Global Goals

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #8

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. 

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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 8: "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all".

According to the UN, "increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth." In this context, sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products has been identified as one tool for achieving goal 8. The more a tourism business is integrated into the local social and economic environment, the more benefits will be generated for the whole local community. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 8?

Green Key gives a frame for the implementation of sustainable tourism as the programme helps to reduce the use of sources and to increase the environmental efficiency of tourism establishments. Furthermore, Green Key encourages the support of local economies and promotes equality and inclusiveness in working environments. 

  • Many of Green Key's criteria aim at improving the resource efficiency in consumption of water, energy, food and other resources to lower the environmental footprint of the tourism establishments
  • All establishments must be in compliance with international, national and local legislation and CSR policies regarding enviornemnt, health, safety and labour (criterion 11.1)
  • Green Key promotes equality in the work space (criterion 11.3) 
  • Establishments awarded with the Green Key are encouraged to support the local economy by purchasing and offering local products and services (criterion 8.1, 11.5, 13.7)
  • Suppliers and third-party businesses in the Green Key establishments are encouraged to follow the same spirit as the Green Key awarded establishments (criterion 13.3 &13.5)

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

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Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #7

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 7: "Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all".

The tourism and hospitality industry is an energy-intensive sector, requiring electricity for its facilities and the provision of tourism-related services such as accommodation, catering and tourism experiences. According to UNEP and UNWTO, tourism is responsible of about 5% of global CO2 emissions. The accommodation sector alone accounts for approximately 20% of emissions from tourism.*

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 7?

Green Key has a whole category of criteria dealing with energy, encompassing over 20 requirements and guidelines. The criteria help tourism establishment to both monitor and reduce their energy consumption (see category 7 in our criteria documents). 

  • Using energy-efficient light bulbs (criterion 7.3) and devices (criterion 7.8, 7.13 , 7.17 and 7.27) is an integral part of the Green Key programme.
  • Awarded establishments have to reduce their energy consumption by applying smart energy management systems and solutions such as:
    • Adjusting the heating and air-conditioning control systems according to seasonal changes or when the establishment’s facilities are not in use (criterion 7.2)
    • Having a written procedure regarding electric devices in empty bedrooms (criterion 7.9)
    • Defining a standard temperature for cooling and heating in guest rooms (criterion 7.10)
    • Minimising lighting with motion detectors, automatic switch-offs or daylight sensors (criterion 7.11, 7.19 and 7.20)
    • Having the key-card system or another systems that switches off electricity when guests leave the room (criterion 7.19)
    • Air-conditioning and heating automatically switching off when windows are opened (criterion 7.22)
    • Implementing a heat recovery system (criterion 7.23)
  • Properly maintaining and cleaning electric devices to reduce their energy consumption, such as ventilation systems (criterion 7.5 & 7.6), fat filters (criterion 7.4) and draught excluders (criterion 7. 7)
  • Monitoring the energy consumption by registering the monthly energy figures (criterion 7.1.), installing separate electricity metres in the establishment (criterion 7.21) and having an energy audit carried out every 5 years (criterion 7.14) 
  • Insulating the buildings (criterion 7.24), windows (criterion 7.12) and hot water pipes (criterion 7.25) to prevent the loss of energy
  • Promoting the use of eco-certified or renewable energies (criterion 7.16)
  • Informing guests about energy saving initiatives of the establishment and encouraging them to reduce their energy consumption during their stay (criterion 3.4 & 3.7)
  • To help tourism establishments to measure their carbon footprint, Green Key is offering a free calculation tool on its website

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

*“Climate Change and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges”, UNEP and UNWTO, 2007

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #6

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 6: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all"

Tourism can be a major factor in the water consumption of a region and even of a whole country. Water is used in the bathrooms of tourism accommodations, in the kitchens, for swimming pools and spa areas, for washing and cleaning and for irrigating gardens and parks. To lower the water footprint of tourism establishments, it is both important to use latest water saving technologies and solutions, as well as to educate the staff and guests about how to save water. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 6?

Many of Green Key's criteria deal with the reduction of the consumption of water and the protection of water-related ecosystems as well as freshwater sources:

  • Green Key Key has a whole category of criteria dealing with practices that reduce the consumption of water (see category 4 in our criteria documents). These include adjusting the water flow in taps and showers, using devices with a lower water consumption and regularly checking for leaks. 
  • To protect water-related ecosystems and to prevent the pollution of drinking water sources all Green Key awarded establishments either have to be connected to an existing public sewage system or have to have an own wastewater treatment system on-site (criterion 4.9).
  • Furthermore, cleaning products have to be environmentally sound (criterion 5.2 and 5.6)
  • The programme has also strict guidelines when it comes to the storage and handling of hazardous waste that could potentially harm the environment (criterion 6.7 and 6.8)
  • To reduce the water consumption in the garden and park areas of Green Key awarded establishments, smart watering systems have to be implemented (criterion 10.3), and it is encouraged to collect and use rainwater (criterion 10.5). In addition, the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers is not allowed.
  • Green Key believes that the education of staff is one main factor in reducing the water consumption in a tourism establishment. All staff members have to be aware of the establishment's water saving initiatives (criterion 2.4) and the housekeeping staff must be aware of and implement the procedures regarding the towel and sheet reuse (criterion 2.5)
  • Next to informing the staff about the water saving initiatives, Green Key awarded establishments also have to inform and involve their guests (criterion 3.4). Information about water saving must be visible for every guest (criterion 3.7). There must be also signs in the rooms informing guests that sheets and/or towels will only be changed upon request (criterion 5.1)
  • Green Key awarded establishments are also encouraged to actively supports green activities or initiatives for social community development including, among others, sanitation (criterion 11.4)
  • To help tourism establishments to measure their water footprint, Green Key is offering a free calculation tool on it's website 

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

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #5

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 5: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".

