Certification Programs

063655-green-metallic-orGreen 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: greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Sixteen states and three cities currently have some form of green lodging program. Click here to access a list of links for them.

ASTM/APEX Environmentally Sustainable Events Standards
Portland, Ore.

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.

Audubon International
Selkirk, N.Y.

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.

Autism Double-Checked
Stamford, Conn.

Autism Double-Checked is changing travel with autism by classifying travel companies into three levels of autism-readiness. At each successive level, the degree of commitment to inclusivity becomes greater but they all show that participants are actively looking to welcome guests traveling with autistic family members.

BIOSPHERE Certification
Madrid, Spain

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.

Queensland, Australia

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.

Verona, Pa.

EcoChef™ is the world’s first electric kitchen rating system and certification. Our goal is to standardize how commercial kitchens are designed, built, and operated. We are driven by a steadfast commitment to create sustainable commercial kitchens by reducing carbon emissions from commercial kitchens and improving the livelihoods of hospitality professionals.

EcoChi 180°
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 Media Association
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Participating lodging establishments can earn either a Green Seal for Hospitality or Gold Seal for Hospitality through the points-based system.

Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C.

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.

Washington, D.C.

Fitwel certification signals to employees, residents, investors, and others that you prioritize wellness within the design, development, and operations of buildings and communities. It allows you to integrate the best strategies that science has to offer to optimize health within a building or community. It ensures that your company is leading the industry on the next frontier of sustainability, and helps you improve the health of your employees, visitors, or residents as well as the surrounding community.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Washington, D.C.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council does not certify anything but provides accreditation to Certification Bodies through its partner ASI, Assurance Services International.

Green Business Bureau

The Green Business Bureau offers a certification program for small to medium-size businesses in the lodging industry.

Green Globe
Murrieta, Calif.

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.

Green Globes

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
Copenhagen, Denmark

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
Ottawa, Ontario

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.
Sharon, Mass.

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
Washington, D.C.

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.

GreenStep Solutions

GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Standards are used by GreenStep Solutions in their assessment and verification programs which provide tools, resources, and consultative support to destinations and businesses across the tourism industry. The Sustainable Tourism standards enable tourism businesses and destinations to measure their sustainability performance in several key categories: management, social, economic, natural, cultural, and environmental.

Green Tourism

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.

Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation
Washington, D.C.

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
Calgary, Alberta

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
Bologna, Italy

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.

Passive House Certification
Darmstadt, Germany

Passive House Certification takes into consideration space heating energy demand, renewable primary energy demand, airtightness, and thermal comfort. All of the above criteria are achieved through intelligent design and implementation of the 5 Passive House principles: thermal bridge free design, superior windows, ventilation with heat recovery, quality insulation and airtight construction.

Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations
London, U.K.

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.

Newton, Mass.

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
Northbrook, IL

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
Washington, D.C.

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.

VERIFIED Responsible Hospitality

Forbes Travel Guide’s VERIFIED Responsible Hospitality badge is awarded to properties that demonstrate a commitment to more than 100 stringent standards to protect the environment and support the well-being of employees, guests and their communities.

Well Building Standard
New York

WELL is a leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally. One can register an office, building or other space to leverage WELL’s flexible framework for improving health and human experience through design. The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) recently added the WELL Equity Rating.

Are you aware of a certification program that should be included on this list? If so, contact Glenn Hasek at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.