Over the last fifteen years, Green Key Global has gained 3000 members across the globe
This week Green Key Global  celebrated two major milestones for its flagship offering, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, the Green Key Program’s 15th anniversary as well as having reached the 3,000 member mark.
This is a significant achievement for the Green Key program but more notably for the entire lodging industry, said Tony Pollard, Managing Director of Green Key Global. This is tangible proof that the lodging industry has successfully assumed a leading role in demonstrating sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices.
Developed by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), the initial concept for the Green Key Program was introduced to the Canadian lodging industry as a result of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The program grew steadily while gaining recognition from major Canadian hotel companies, eventually celebrating 1,000 members in 2008.
Throughout 2007 and 2008 Green Key began to welcome its first US properties into the membership and as a result, the program underwent a review to ensure its applicability to a more international audience. In order to meet the needs of the growing US membership, HAC partnered with LRA Worldwide in 2009 to deliver the program in the United States, thus creating Green Key Global.
Green Key Global is now a leading environmental certification body offering programs designed to evaluate and certify lodging facilities on the extent of their sustainable initiatives. The Green Key Eco-Rating Program  encompasses the five main areas of a lodging facility and includes a Carbon Calculator  that allows users to benchmark their progress year over year. The Green Key Meetings Program  assesses six core areas of a hotel’s meeting facilities. Both programs provide members with a variety of supplemental resources including a detailed performance report and marketing materials.
“As we approach Earth Day, we are extremely proud to see the positive impact our program has made in over 20 countries worldwide” adds Tony Pollard.
Travel Intentions Survey reveals increasing sustainable priorities for customers
Since its launch 15 years ago, the Green Key Eco‐Rating Program has watched the lodging industry gradually embrace and embed a culture of sustainability into its daily operations. This move towards greener practices is resonating with Canadian business and leisure travelers as noted by the Hotel Association of Canada in their annual Travel Intentions Survey released earlier this year.
The survey has been tracking the green tendencies of both business and leisure travelers since 2009. This year’s results show an increasing trend by the traveller to take specific ‘green’ factors into consideration when making their travel plans.
Baseline initiatives such as recycling programs and conservation efforts (water, energy) remain significant amongst respondents showing a 6% increase in importance from 39% in 2009, to 44% this year. Implementing programs, where feasible, that address and promote these initiatives provide simple yet prime opportunities for hotels to engage guests in contributing to the success of their property’s sustainable goals.
In 2010, respondents were asked about the value of properties making eco‐friendly products available to travellers (such as bathroom amenities). Year over year more than a third of leisure (30% in 2010 to 36% in 2013) and business (34% in 2010 and 36% in 2013) travelers have stated the importance of providing such products.
A traveler’s willingness to pay to participate in a hotel’s carbon offset program has fluctuated over the past four years. In 2009 48% were agreeable to paying up to $5 per night to participate in such a program. This percentage dipped to the low 40’s between 2010 and 2012 but reaches a high of 49% this year.
The significance of environmental certification programs is on the rise as well with 26% of leisure travelers citing the importance of these programs compared to 22% in 2010. Travelers see value in hotels that work to reduce the impact of their operations on the health of their guests, staff and the planet. Participating in an environmental certification program can assist hoteliers with meeting the immediate expectations of those environmental‐minded guests while also paving the way for long‐term improvements and savings.
Our latest Best Practice Case Study is a Green Key accredited property in London. To read the article go to Green Key Label: Le Méridien Piccadilly