Unlocking Sustainability in the Tourism Industry

Green Key is a voluntary program, which is a commitment to ecological behavior, an environmental compliance label, a symbol which signifies the full adoption of conditions which constitute an ecological profile, a model of excellence for all those who combine development with sustainability and ensure operation without environmental burden.

In 1994, Denmark became the first country to apply it for the first time, while in 2002 the program was adopted by the Foundation for Environmental Education, an international NGO based in Denmark that focuses all its activities for a sustainable world through education. The Foundation’s programs include except the Green Key, the Blue Flag, Eco-Schools, Υoung reporters fot the Environmental and the Learning about forests.

In 2009, Green Key was launched in Greece, where it was immediately recognized and implemented by dozens of establishments. Within a few years, the certified with the Green Key ecolabel establishments are rapidly increased. In Greece, the national operator of the Green Key program is the oldest environmental organization with decades of proven work record, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature.

By choosing a Green Key awarded establishment we reduce our environmental footprint without compromising comfort and quality.

For the certification of a hospitality establishment with the Green Key, strict environmental criteria and requirements are set. The Green Key program operators, document with strict and continuous audits the adherence to the criteria and the requirements stipulated by the organization, according to the international standards of the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Green Key is addressed to:

  • Hotels
  • Small Accommodations
  • Guest Houses
  • Hostels
  • Convention centers
  • Restaurants
  • Catering
  • Camping, Campsites, Glamping
  • Theme Parks
  • Museum

Our goal is :

The main goal of the Green Key is to reduce the footprint of tourism establishments in the environment. To achieve this goal, Green Key aims to:

  • the use of environmentally friendly products, the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies and to the overall operation of the establishments included in the tourism industry in a way that does not burden the environment and does not contribute to the depletion of natural resources.
  • raise awareness in employees of the tourism industry businesses and their guests and suppliers, in saving the environment and reversing global warming, and the depletion of natural resources. As a result, Green Key aims to the behavioral change of people and the
  • adoption of daily practices that safeguard the environment.
  • increase the use of environmentally sustainable methods, friendly to the environment, as a result of public awareness and the shift of the tourism industry into the model of environmentally sustainable development.

You have the power to choose among the hotels of your choice, those that have Green Key environmental certification and support those companies which implement environmental sustainable development practices.

Green Key& the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the sustainable tourism sector, guiding the tourism establishments in doing their part in order to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. Select each of the following goals to find more information on how Green Key contributes to Sustainable Development Goals.

Frequent questions

The green key on a blue background, the Green Key ecolabel, certifies environmental care and management of the tourism establishment that bears it. Until the end of 2018, Green Key was awarded to 5,000 tourism establishments in 60 countries around the world, confirming its contribution to the tourism industry.

The awarded establishments can be recognized by this logo:

For an establishment to be Green Key awarded it must comply with all the strict criteria stipulated by the international Foundation for Environmental Education. These criteria confirm that the tourism establishment contributes to sustainable development and has integrated all the environmental management practices in its operation. Furthermore, Green Key guarantees the avoidance of any misinformation an organization can spread to present a false environmentally responsible public image by using a third-party entity to verify the certification it provides. Finally, all Green Key awarded establishments are required to renew their award every year, otherwise the certification is removed.

Worldwide, tourism establishments belonging to any of the following categories can apply for the Green Key ecolabel:

  • Hotels
  • Small Accommodations with up to 20 rooms
  • Serviced Rooms & Apartments
  • Guest Houses
  • Small hotels
  • Hostels
  • Convention centers
  • Restaurants
  • Catering
  • Camping
  • Campsites
  • National Parks
  • Zoological Parks
  • Amusement Sites

The participation cost consists of the following:

  • Registration fee: Lump sum, after the payment of which a login code for the platform is generated.
  • Annual Participation Cost
  • Audit cost

Each of the above is formed according to the classification and the capacity of the establishments. Click here to see our Payment Policy.

To be Green Key awarded, the applicant must successfully complete all the stages of the application process, which consists of four parts:

  • Completion of the participation dossier (application & supporting documents)
  • On-site counseling assessment
  • The positive decision to award the ecolabel.
  • Annual renewal of the award (it has a validity of 12 months)

Application forms:

The award with the Green Key label is valid for 12 months and therefore must be renewed annually.

The duration of the application process may vary from establishment to establishment, depending on the current sustainability levels that each establishment has achieved. On behalf of the Green Key group, FREE counseling is provided in order for the establishment concerned to implement as soon as possible the required actions and receive the material of the award.

Applications may be submitted throughout the year. Once the dossier regarding the participation is fully completed (application form and supporting documents) evaluation by the National Assessment Jury is required. The National Assessment Jury meets 2-3 times a year to evaluate both the new concerned establishments and the renewal of the participation of the existing ones.

All the establishments with the Green Key certification are continuously monitored to ensure that they continue to adhere to all the criteria for which they are certified. On-site audits are repeated every year during the first three years and after that every three years, while if it is not possible to carry out an on-site audit, the decision regarding the award is taken with the evaluation of the submitted valid and confirmed documents sent by the establishment that wishes to be awarded.

The establishment is committed to fulfill the requirements to participate not only in the Green Key but also in the sustainable development of the industry it belongs to, it has ally and counselor who helps where and when needed in order to continue to maintain its environmental profile. With the Green Key contribution, the establishment acquires the know-how to motivate its staff and ensure the participation of its guests in its environmental management program. Moreover, the Green Key awarded establishment has managed to save resources and therefore reduce operating costs, and become part of a network with green business behavior, which responsibly attracts an additional audience that is interested in “green” guest accommodations, thus increasing its revenues. Green Key awarded establishments may share knowledge and experience and are included in more online booking-presentation platforms, such as travel agencies’ websites which present Green Key establishments, “green” tourism sites which mention the Green Key awarded establishments and course the Green Key booking platform.

  • Reduction of operating costs through the suggested practices related to water-, energy- and waste management, etc.
  • Additional quality of the establishment’s offered services
  • More powerful Marketing tools. Use of the logo and the award throughout the promotional material.
  • Attraction of a different target group of guests. Increase the number of environmentally aware customers.
  • Listing of the awarded establishments in the national (www.greenkey.gr) and international website of the program (www.greenkey.global).
  • Award of promotion points in the ranking of the establishments by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels. The awarded establishments receive 150 points.
  • Online Reservations Engine” along with the creation of a “loyalty club” for the development of a database of customers who chose green accommodations.

With the “green key” on the door:

  • You become easily and quickly recognizable because you are present in yet another booking engine, the electronic bookings of Green Key.
  • You can be found by many more tourists with environmental awareness.
  • Your online bookings increase and therefore your revenues increase.
  • Travelers have one more reason to book their stay with you: They are actively rewarded for it!
  • You improve your image with the corporate social responsibility program that you implement.
  • You help the local community and the Greek economy.

For further information, please contact Green Key Greece.

Tel: 210 322 49 44 (ext. 107 & 111)
Email: greenkey@eepf.gr