Beginning the Transformation
A Green Key certified business has to fulfill a number of criteria. Below are some of the typical improvements a Green Key business may go through.
Typical energy improvements:
- Changing to energy-saving light bulbs/LED
- Saving energy by using sensors and timers
- Using less energy by controlling heat and ventilation
- Using less and better air-conditioning
- Using solar, wind or green energy
- Improving insulation of the buildings and the windows
- Buying energy-saving electronic equipment
Other typical environmental improvements:
- Changing to water-conserving technology
- Reducing and recycling waste
- Promoting the use of public transportation
- Using less chemicals when cleaning and when maintaining green areas
- Educating staff on environmental issues
- Advising guests on environmental issues
- Buying organic and climate-friendly food and products
Are you in the process of getting certified or are you looking to improve your sustainability efforts even more? To lead you on your way to become more sustainable, we have gathered a few focus areas to get you started.
Environmental management is an important part of Green Key's criteria and is a vital step for ensuring progress with your business's environmental work.
The two most well-known environmental management systems are EMAS and ISO14001. But it does not have to be so extensive. With Green Key the excess paperwork and reports are cut down to a minimum and focus is placed on pulling off real environmental improvements. The environmental management consists of an environmental policy that forms the framework for environmental work. It also consists of a four-component environmental wheel, which is reviewed each year. The four components are mapping and reviewing of current measures, creation of an action plan, implementation as well as evaluation and adjustment.
Your colleagues are very important for the success of your environmental work. They are the ones who do the daily work around the facilities, therefore it is important that your colleagues are trained so that they know what Green Key stands for and what their efforts entail. It is also important to keep them informed about new initiatives and to provide feedback and information about your collective achievements.
It is recommended that your colleagues are involved in the process and that they can contribute with their knowledge. To motivate and involve the staff it is common to create environmental groups consisting of representatives from different departments. Smaller campaigns are also relevant in engaging the staff within a specific area.
Green Key has developed material for members to use when they want to engage their staff in the environmental work. The material is available for all members on the exclusive members page.
Denmark is known as a green and sustainable destination and many tourism companies use sustainability in their communication strategy to enhance their image and to attract and retain guests - which has shown to be an effective method.
You should always be careful not to go overboard with your green marketing. As long as you keep your communication reliable and clear there is no need for you not to spread the word about your environmental efforts.
Did you know that you can save 146,000 liters of water and approx. 5,076 DKK per year by switching to anhydrous urinals? Or that you can save 730,000 liters of water and approx. 35,000 DKK in 10 years for each public washbasin by switching faucets?
Water is extremely important as it gives life, survival and joy, but water is also expensive. Therefore, by making an effort to reduce water consumption you are able to reduce a lot of expenses.
Tip: A water saver on faucets is a simple and quick solution to start saving water
Green Key members have access to KeyWater which is a guide on saving water according to the criteria of the certification. The guide provides concrete tips on how to save water without affecting the guests' comfort and experience.
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning
Some cleaning products contain chemicals and perfumes that harm the aquatic environment and can cause allergies. The packaging gives waste and the production of the products gives an increased CO2 load. At the same time there is a considerable amount of electricity used in connection to the cleaning process.
Using environmentally friendly cleaning products not only causes less environmental harm but also improves the working environment and indoor climate and minimizes the risk of allergy among guests and employees.
With minor changes, you can make a significant impact on the environment by limiting the consumption of water and cleaning products. Without affecting the guests, you can save money while also improving your impact on the environment.
Green Key members have access to KeyClean, a guide on how to clean more environmentally friendly. The guide also provides a list of chemicals to avoid in your cleaning products.
By optimizing your waste management and waste disposal system it is possible to make both environmental as well as economic savings.
Members of Green Key have access to KeyWaste that focuses on optimizing waste management - without affecting the guests' comfort and experience. KeyWaste provides an overview of rules and good procedures on how to take action and create a more sustainable waste handling system.
Choosing Sustainable Lights
In the tourism industry, it is important to save energy but at the same time lights are crucial for creating the right mood. Therefore not just any energy saving light bulb will do. It is important to find a balance between saving money and saving the environment while at the same time not compromising the comfort of the guests.
Green Key members have access to KeyLights, which is a guide with information on how to choose the right kind of lights for your needs. The guide provides information on how to work with the Green Key criteria to find the sustainable lighting solution that works for your business.
One of the focus areas of Green Key is environmentally friendly food. This type of food is delicious and tasty - and does not often cost more.
A few tips on making more eco-friendly food:
Less meat - more greens
Minimize food waste
Buy local produce
Use seasonal products
Buy sustainable fish and products from free-range animals
Green Key members have access to KeyFood, an in-depth guide on how to work with more sustainable food alternatives. The guide is based on the Green Key criteria on what to improve to be able to serve guests with sustainable, delicious food. The guide also provides some important tips on how to work with food waste in for example buffets.