sustainable tourism

Noot Nordik Kitchen leveling up the game against food waste

The restaurant Noot Nordik Kitchen in the Green Key awarded Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Gothenburg is taking the fight against food waste to another level.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

Food waste is one of the biggest challenges in hospitality industry and more and more restaurants and hotels try to level up their initiatives to reduce the amount of unused products and leftovers. The most common strategies to minimise food waste is monitoring, diligent planning of the purchases and meals as well as optimising the storage of the products to extend their shelf life.

The Noot Nordik Kitchen, however, is putting an extra effort on reducing their waste that is produced in the kitchen. They use every last piece of a vegetable or a fruit, turning carrot tops into pesto, lemon peel into both a lemon peel syrup for cocktails, a candied lemon peel for desserts and cocktails or as freshly grated flavoring to a cake. Any tops, peels, pumped corners or cut offs go in to making broths for sauces.

They use fresh, locally grown raspberries to infuse an OP Andersson Aquavit (local to Gothenburg) for their cocktails, the berries left after the infusion gets dried and crushed into a powder we use do decorate cocktails and desserts.

Bread that has gone stale become croutons. Fresh herbs that’s looking a bit sad becomes herb butter. Any ingredients left over from their daily lunches gets new life in a salad, a soup, a stew or are served as a topping on a traditional Danish Smørrebrød. In addition, “ugly” and often discarded vegetables are purchased and given a new life in their perfectly composed dishes.

Sofia Roos, restaurant manager at Noot Nordik Kitchen:

"At Noot we love every crooked carrot, every single potato and all ugly peas. They are the soul of our food philosophy. All we want is to create delicious, tasty and climate-smart dishes without crossing it too much.”

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

.Noot Nordik Kitchen does not only fight against food waste but another cornerstone of the restaurant is to buy as local and sustainable as possible. The fish is local and sustainably caught, they always favour locally grown greens and fruits and they bake their own bread and knead their on pastry for cakes and desserts. They support brewers of all sizes across the Nordic countries so that their guests can enjoy a diverse range of real ales, IPAs, APAs, lagers and stouts. On top of that, they only serve Swedish, organic sodas, there is simply no Cola-Cola in their fridges, but a local and natural Cola Blanco from Dirty Fox Water Brewery in Norrköping.

On their mission to be a front-runner in sustainability, this summer they also joint forces with “Fredagspizza”, a food concept started through the initiative Swedish Food Challenge with the aim of spreading knowledge about and increasing the use of Swedish raw materials in everyday life. works with consciously selected raw materials and places great focus on what we can produce where we live, more specifically in Sweden and the Nordic countries.

On July 15-20 you can visit Noot Nordik Kitchen, where they offer four variants of Swedish pizza with different topping such as lard, fresh potatoes, meatballs and air-dried elk. There are plans for a continuation for this Autumn.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

Apitherapy and relaxation in pure nature

Green Key awarded Želinc Tourist Farm from Slovenia is offering its guests a proximity to nature, locally produced food and healing through ‘apitherapy’


Želinc Tourist Farm is situated at the confluence of the Cerknica and Idrijca rivers, with a vast plain stretching at a distance just perfect to get away from the city noise and embark on an outdoor adventure.

The first known written records of the farm date back to the end of the 14th century. The farm was passed from one generation to another. It was basically self-sufficient, while any surplus was sold to buy fabric and sugar in particular. During World Wars I and II, the farm remained intact thanks to its strategically important military location. In 1995, the farm was renovated and a new building was built to provide for tourist activity. The tourist offer has expanded over the years, therewith changing and further complementing the image of the farm.

Urša, the present owner of the farm, states:

With the new generation of farm owners, the real estate expanded in terms of farming and tourism, and became even more connected with nature and environment. On our farm we produce fruit and vegetables without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and a large part of the food that our guests receive on our plates are produced with our hands. What we do not have, we buy mostly from neighboring farms or local shops. We care for our surrounding nature, and we regularly maintain it to keep the balance and give us the necessary raw materials for heating the house with wood. As we have our own source of water, we encourage our guests not to buy bottled water but to drink our water from the tap.

The farm has a special walking path around the property with beautiful views on surrounding hilltops, and the farm also offers a possibility for healing with beehive air and other bee products such as honey, pollen and honey liquer, called 'apitherapy'.


Guests of the Želinc tourist farm can be accommodated in 14 different spacious rooms that fully meet the requirements of the Green Key programme.  

