The most famous international label for sustainable tourism, Green Key is increasingly appealing to travelers looking for a positive travel experience on ecological and social levels. But is this certification really reliable? What are the criteria taken into account by the auditors? Become a connoisseur of the Green Key label and discover what a labeled establishment looks like through 4 examples of eco-responsible accommodations referenced on Ethik & Trips.
Presentation of the Green Key label
What is the Green Key label?
Managed by the Foundation for Education and the Environment (FEE), the Green Key label is an international certification present in more than 60 countries. It rewards the initiatives of tourist establishments in terms of respect for the environment and support for local populations. In France, the label has existed since 1998.
It is the first international sustainable tourism label for accommodations and restaurants, with more than 4,000 labeled establishments. In 2023, France is the country with the most labeled addresses. A great victory for ecological tourism in France!
Who can obtain the Green Key label?
Many establishments can obtain the precious Green Key sesame:
- Tourist accommodations (hotels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, furnished accommodations, vacation villages, youth hostels, conference centers, etc);
- Amusement parks;
How to obtain the Green Key label?
The criteria of the label
The Green Key label rewards tourist establishments that implement socially and environmentally committed actions. To obtain this certification, a certain number of management practices of the candidate establishment are scrutinized:
- Waste management policy, including the implementation of appropriate reduction, collection and recycling practices;
- Resource conservation, including water and energy;
- Responsible purchasing practices (maintenance and food);
- Customer awareness.
60 imperative criteria constitute the Green Key label. Other recommended criteria are added to allow each establishment to progressively improve.
All the conditions of participation are available on the Green Key label website.
The process for obtaining the label
To obtain the certification, establishments must provide evidence of their actions in each of the identified areas. Compost, bulk purchases, solar panels, rainwater recovery systems, use of eco-labeled cleaning products are all measures that can be rewarded by the label's evaluation jury.
The jury in charge of awarding the label is composed of a group of partner organizations and professionals from the environment and tourism sectors. The criteria are reviewed and updated every 4 years to meet current requirements and to adapt the label to environmental issues and technological advances.
Candidate accommodations begin by filling out an online file to assess their suitability for the criteria. Then, an auditor will visit the establishment to check the compliance with the criteria and also to suggest ways to improve. The Green Key team accompanies the establishment from the submission of the application to the jury that decides on the awarding of the label. Establishments are then subject to regular audits to verify the sustainability of their compliance with the Green Key label criteria.
Read also: Get to know the European Ecolabel, another reliable label for sustainable tourism.
4 examples of Green Key labeled accommodations
In this section, discover some examples of accommodations that have obtained the precious Green Key label and are referenced on Ethik & Trips, the platform for eco-responsible accommodations around the world.
L'info en plus !Ethik & Trips est déjà partenaire Clef Verte en France. La plateforme est en train de signer un partenariat avec Green Key International. Attendez-vous à trouver de plus en plus d'hébergements touristiques labellisés dans le catalogue !
#1 Zazie Hôtel, a committed hotel in the 12th district of Paris
Zazie Hôtel is a colorful and welcoming accommodation in the heart of the capital! The first tourist hotel in Paris to receive the Entreprise Solidaire et d'Utilité Sociale label, the establishment stands out for its strong social and ecological commitment. Among the iconic actions of Zazie Hôtel, we can mention :
- The conservation of water and energy, notably with a system of looping the water supply, flow reducers at the taps and the exclusive use of low consumption light bulbs;
- The purchase of responsible products, both for food and maintenance;
- The use of refurbished electronic appliances and household appliances, as well as the use of second-hand furniture;
- The absence of individual packaging, the installation of recycling garbage cans in the rooms, the sale of bamboo toothbrushes and water bottles to reduce waste.
Book your stay at Zazie Hôtel.
#2 Chez Gendron, an ecological camping in Gironde
Ghez Gendron is a family campsite located in Saint-Palais, near Blaye. The place is conducive to a relaxing and friendly vacation. Chalets, lodge tents, mobile homes, bare pitches: it's up to you to choose your accommodation solution according to your desires and your budget.
The campsite has set up a number of social and ecological actions:
- The organization of a farmers' market once a week to discover local artisans;
- Outings with a guide to discover the local biodiversity;
- Measures to limit the use of resources, such as solar panels, water flow limiters, LED lamps;
- Management without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, as well as limited lighting to avoid disturbance of the local biodiversity as much as possible;
- Limiting waste thanks to a composter and a purified water fountain.
Book your stay at Chez Gendron.
#3 Camina Cortina, a hotel with spa in the Dolomites
Let's leave the borders of France to show that luxury and ecology are not incompatible in the field of tourism! Camina Cortina is an exceptional hotel nestled in the heart of the steep Dolomite mountain range. Stay in one of the 12 luxurious, warm and spacious suites with a magnificent balcony facing the mountains.
Don't miss the spa on the top floor of the hotel. 100 square meters of wellness area with sauna, steam bath and hydrotherapy treatments await you.
Camina Cortina also does not skimp on actions for a desirable future for all:
- The hotel is very well insulated and powered by renewable solar energy. The hotel is very well insulated and powered by renewable solar energy. Automatic management systems are installed in all rooms to avoid wasting energy;
- The hotel offers electric bicycles for rent to encourage hotel guests to visit the surrounding area in soft mobility;
- The rooms are cleaned with eco-labeled products;
- The hotel favors local producers as much as possible;
- The staff is trained in waste reduction and recycling.
Book your stay at Camina Cortina.
#4 Youth hostels of HI France network
All the youth hostels in the HI France network have been awarded the Green Key label and allow those who aspire to a low-budget vacation to take advantage of an offer of eco-responsible accommodation throughout France.
Discover for example the HI Cadouin youth hostel, located in a magnificent abbey in Dordogne.
After the Green Key label, continue reading and discover the other labels of sustainable tourism, including Green Globe.