GreenKey? Say What? signed a partnership with Green Key. What Green Keys are, why they are such a big deal and what we'll do with them at eventplanner Kevin discusses with International Green Key Director Finn Bolding Thomsen.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Hi Finn, welcome to our studio.


Hello, thank you very much.


We’re going to talk about the Green Keys, but what is Green Key, exactly?


Green Key is an Eco Label for hotels, conference centers and for other categories. We have about 2,600 establishments that are awarded with a Green Key in 56 countries. Which makes us one of the largest Eco Labels in the world. We are a little bit more than 20 years old. It was founded by the Danish Hotel and Restaurant Association. But today it’s managed by an international charity. And I’m working at Green Key International. And then we have national offices in most countries around the world.


What does a venue organization need to do to get a Green Key?


Well, on our website one can see the requirements, the Green Key criteria and explanatory notes for the different categories. And in order for a hotel or a conference venue to get the Green Key, they need to send in an application. There are some demands to supplementary documents. You need to receive an onsite audit. So it’s not just a desktop study, but actually you are receiving an audit, which is also in our spirit of the dialogue based way of being that we are. So we prefer to be in a dialogue with our applicant establishments. And after the onsite audit there is always an independent entity who decides. So either the auditor is what we call third party, so completely independent from us, or it can be one of our staff who does the audit. But then there is an independent national or international jury who takes the decision about it. And that’s the process you have to go through once a year in order to maintain the Green Key. So it’s updated every year.


Oh, okay. Can you give an example of such a criteria? Is it for example, you have to use green energy or how do I have to see that?


Yeah, we have 13 different sections in our criteria list. You can say they fall into three different types of categories or groups. One is environmental management, so that would be saving of water, saving of energy, as you mentioned, reduction of waste, work with food and beverage, work with the cleaning products and so on. The second group relates to Corporate Social Responsibility. So it’s more criteria dealing with the CSR policy of the establishment. That it’s working to include the surrounding community. To engage and hire staff that are also maybe less advantaged and so on. And the third category deals with awareness raising. So basically it’s the education and training of the staff in the establishments. It’s information to the guests coming, working with the suppliers and working with the local community. All of these you have to go through in order to get the Green Key. Some criteria are imperative, or most criteria are imperative, I mean, you have to comply with them. Others are guideline and for those criteria you have to comply with an increasing number of the guideline criteria over the years.


Most of our viewers are event planners, why is the Green Key a big deal for them? Why should they choose a venue that has a Green Key?


Well, Green Key is the symbol of an establishment, a hotel or a conference venue, having worked with its sustainability in general, with the environmental management, the CSR and their awareness raising. And at the same time I am experiencing that more and more companies, public authorities and so on, organizing venues. They are actually requesting it at the place where they are going or where their guests are sleeping does have these kind of standards. And Green Key makes it easy for event planners to actually work with these kinds of goals.


Okay. Because we believe at Eventplanner in your course, we recently signed an agreement. We started working together. Can you explain shortly what we will do?


Yeah, sure. We are very proud and happy to have this agreement with Eventplanner. That includes that every two months we will send you an updated list of all the Green Key awarded hotels. Because as you can imagine new … not just hotels and conference facilities and so on, as you can imagine, new establishments enter, some might fall out and so on. So that’s why we send you this updated list, and you will then post it on your website. So making it really, really super easy for event planners to find out where are the Green Key awarded establishments.


Indeed. We’re very proud of that, that we can offer that information to our users. Finn, I really want to thank you for your time and explaining what Green Key is and why it’s important for event planners.


Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.