Eco stamp for India’s hotel industry launched - GulfToday

Eco stamp for India’s hotel industry launched

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Illustrative image.

Illustrative image.

India’s Centre for Environment Education (CEE) is all set to introduce another environmental sustainability certification of Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in India meant for the hospitality industry — Green Key. On World Environmental Day (5 June), Centre for Environment Education (CEE) launched the implementation of the Green Key programme in India.

In a press release, Kartikeya V. Sharabhai, Director of CEE, said, “On 5 June 2018, World Environment Day, we launched the Green Key Programme in India. The hospitality industry and tourism authorities are today increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint and the Green Key Programme gives them a methodology to reach international standards. We will be implementing the Programme across India through our central office in Ahmedabad and our various regional/project offices across the country. With CEE having a lot of experience in initiatives related to education for sustainable development and various eco-tourism programmes, we are looking forward to engaging Green Key to further support tourism establishments in India with their sustainability efforts.”

The Green Key ecolabel is a standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. More than 3,000 establishments in 60+ countries have been Green Key certified, making it one of the largest international tourism ecolabels for accommodation.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, International Green Key Director said in the press release, “With major countries in Asia increasing their focus on tourism and sustainable development, it is a priority for Green Key to enlarge our presence in the region. We are therefore delighted that CEE has decided to launch the programme in India through its extensive network, making Green Key easily offered to any hotel and tourism establishment in India.”

According to the Green Key website, the Green Key certificate is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. This prestigious certificate represents a commitment by businesses that their tourism establishments adhere to the strict criteria stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). A Green Key stands for an establishment’s promise to its guests that by opting to stay with such an establishment, they are helping to make a difference on an environmental and sustainability level. The high environmental standards expected of these establishments are maintained through rigorous documentation and frequent audits.

Establishments with a Green Key certification are closely monitored to ensure that they are adhering to the label’s strict sustainability standards. In addition, the establishments are required to continually improve their performance in line with the Green Key criteria. Prior to being certified for the first time, an on-site audit of the applicant establishment is carried out. This audit is then conducted again in year two, and thereafter every third year. In years without on-site audits, the decision to certify is based on an evaluation of certain documents. In some countries, the audit process may even be stricter, but it will never be less stringent. All hotels, hostels, small accommodations, campsites, holiday parks, conference centres, restaurants, and tourist attractions worldwide can apply for the Green Key ecolabel.

Green Key has 4000+ certified establishments in 65 countries, which makes it one of the most geographically widespread tourism certificates in the world. In more than 40 countries, national Green Key operators are responsible for the management of the programme. The Green Travel Index (GTI) has also been developed and the database should therefore help the industry in making socially and environmentally friendly travel offers more comparable. The GTI is the first global B2B platform to position sustainable content in the mainstream tourism distribution channels. As a neutral, independent and non-bookable platform, the GTI delivers information from registered, sustainably certified companies to the travel chain with the goal to not only make touristic products more visible and easily accessible but also to raise consumer awareness and facilitate bookings. All Green Key members are automatically listed in the GTI.

The CEE had earlier also initiated the Blue Flag programme, which is a world-renowned eco-label certification for beaches, marinas and boats. It is operated under the auspices of the FEE. The programme was initiated in France in 1985 and is currently implemented in 49 countries. The CEE is the National Operating Agency for Blue Flag in India. The main focus this year, according to the CEE website, is to initiate and demonstrate an internationally recognised beach certification programme that empowers local self-government institutions from the coastal states and Union Territories to sustainably manage their beach areas.

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