According to the UN, "Gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms."

Although women make up the majority of the workforce in tourism in most parts of the world, they are mainly employed in low-paid jobs and in those with a lower status, such as housekeeping. Furthermore, many women are engaged in unpaid work for family businesses, which excludes them from formal employment and the possibility to develop a professional career. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 5?

In 2016, Green Key expanded its criteria with a new section called "Corporate Social Responsibility" to make sure that the programme does not only consider environmental issues but also social responsibility.

Criterion 11.3 explicitly encourages awarded sites to be equitable in hiring women in all positions.

Furthermore, it is imperative for all Green Key awarded establishments, e.g. as part of their CSR policy, that their employees receive fair treatment without discrimination (criterion 11.1). 

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

 

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.

 

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #3

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 3: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". 

According to the UN, Goal 3 "seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The Goal addresses all major health priorities, including reproductive, maternal and child health; communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines. It also calls for more research and development, increased health financing, and strengthened capacity of all countries in health risk reduction and management."

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 3?

Green Key's criteria promote the health and well-being of the staff of the establishments, but especially helps to indirectly achieve target 3.9 which addresses death and illnesses due to environmental pollution: 

  • All Green Key awarded establishments have to treat their waste water to ensure that it does not enter into the sea or the groundwater body. (criterion 4.9) 
  • The use of hazardous chemicals must be kept at a minimum in awarded establishments. This especially applies to cleaning products. Green Key has its own blacklist of hazardous compounds that must not be found in these daily cleaning products. Disinfection substances may only be used in limited amounts, and it is also recommended to avoid fragranced products  (criterion 5.2, 5.3 & 5.8)
  • In addition, Green Key has strict criteria on the storage and transport of hazardous chemicals and waste in general (criterion 6.7 & 6.8)
  • Green Key expects a well-organised waste management from its awarded establishments to prevent environmental pollution (criterion 6.1-6.4)
  • Because CFCs contribute to ozone depletion,  pumps and refrigeration plants that use CFC or HCFC refrigerants are not allowed in Green Key awarded establishments (criterion 6.5)
  • Green Key promotes a smoke-free environment. At least 75% of the rooms in an awarded establishment have to be smoke free, and restaurants should be non-smoking or at least have a non-smoking section. (criterion 9.1 & 9.2)
  • If the awarded establishments are refurbishing their premises, Green Key also recommends to use environmentally friendly products such as paints e.g. (criterion 9.4)
  • In the garden areas of awarded establishments, it is not allowed to use chemical pesticides or fertilisers that could harm the environment. (criterion 10.1)
  • Concerning the health and well-being of the employees, Green Key expects that the establishments are in compliance with international, national and local legislation and its CSR policies regarding environment, health, safety and labour. (criteria 11.1)

 

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

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #2

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 2: "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture". 

According to the UN, "Goal 2 aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It also commits to universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food at all times of the year. This will require sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices, equal access to land, technology and markets and international cooperation on investments in infrastructure and technology to boost agricultural productivity." In the link above, you can read about the targets and indicators to Goal 2. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 2?

The Green Key criteria include several requirements and guidelines that promote sustainable food production and support local agricultural businesses:

  • Each Green Key awarded establishment must purchase and register at least three types of food/drink products that are organic, ecolabelled, fair-trade labelled and/or locally produced. By this means, each establishment supports sustainable food producers and stimulates the local economy. (criterion 8.1)
  • In addition, Green Key awarded sites are encouraged to take initiatives to buy seasonal products, less meat products and no products from endangered fish, seafood or other species to make their meals more sustainable. (criterion 8.3)
  • The Green Key programme supports vegetarian alternatives on the menu card as meat-free dishes have a lower environmental footprint. (criterion 8.5)
  • The Green Key criteria also promote the active support of activities or initiatives for social community development including, among others, education, health, sanitation and infrastructure. This includes initiatives for the provision of basic food, water and energy services. (criterion 11.4)
  • The programme promotes the provision of means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products in the establishment. This includes the possibility for local farmers or food producers to either sell their products to the hotel or directly to the guests (criterion 11.5)

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

 

 

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #1

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism, guiding tourism establishments in doing 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 1: "End poverty in all its forms everywhere".

What is Goal 1 about?

According to the UN " Goal 1 calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030. It also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increase access to basic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters." In the link above, you can read about the targets and indicators to Goal 1. 

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 1?

The Green Key criteria include several requirements and guidelines that indirectly contribute to the eradication of poverty:

  • All employees are paid at least a living wage, so the salary is not below the legal minimum salary. (criterion 11.1)
  • All Green Key awarded sites are encouraged to be equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions, while restraining from child labour. (criterion 11.3)
  • Green Key awarded sites are asked to actively supports green activities or initiatives for social community development including, among others, education, health, sanitation and infrastructure. (criterion 11.4)
  • The programme promotes the provision of means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history, and culture. (criterion 11.5)
  • Local food products are to be preferably purchased by the Green Key awarded sites to support the local economy and to shorten transportation routes. (criterion 8.1)
  • The Green Key awarded establishments are advised to purchase local and fair-trade services and goods to stimulate the businesses in the local area and contribute to the reduction of transportation costs. (criterion 13.7)

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