OTTAWA, ONT.—By numbers, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program has long been among the planet’s leading certification programs—especially in the United States and Canada where the bulk of its certified hotel properties operate—but the program is about to take a giant leap forward with the coming on board of a large hotel chain the first quarter of next year.
Rebecca Bartlett-Jones, Manager, Business Development for Green Key Global, was not at liberty to disclose the name of the chain but said the number of Green Key Eco-Rated properties is expected to double in size by the third quarter of next year. The growth is just one of many changes that are soon to take place with the program that, like every organization in travel, took quite a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything with the Green Key Eco-Rating program is now back to normal,” Bartlett-Jones emphasizes. “We have about 1,400 active, certified hotels at the moment.”
Hoteliers who register a property for certification can do so online. Once registration is complete, participants receive an email confirming their login information and instructing them on how to access an online Self-Assessment. The Green Key Eco-Rating Self-Assessment consists of approximately 160 questions related to various areas of sustainable hotel operations. Each question has been assigned a specific point value based on the environmental and social impacts a particular action has and its associated impact on guests, employees, management, and the local community. Hotels are ultimately rated from 1 to 5 Green Keys and must renew their membership annually.
Assessment to be Revised
What is coming in the second to third quarter of next year is a completely revised version of the assessment for the Green Key Eco-Rating Program for hotels and for meetings as part of the Green Key Meetings Program. Both programs will become version 4.0.
Bartlett-Jones says there will be more questions on the greening of a hotel’s supply chain. “We are trying to add a green supplier element to every question we ask,” she says. There will also be more emphasis on overall efforts in corporate social responsibility—community involvement, for example.
Previously, about 20 percent of member properties received on-site inspections each year. That number will climb to 30 percent thanks to Control Union, which will begin on-site inspections by the end of this year.
New Website in the Works
A new, more user-friendly website is coming in the second quarter of 2022 that will feature an ROI tool that will enable one to calculate how much it will cost you to invest in a green initiative—LED light bulbs, for example—and what the savings will be. The ROI tool will also cover waste reduction and other areas of sustainability. A carbon calculator is also coming, as well as new case studies and white papers. “It will be more of a friendly, environmental website,” Bartlett-Jones says.
Green Key Global is in the process of hiring a green concierge to help members with their operations on a 24-hour basis and has partnered with Synergy which will be available to help certified properties with sustainability management. “They will be our experts,” Bartlett-Jones says, adding that there will be an extra fee to utilize Synergy’s services.
“We are also stepping up our marketing efforts,” Bartlett-Jones says—in social media, for example.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.