the participants of the inspiration market were given 45 seconds each to present their products and services to the guests of the event. At the inspiration market companies and organisations get the chance to advertise their products and services directly to the awarded establishments. A requirement is that their offers are sustainable or help the establishments to improve their environmental performance.

In the second part of the event, several workshops were held to inspire and inform the establishments and stakeholders about latest sustainability issues. The topics covered were circular economy in the hospitality industry, sustainable seafood, laws & regulations on energy savings, sustainable property management and the Tiny Forest project. Guests were also invited to go on a round tour of the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky to learn about the hotel's sustainability initiatives. The event closed with the handover of the Green Key awards.

The Green Key event in the Netherlands is a good example of national Green Key initiatives where awarded establishments can gain knowledge in sustainability and be inspired by other establishments or stakeholders. 


Green Key present at the international tourism fair, World Travel Market

Green Key International Director, Finn Bolding Thomsen, is attending the World Travel Market, one of the largest tourism fairs globally taking place in London (England) on 6-8 November 2017.


During the World Travel Market, there is a range of events and presentations dedicated to Responsible Tourism. The presentations of main interest for Green Key includes debates about the major environmental challenges: carbon and water, the next steps for certification schemes, the priorities for responsible tourism in the coming five years, how tourism businesses can embrace the UN Sustainable Development Goals, how to engage travellers and holidaymakers, how to market sustainable tourism, etc.

In the discussion about the main priorities for responsible tourism in the coming five years, the main focus areas identified were environmental responsibility (lower carbon emissions, good waste- and water management, etc.) as well as social responsibility (attention to vulnerable groups, inclusive tourism, etc.). In the discussion about certification schemes, the importance of staying focused in order to make certification relevant and affordance for the hospitality sector was highlighted. In the debate about engaging travellers, the importance of story-telling and personalised messages were emphasised.

During the World Travel Market, Green Key International also had a range of meetings with partners and other stakeholders relevant for Green Key, including researchers, consultants, major tour operators, leading hotel chains, tourism organisations, etc. 

In addition, World Responsible Tourism Day is celebrated on the last day of the fair, on 8 November and the Global Responsible Tourism Awards were once again handed out. As 2017 has been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the participants were challenged to report their progress against one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To learn more about the Awards, visit WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2017. This year's awards were given for the categories Best for Accommodation, Best for Carbon Reduction, Best for Communication, Best Community Initiative, Best for Poverty Reduction and Best Tour Operator. Download the 'Leaders in Responsible Tourism Report' and see all the Winners here