Urša concludes:

Because we are lucky enough to be able to live in a nature with clean air, beautiful green surroundings, and because we respect and care about our nature, we decided to acquire the Green Key eco-label, and thus demonstrate to ourselves, our guests and others that we are on the right track.

 For more information about Želinc tourist farm, please visit

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel awarded the Green Key eco-label

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel from Rovaniemi has been awarded the Green Key eco-label as the first private hotel in Finnish Lapland.


Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is a family-owned hotel, located on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. The hotel provides a unique blend of luxury comfort in the heart of arctic nature, local traditions and modern Scandinavian design. In contrast to the meticulously designed accommodation and nest-like coziness, the panoramic views from the windows provide impressive spectacles of the surrounding forest and skies. Arctic TreeHouse Hotel has received a great deal of recognition and a number of awards since its opening in late 2016. and will host the upcoming World Luxury Hotel Awards in October 2019.

”We are committed to the values of sustainable tourism,” says Ilkka Länkinen, the CEO of the company. ”We want to ensure that the Rovaniemi area remains a great place to live in and visit in the future as well.”

Ecological values and the Green Key criteria have been kept in mind at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel since the very beginning of its designing and building process. The company has also invested in remarkable renewable energy sources, such as geothermal heating and solar power. The latest investment is the newly installed OptiWatti system for smart energy management that sets the temperatures of the TreeHouses according to their capacity utilization.

”We monitor the strain caused on the environment and do our best to use our resources and energy as efficiently as possible,” Länkinen explains.

The hotel personnel has gotten together on various occasions to do some good for the environment. For example, they recently spent a day planting 10,000 pine tree seedling to the arctic forests.

”Our team has had a very positive and enthusiastic attitude about all of this. We have established an in-house Green Ambassador team that supports the environmental know-how of the rest of the staff and is responsible for executing internal sustainability-related audits, thus increasing our positive hand-print,” Länkinen says.

With its exemplary actions, the hotel is also responding to the growing demand for sustainable and ethically produced services.

”Today’s tourists are more and more aware of environmental issues and make decisions based on their own set of values. We want to develop our experiences with quality as the top priority. And naturally, our aim is also to communicate the principles of resposible travel to our guests,” Länkinen states.

From left to right: Katja Ikäheimo-Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Liisa Kokkarinen (manager, regional partnerships, Visit Finland), Ilkka Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Tina Kaikkonen (hotel manager, ATHH), Pirjo Pääkkönen (Green Key ambassador, ATHH)

From left to right: Katja Ikäheimo-Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Liisa Kokkarinen (manager, regional partnerships, Visit Finland), Ilkka Länkinen (owner, ATHH), Tina Kaikkonen (hotel manager, ATHH), Pirjo Pääkkönen (Green Key ambassador, ATHH)

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel wishes to encourage other local tourism operators to familiarize themselves with the the Green Key programme as well.

”The programme is very comprehensive and clear. It would be great to have even more Green Key certified businesses in Lapland. It would be a way for us all to work together for sustainable development,” Länkinen comments.

Two of Cardiff’s favourite cafés gain international environmental award

The Green Key programme in Wales goes from strength to strength as two of Cardiff’s favourite foodie hotspots are recognised for operating is a sustainable way.


Penylan Pantry and the Secret Garden café have been recognised for their sustainability efforts and have become the latest businesses in Wales to achieve the Green Key award.

Penylan Pantry is at the heart of the community in Penylan and so much more than an average café. They are also a corner shop and deli that promotes local producers, the community and the environment. They are passionate about the wonderful produce available in Wales and are proud to support their local producers, bakers, makers, farmers and dairies.

The team at the Pantry are also responsible for another of Cardiff’s iconic cafés. Last year they took on a lease to run the Secret Garden Café in Bute Park’s walled garden as well. They operate this establishment in the same responsible way.

Owner Mellissa Boothman says:

As a business owner and employer, it’s my responsibility to run my business as sustainabily as I can for the future of our planet, and the next generation. Receiving a Green Key award is a huge achievement for us all at the Pantry, and we are super super pleased. This award is an acknowledgement that sustainability is at the heart of Penylan Pantry, and to be recognised as a sustainable business means a lot to us. 

