Green lodging certification programs provide numerous benefits for those who run lodging establishments: third-party credibility to demonstrate that what is said is being done is indeed being done; a means for tracking and benchmarking performance; they help to motivate staff to make “green” changes; they increase staff morale; and they increase the marketing and public relations value of a property. In recent years, numerous new certification programs have come along. Many of them are listed below. If you are aware of a certification program that should be included, write to: email@example.com.
Twenty-three states, Puerto Rico, four cities and one region currently have some form of green lodging program. Click here to access a list of links for them.
ASTM/APEX Environmentally Sustainable Events Standards
These standards cover the sustainable best practices of nine sectors in the meeting and events industry including: Accommodations, A/V, Communication and Marketing, Destination, Exhibits, Food and Beverage, Onsite Office, Meeting Venue, and Transportation. Developed in a collaboration between APEX (the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange), the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), and ASTM (An ANSI certified international standard development organization), the standards address the environmental and community impacts of events.
Hotels that have been audited through the Audobon Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program have met environmental best practices standards that are required for their rating of one to five green leafs.
BIOSPHERE Certification, sponsored by the Responsible Tourism Institute, is for destinations, enterprises, establishments and tourist products that have assumed the sustainable touristic management model promoted by the Responsible Tourism System.
Certification for Sustainable Tourism
San Jose, Costa Rica
Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) is a product of the Cost Rican Tourism Institute. It was designed to differentiate tourism sector businesses based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.
EarthCheck is used by travel and tourism organisations around the world to validate their carbon claims and guide their sustainability initiatives. It is one of the largest environmental benchmarking, certification and management solutions in use by the travel industry.
New York City
The EcoChi® 180° Seal confirms that 18 comprehensive guidelines have been met in the areas of sustainability, Classical Feng Shui and environmental psychology. Guidelines are unique to each client, industry and location, and integrate business and leadership goals, opportunities for sustainability, and the intentional use of the space.
Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. EPA offers an Energy Star for Hospitality program to the lodging industry. Energy Star for Hospitality is a proven energy management program that helps hotels measure current energy performance, set goals, and track savings. Buildings that earn the Energy Star use about 35 percent less energy than average buildings.
Green Concierge Project
Mountain Dale, N.Y.
The Green Concierge Project is a HospitalityGreen LLC lodging certification program currently concentrated in the Catskill Watershed Region of New York.
Green Business Bureau
The Green Business Bureau offers a certification program for small to medium-size businesses in the lodging industry.
Green Globe is the worldwide benchmarking and certification program which facilitates sustainable travel and tourism for consumers, companies and communities. The organization’s website includes a list of participating hotels, resorts and lodges.
The Green Globes system is a building environmental design and management tool. It delivers an online assessment protocol, rating system and guidance for green building design, operation and management. It provides market recognition of a building’s environmental attributes through third-party verification.
Green Key is a voluntary eco-label for hotels and hostels, campsites, holiday parks, small accommodations as well as conference centers, attractions and restaurants. The Green Key award is based on compliance with strict criteria in the areas of environmental management (water, energy, waste, cleaning, etc.) and sustainability education (staff, guests, suppliers, etc.). Compliance with the criteria are confirmed through a rigorous application process and verified at on-site audits. The award is valid for one year at a time. Currently, more than 2,500 establishments in over 50 countries are awarded with the Green Key. The program is managed by the international charity, the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green Key is endorsed by the World Tourism Organization and recognised by Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Green Key Global
Green Key Global is a leading GSTC Recognized, international environmental certification body whose suite of industry standard programs and resources has been designed specifically for the lodging and meetings industries. Our affordable programs, including the Green Key Eco-Rating and the Green Key Meetings Programs, help members leverage organizational CSR activities to support their property’s sustainable initiatives, improve overall fiscal performance and community relations. With member properties in over 20 countries and a notable mix of branded and independent members Green Key Global truly is the lodging industry’s certification program of choice.
Green Restaurant Assn.
The Green Restaurant Association, of which hoteliers can be members, provides services in research, consulting, education, marketing and community organizing. The GRA utilizes a collaborative strategy that involves restaurants, manufacturers, vendors, grassroots organizations, government, media and restaurant customers. The GRA’s model provides a convenient way for all sectors of the restaurant industry, which represents 10 percent of the U.S. economy, to become more environmentally sustainable.
Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause a minimal amount of pollution and waste. Green Seal certifies these using internationally recognized methods and procedures. The Web site includes a list of hotels that have been Green Seal certified.
Green Tourism is a not-for-profit organization established in 1997. Its mission is to encourage and enable people to make sustainable choices that reduce their impact on the planet. Green Tourism aims to be the most trusted international eco-tourism brand for consumers and businesses alike. From its beginnings in Scotland, it has grown to about 2,300 members across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Canada and Zimbabwe.
Heritage Environmental Certification Programme
Centurion, South Africa
The Heritage Environmental Certification Programme (Heritage) is a hospitality and tourism-based environmental management system and certification programme. Started in South Africa in 2002, Heritage is applied at over 156 hotels, lodges and resorts in eight countries across Africa. The Programme requires member properties to implement the EMS in their operations and to undergo performance and compliance evaluations every eight months. Compliance to programme standards is recognised with three levels of certification.
Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation
IHDA utilizes a proprietary science-based certification process designed to help resorts and hotels measure and improve their health-related initiatives, amenities, facilities and personnel. Likewise, the IHDA-operated website serves as a consumer portal where health-focused travelers can find useful and timely IHDA-certified information about healthy travel options throughout the United States and eventually throughout the world.
Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice
Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice runs the Leaf Certification program for restaurants in Canada. One of its missions is to reduce the environmental impact of the Canadian foodservice industry, targeting energy, water and waste reduction.
Legambiente Turismo Ecolabel
More than 400 tourism businesses have received Legambiente Turismo’s Ecolabel for minimizing waste, recycling, using less water and energy, serving healthy food and typical local produce and products, and promoting local nature and culture heritage.
PACE Hotel Certification
A nonprofit with over 6,000 third party verified hotels, homes and schools, PACE is the fastest growing environmental certification in the world. According to PACE’s Kurt Morrow, the organization does not just give you a plaque to hang on the wall and a logo for your website. It also connects you to thousands of travelers who have invested in renewable energy in their own homes. Your registration helps educate the next generation of environmentally conscious customers through PACE school programs. Your registration fee also supports certification of solar and energy efficient affordable housing through local Habitat for Humanity offices. Call (786) 263-1256 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable Travel International
STI, which has been involved in the sustainable tourism certification movement since 2002, offers solutions for accommodations of all sizes. STI’s standards are aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and have been developed transparently in collaboration with the travel industry. Offerings include: Sustainable Tourism EcoCertification Program™ for accommodations of all types and sizes, and the Luxury Eco-certification program, a sustainable tourism standard specifically designed for luxury accommodations.
Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations
Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations is an international certification scheme present in over 55 countries and promotes sustainability within the tourism industry. With 1,500 members and growing, the scheme is helping hotel and accommodations providers across the world to manage and monitor the social, environmental and economic impacts, as well as communicating their achievements to customers. It is an accessible sustainability system which provides members with a practical and relevant framework to improve their business. Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations is the preferred certification scheme that works in partnership with tour operators, both in the United Kingdom and internationally, that use the system to increase sustainability practices in the industry and communicate achievements to customers by placing the logo in their marketing.
The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program considers a property’s holistic approach to green practices and ranks them based on four levels of participation—Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum—which will be shown prominently on the property’s listing on the TripAdvisor site. The more green practices a hotel has in place, the higher its TripAdvisor GreenLeaders level. A comprehensive list of eco-friendly practices are evaluated, from linen and towel re-use, recycling and composting through to solar panels, electric car charging stations and green roofing.
UL Environment is the full service environmental solutions business unit within UL. UL Environment helps support the growth and development of sustainable products, services and organizations in the global marketplace through standards development, educational services and independent third-party assessment and certification. Specific services include environmental claims validation, sustainable products certification, energy efficiency certification, environmental product declarations and advisory services.
U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is the United States’ foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.
Are you aware of a certification program that should be included on this list? If so, contact Glenn Hasek at email@example.com.