The Green Key to your holiday
February 20, 2008
Eco-labels are for services too, not just for products.
The Green Key
is a diploma awarded companies within tourism: hotels, youth hostels, conference- and holiday centres, campsites, holidayhouses, leisure facilities and restaurants.
It began in Denmark in 1994 for hotels. France joined in 1998 and started labelling camping sites. The Green Key currently runs in six countries, with others due to join, as one of the Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) campaigns. The range of tourism products covered has expanded greatly since then. (I find talking about tourism “products” rather than services a bit strange in normal conversation, but it is what they say it is!)
The Green Key covers technical criteria, management criteria and criteria on communication. Places awarded the Green Key are checked to ensure they continue to meet the standards.
Each national Green Key campaign is overseen by a national steering group with representation from authorities, NGOs and business associations.
The Green Key site states that investigations have shown that Green Key businesses use 20% less electricity, 25% less energy for heating, and 27% less water per guest than non-Green Key businesses.
Compared to other eco-labels on tourism products, the Green Key…
is unique in the sense that it focuses on environmental education. The criteria make demands on staff, guests and suppliers in involvement in the international work. Also The Green Key is international and supported by consumer groups, NGOs, authorities, and business associations. No other eco-label – including the EU Flower and the Nordic Swan – is recognised so widely.
[Ed. in the above, links to my previous articles added and minor changes to text]
For Green Key organisations wherever you’re going, look at the countries’ own sites on Green Key’s Contacts page. Currently* schemes run in – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Morocco. Development of the scheme is underway in – Japan, Montenegro, Malta, Kazakhstan.
Incidental factoids: In Denmark it’s known as Den Grønne Nøgle, and in France as La Clef Verte.
This entry is part of the Infomancy Eco-Symbols Series.
Update – 2008/03/29: Thanks to Green Key for a revised list of countries with the scheme in place, included above now, which will be updated on their site at some point.