She adds:

The future of our natural world is in our hands, sustainable practice needs to become the norm. Businesses can play a vital part in this, they are perfect for setting a good example, leading the way in sustainability, inspiring, sharing ideas and promoting sustainable tips on social media platforms, with customers, and in advertisement 

Businesses throughout the sector in Wales are eligible to apply for Green Key. This includes bed and breakfasts, hotels, self-catering accommodation, camp sites, conference centres, restaurants and attractions.

Nick Ashby, Green Key Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy says:

We’d like to congratulate Penylan Pantry and the Secret Garden Cafe on their success. We’ve seen mounting concern about the damage that’s being caused to our natural environment, so it’s important to recognise and celebrate Welsh businesses that are taking the lead on sustainability.

An important part of Green Key is education of both customers and staff and it’s great to see the Pantry staff taking this to heart by organising trips to help improve their knowledge of green issues, they recently visited a local recycling centre to better understand how their waste is handled and what they can do to prevent waste going to landfill.

 For more information, visit the Green Key website

Weathering the storm with renewable energy

When the Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the bed-and-breakfast Casa Sol with its solar panels on the roof became a centre of support for the whole neighbourhood.

© Marie Fazio: Ramirez with his solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol.

© Marie Fazio: Ramirez with his solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol.

Eddie Ramirez hasn’t forgotten the reaction when he installed solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol, his butterscotch-coloured bed-and-breakfast nestled on a cobblestone street just two blocks from Castillo San Cristóbal, the largest Spanish fort in the New World.

While Ramirez planned, his neighbours laughed.

“People said, ‘Why are you spending all this money, do you really need it?’” recounted Ramirez, who’s 56 years old and has owned Casa Sol for six years. But thanks to those solar panels, Casa Sol regained power just about 24 hours after Hurricane Maria struck. For months, Casa Sol was one of the few buildings in the neighbourhood with regular electricity. 

“When the storm hit they said, ‘Wow,’” Ramirez recalled of his neighbours. “We didn’t really install it because we thought something like this would happen, we just thought we have to put in our little contribution in order to protect the environment.” 

Ramirez was at the forefront of a push toward renewable energy that has swept over the island since Maria’s passage. Before the storm, roughly 2.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s electricity was drawn from renewable energy sources. Today, that figure is about 4 percent, with some neighbourhoods and towns — weary of unpredictable and enduring power outages — forming their own small-scale power grids.

Even though he was preaching the gospel of solar energy in the face of doubters, Ramirez was far from smug about his foresight or selfish with his good fortune. In the months after the storm, he left the doors of Casa Sol open for anyone who might need draw a bit of energy from the batteries that stored the power his solar panels collected.

Some came to charge appliances and cell phones or do laundry. Families stored breast milk and life-saving medications in his refrigerators. One man powered his sleep apnea machine at night. During one particular stretch, he recalled, as many 100 people a day would visit.

“Casa Sol came to be a centre of support during or after the storm for all our community and our neighbours,” Ramirez said.

Support, and also, it seems, inspiration. Today, more than a few of Ramirez’s neighbours also have solar panels.


Original article by Marie Fazio for Notre Dame Journalism


International auditing company supports Green Key with on-site audits

Control Union and Green Key have formalised a cooperation with the aim of having Control Union conducting Green Key on-site audits.

Control Union logo.jpg

Control Union is an international auditing company founded in the Netherlands in 2002, but today Control Union has national offices in 70 countries around the world. The company has a long track record of conducting audits in many areas of operation, including sustainability audits within the hospitality industry. 

Johan Maris, Director at Control Union, says: “We are happy to be able to extend our large portfolio of services to include Green Key onsite audits, and with the Control Union offices in many countries around the world, we are often able to identify a local auditor to reduce travel costs and carbon emission.”

Through the agreement, Control Union is offering its service of being able to conduct Green Key onsite audits at applicant establishments located in countries without a Green Key National Operator.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, International Director at Green Key adds: “We are experiencing a growing interest in Green Key from establishments all over the world, and with our strict system of having regular onsite audits we will need additional third-party auditors, so Control Union with its large network of national offices fit well to our needs.”  

Calculate the benefits of switching to green cleaning products

As climate, energy, and plastics problems are being discussed across the globe, it is getting more important to point out existing solutions of environmental pioneers. The PERFORMANCE CALCULATOR of our partner green care PROFESSIONAL is a tool that shows the exact savings on crude oil, plastics and CO2 when products from the green care PROFESSIONAL line are used.

