Green Key – a sustainability program and certificate for tourism establishments

Green Key is an international sustainability certificate for tourism enterprises that has been granted to over 3700 establishments in 60 countries around the world. Its criteria are based on the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and include requirements on limiting the environmental impacts as well as increasing the social benefits and supporting the local economy through an establishment’s operations. The criteria are practically oriented and well adapted to the particularities of the tourism branch.

Green Key is also a sustainability program; the participants must commit to continuous improvements in different aspects of sustainability, and report on them when making the annual re-application. The program also offers participants personal consultation, training and free communication materials. The quality of an establishment’s sustainability work is ensured through frequent on-site audits. The certificate is granted by the independent, external Green Key Jury.

A Green Key label is also an acknowledgement of an establishment’s overall quality. It shows that the certified site is doing exceptional sustainability work and meeting the growing demand by both customers and business partners for responsible tourism operations.

The Green Key certificate is recognised by the Sustainable Travel Finland program and run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an international NGO. In Finland, Green Key is represented by Going Green LLC which is a social enterprise fully owned by FEE Finland.


Site types

See certified sites (in Finnish)

Hotels & Hostels

Accommodation providers with over 15 guest rooms in year-round use, as well as a reception looking after the guests. The establishment may also have for example a restaurant, a spa, or activities normally considered attractions, but over 50% of its annual turnover is produced by providing accommodation.

Small accommodations

Accommodation providers with 1-15 guest rooms in year-round use: small hotels & hostels, B&B:s, lodges, apartments​ etc. In addition to the guest rooms, the establishment may also have for example a restaurant or operations normally considered attractions, but over 50% of its annual turnover is derived from providing accommodation.

Camping sites & holiday villages

Camping sites and holiday villages that offer tent/caravan sites and/or cottages with different levels of comfort, situated in separate buildings in an expansive area​. In additions, the establishment may also have a restaurant etc, but over 50% of its annual turnover is generated by providing accommodation.

Restaurants & cafés

Restaurants and cafés based in a fixed location or premises. In addition, the establishment may also offer small-scale accommodation or other tourism services, but over 50% of its annual turnover is generated through catering.


Museums, theme parks, visitor centres and similar attractions​. In addition, the establishment may also have a restaurant / café or small-scale accommodation services, but over 50% of its annual turnover is generated through day visitors.

The criteria

To be granted the Green Key certificate, an establishment must comply with stringent sustainability requirements. In order to monitor their fulfillment, a set of criteria divided into 13 chapters has been developed, and the required criteria may differ according to the type of establishment. The criteria are updated regularly, and the current set came into effect on 1.1.2022.

The Green Key criteria are divided into two categories:


The imperative criteria define the basic requirement that the applicant must meet already when first applying for the certificate. However, if some activity described in the imperative criteria is not included in the services offered by the establishment, the criteria related to it may be excluded. The Green Key jury may also grant an exception for individual criteria based on well-justified causes.


Starting from the first re-application, the establishment must meet all the imperative criteria as well as an annually growing number of guideline criteria.


An uncomplicated application process


1. Registration (10 min)

  • Fill in the registration form on our website.
  • The form includes questions regarding basic information on the applicant company and the activities it offers.

2. Making the application (2-3 months)

  • You will be sent log-in information to the applicant’s section of our website.
  • Download the application form and attachment report that can be found on the applicant’s pages. Fill them in with the help of detailed explanatory notes and instructional videos available.
  • If necessary, you may also make use of the personal consultation appointment that is available to all applicants.
  • Book the audit and send the application and attachments to us.

3. The Audit (1 day)

  • Participate in the audit.
  • A Green Key establishment is audited on the first and second application year, thereafter every 3rd year.
  • The purpose of the audit is to ensure that the establishment meets the Green Key criteria, as well as jointly plan the sustainability work, development and communication of the establishment.
  • The programme fee as well as the audit fee and costs will be charged after the audit.
  • Additional information on the contents of the audit is available in this document.

4. The Jury Meeting (1 day)

  • Before the jury meeting, send eventual additional information requested by the auditor.
  • Pay the program and audit fees.
  • The jury will review the application and the audit report in its meeting.
  • You don’t have to participate in the meeting.

5. Certification (1 year)

  • Once the jury has accepted the application and audit report, it will grant the establishment the Green Key certificate for 12 months. After that, you will have to repeat the process from step 2 onwards.
  • After certification, you will be sent log-in information that grants you acces to the MEMBER’S PAGES that contain materials for sustainability communication as well as training of staff.
    Welcome to the Green Key Program!