How to be sustainable with Green Key?
As a hotel or B&B, do you take nature into account? Wouldn't it be nice if you could inform your customers that they book at an ecological hotel or B&B? Have you heard of the Green Key label? Read this article and discover how you can get recognition for your ecological approach.
Travellers are increasingly aware of the importance of a low footprint and demand that you, as a hotel or B&B, take more account of nature. Many hotels are already doing this, but have not yet found the right way to turn these efforts into a competitive advantage. The ecological plus points can in fact convince guests to book.
A Green Key is an international sustainability label for hotels and the entire tourism sector. But how exactly do you obtain a Green Key? We talked to Jorine Vermeer, project manager of Good Planet, and found out more.
What exactly is a Green Key?
Green Key is an international sustainability label for tourism and leisure. This label offers a clear framework for sustainable entrepreneurship through a clear list of criteria. Moreover, it offers international recognition for the sustainable efforts made as an owner.
In Flanders it is coordinated by Good Planet and in Wallonia Inter-Environnement Wallonie (IEW) coordinates the Green Key label. In Brussels we work together on Green Key.
Why is it important for a hotel/B&B to be considerate of nature?
We believe that sustainability will be the only profitable model in the future. This already gives Green Key operators an advantage and a USP. Of course, it is important to have an eye for nature and the environment in the first place in order to reduce your ecological footprint and thus contribute to the protection of our environment. But you can also save a lot of money by seriously reducing your water and energy consumption.
There are many hotels/B&Bs where sustainability is firmly embedded in their DNA. In this way, it becomes a complete experience concept for the guests.Jorine Vermeer
What criteria should a hotel meet to receive a Green Key?
Green Key includes a wide set of criteria and these criteria are all divided into different domains as you can see in the picture:
Some of the key areas are:
- Energy and water management
- Waste reduction and ecological cleaning products
- Green maintenance and sustainable food (e.g. organic food, local and fair trade products and a vegetarian menu).
- A CSR declaration in which the policy is communicated to the employees and guests and they are thus involved.
What is the procedure for obtaining a Green Key?
There are several steps for obtaining the Green Key label:
- Registration for the Green Key label starts with the self-test. The owner can then fill in whether they already meet the criteria.
- If the location wishes to register, a confirmation must still be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After confirmation of the registration, the auditor will make an inspection visit.
- After this, you will receive a report with points of improvement from the auditor and then you have a few weeks to put this right. Some things take a bit longer, but if you have proof that you have put everything in order, that is enough.
- Next, your file is presented to the jury and discussed. If you meet the criteria, your file will be approved.
- After that, the jury will award the certificate.
What impact has the Green Key project achieved so far?
Worldwide, more than 3200 locations have already been certified in 65 different countries. Belgium is in the top 4 with 246 Green Key locations. All these Green Key sites can guarantee that they make sustainable efforts and systematically keep their ecological footprint low. In Belgium, the number of Green Key locations is still increasing every year, which shows the importance of sustainable entrepreneurship.
© Pictures by Ecohotel Fevery & Made in Louise.