Hotel Example_GreenKey.JPG

The green care PERFORMANCE CALCULATOR ascertains the crude oil savings from the packaging weight, product ingredients and the share of recyclates contained in the packaging and converts them into CO2 equivalents. The customer obtains a summary of a measurable, certified value and meaningful evidence of the actual efficiency of green products. The calculator is available free of charge at

After a period of use of green care PROFESSIONAL products, the real savings can be certified and added to any CSR report or used in marketing of a tourism establishments. Many products of the green care PROFESSIONAL range trust on the EU Ecolabel certification and the additional circular label of the Cradle-to-Cradle® Institute.

Even if an establishment doesn’t plan to replace its cleaning products with green care PROFESSIONAL products, the calculator is a useful tool to estimate the environmental footprint of its conventional cleaning products.

The calculation was validated by environmental auditors and acknowledged as one the first footprint calculation tool for recycled plastics:

Nominations include the Amsterdam Innovation Award at the INTERCLEAN exhibition and best practice example at the Circular Economy meeting in October 2018 run by the French government. Most recently it received the silver prize for innovative solutions in cleaning services at the Europrope cleaning fair in Paris.

The manufacturer behind the brand is the Werner & Mertz Group and well known across Europe for its pioneering cleaning eco-brands like “Frosch”, “Rainett” aside green care PROFESSIONAL.

It also received many packaging prizes for its first-time developments of 100% recycled plastic materials and is one of the highlighted partners within the Ellen MacArthur foundation looking to preserve the oceans.

GEPC footprint_4.jpg

Park Inn Duqm wins Sustainability Hotel of the Year Award

Green Key is proud to announce that the Park Inn by Radisson Duqm Hotel & Residence in Oman has been named the “Sustainability Hotel of the Year” at the Leaders in Hospitality Awards.

Park Inn by Radisson Duqm Sustainability Hotel of the Year Award 2019.jpg

The annual industry award is organised by the Hotel & Catering News Middle East magazine. The “Sustainable Hotel Award” demonstrates an excellence in sustainability practices across energy efficiency, waste management and social responsibility. 


Faiza Al Balushi Cluster HR Manager for Park Inn Hotels in Oman says “We are committed in educating and facilitating for our employees and to make a conscious decision in favor of environmental, ethical and social issues in their private and work lives. In addition, we Inform and make it easy for our guests to participate in responsible business and environmental activities at our hotels.

 “We creating awareness as environmental credentials are becoming more and more important to travelers when they are trying to decide on a place to stay. We will maintain and continue what we have started to provide the best service and facilities to our guests and employees.” Nuno Neves, Cluster General Manager for Park Inn Hotels in Oman.

 In 2017 Park Inn by Radisson, Muscat hotel, picked up at the same award and was the only hotel in Oman nominated in competing with the other hospitality industries in the Middle East. Both Park Inn by Radisson hotels in Oman are actively engaged in Radisson Hotel Group’s Responsible Business programme.


Green Key present at the Independent Hotel Show

At the Independent Hotel Show, Green Key’s International Director participated in a panel discussion about why sustainability is good for the hotel industry.


The Independent Hotel Show is a yearly tourism fair for hotels and other hospitality facilities. For the first time, the event was held in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and included a session about sustainability in the seminar programme. Finn Bolding Thomsen (Green Key International Director) was invited to participate in a panel discussion about why sustainability is good for the hotel industry.

The panel discussion was led by Marie-Noelle Keijzer from WeForest, and other panelists were Inge van Weert from QO Amsterdam and Marco Lemmers from Conscious Hotel Group. Both hotel groups have a very high focus on sustainability, and all hotels in the Conscious Hotel Group hold the Green Key award.


Finn Bolding Thomsen informed about the Green Key programme and how research (e.g. from shows that travellers are increasingly interested in staying in accommodations that work with sustainability. A number of companies have the requirement in their CSR policy to use sustainable accommodation and conference facilities, and in some countries, public authorities have similar requirements as part of their public purchasing policy.

To the question about whether implementing sustainability is expensive for hotels, Finn Bolding Thomsen highlighted that training and information lead to change in the behaviour of staff and guests and contribute to sustainability without other investments. Change of light bulbs and water saving devices have a cost, but as the price of energy and water is increasing, the return on investment is faster. More sophisticated changes require an investment, and there was a discussion about the possibility to charge guests a slightly higher price as a consequence of the work with sustainability. During the panel discussion, there was also a discussion about how hotels should lead the way in reducing their carbon emission before asking guests to compensate the carbon emission of their stay. The panel discussion was very well attended.