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Certification catalog

The GreenSign Hotel Standard

The GreenSign Hotel Standard recognized by the GSTC comprises over 100 criteria. These are divided into eight topics and cover the ecological aspect of sustainability as well as the social and economic dimension. In order to make our certification process as transparent as possible, you will find the questions from our certification catalog here, which you will also answer during the self-evaluation and audit.

Manager schreibt

Management & Communication

Management and communication are central components of a sustainable corporate orientation. They stand for a system of values and responsible shaping of the future in dialog with stakeholders.

Questions about Management & Communication
  1. The hotel has drawn up a mission statement (corporate policy) for sustainable and responsible corporate management

  2. The mission statement (corporate policy) refers to the following aspects for responsible action

  3. The hotel has nominated and documented a sustainability/environmental/CSR* representative (e.g. organizational chart, job description)

  4. The hotel has a sustainability/environment program with prioritized areas of activity/ environmental aspects with related target settings, measures and responsibilities

  5. The hotel staff are engaged in the development and implementation of the sustainability program

  6. The hotel informs stakeholders about its sustainability activities (e.g. via website, newsletter, social media, customer magazine, information in the hotel)

  7. The hotel informs stakeholders about its sustainability activities (e.g. via website, newsletter, social media, customer magazine, information in the hotel)

  8. A unified visual corporate design (CD)/corporate image is launched and implemented in the hotel (e.g. logo, design of communication media with business cards, hotel brochures, official documents, workwear)

  9. Advertising material and marketing communication are precise and transparent, including sustainability matters

  10. The hotel seeks to engage stakeholders’ participation in the hotel’s corporate sustainability policy and has implemented necessary measures (e.g. upcycling workshops for guests, sustainability-driven onboarding process, coordination of eco-friendly delivery routes)

  11. The CSR/quality manager of the hotel monitors and initiates improvement processes regarding sustainability issues and reports about them in meetings

  12. The hotel management ensures that all applicable local, national and international legal obligations/regulations are respected and implemented and that applicable permits and licenses are reviewed (e.g. labor law, environmental regulations, health and safety regulations, anti-corruption, recommendations from the child protection codex “The Code”)


The environmental pillar comprises the ecological areas of energy, water and waste. As essential components and influencing factors on the ecological footprint, strategies and measures to reduce resource consumption are essential.

Questions about Environment/Energy
  1. The hotel measures and controls the energy consumptions (e.g. electricity, heating oil, natural gas) regularly and systematically

  2. The hotel examines and evaluates all energy suppliers

  3. The hotel makes sure that energy-saving products are preferred when making new electrical purchases

  4. The hotel takes measures to identify and continuously reduce significant greenhouse gas emissions related to its energy use

  5. The hotel is a newly constructed building (not older than five years) and is built in an energy-efficient matter.

  6. The hotel ensures that all electrical installations (e.g. ventilation systems) are regularly serviced and maintained

  7. The hotel ensures that all electrical installations (e.g. ventilation systems) are regularly serviced and maintained.

  8. The hotel obtains energy from renewable/regenerative sources to improve the climate balance

  9. The hotel has made an effort to increase its use of renewable energy in the last three years

  10. The following energy efficiency measures have been implemented in the hotel rooms

  11. A hotel room management system (HRMS) is available for the front desk personnel
    with the following features

  12. The hotel uses sustainable building equipment in all areas

  13. The following measures have been implemented in the hotel for further energy efficiency

  14. The hotel makes use of energy-saving/LED lamps 

  15. The hotel takes (further) measures for the continuous reduction of energy waste
Questions about Environment/Water
  1. The hotel collects data concerning water consumption by type regularly and
    systematically in order to reduce water consumption

  2. The hotel complies with the local/national regulations of waste water disposal, so that
    it can be purified and reused

  3. Water risks are evaluated and documented. Potential cumulative influence of tourism
    on water resources is taken into account

  4. The water is obtained from legal and sustainable sources with no future impact on
    the environmental flows. Furthermore, the sources are indicated

  5. The hotel ensures that all water installations and facilities (e.g. healing, cooling) are
    regularly maintained and kept in good condition 

  6. The hotel ensures that the quality of the (drinking) water in all areas of the hotel (e.g.
    rooms, swimming pools) is regularly checked (e.g. legionella, chlorine content)

  7. The following measures for saving/conserving resources have been implemented
    in the hotel
  8. The hotel takes further measures for continuous reduction and waste of water
Questions about Environment/Waste
  1. The hotel collects data concerning the waste volume regularly and systematically in
    order to reduce the waste

  2. Waste separation in the hotel is carried out according to guidelines of local authorities

  3. Separation systems for garbage are in place (e.g. waste separation site with clear
    labeling of waste container/recycling container)

  4. The following measures are taken to reduce and/or avoid waste production in the hotel

  5. The hotel collects and properly disposes special waste (e.g. printer cartridges) and
    residual waste in recognized public facilities (without negative influences on the
    environment or local population) in accordance with local and legal regulations

  6. A zero waste breakfast is offered to avoid packaging waste

  7. The hotel implements the cradle-to-cradle system through the following measures

  8. The hotel takes measures to prevent food waste

  9. The amount of used copy paper at the hotel is regularly collected

  10. The hotel uses only recycled paper/paper from sustainable forestry (e.g. Forest
    Stewardship Council (FSC)) in the following areas

  11. The hotel implements the following measures to reduce paper consumption

  12. Pollutants (pesticides, paint, chemicals) are reduced wherever possible

  13. The hotel implements practices to minimize pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion,
    ozone-depleting substances, and air, water and soil contaminants

  14. The hotel takes (further) measures for continuous reduction of waste

Biodiversity & cultural heritage

A biodiverse farm takes responsibility for the surrounding flora and fauna and does its part to protect and grow them.

Questions about Biodiversity & Cultural Heritage
  1. The hotel supports biodiversity and take initiatives for it

  2. The hotel is not situated in a natural reserve

  3. The hotel takes the following measures for biodiversity 

  4. All laws and zoning requirements related to land usage and activities in local and/or
    sensitive, protected or designated areas are adhered to

  5. Natural and cultural heritage is taken into account in the site and design selection,
    as well as in all hotel practices including tourist visits

  6. Adherence to land, water, property and access rights

  7. The hotel supports local entrepreneurs in the development of sustainable products
    and services that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture (
Marktstand mit frischen Früchten


The purchasing is a central management key point and indicator of sustainable business. Regional, seasonal, organic and fair-trade products are the major value in hotel purchasing and increasingly important in a community.
Questions about the purchase
  1. The purchase of F&B products and services with suppliers based in an area of ≤ 100 km
    from the hotel is prioritized whenever these are available and of sufficient quality

  2. The purchase of all other products and services with suppliers based in an area
    of ≤ 100 km from the hotel is prioritized whenever these are available and of
    sufficient quality

  3. The washing of various articles (e.g. bedlinen, towels, bathrobes) takes place at a
    laundry shop based in an area of ≤ 100 km from the hotel
  4. When buying/leasing/renting textiles, the hotel prefers sustainably produced
    materials (e.g. GOTS (Global organic textile standards), Fairtrade, Cotton made in
    Africa, organic cotton, recycled polyester or lyocell/tencel)

  5. The purchase of sustainable products in various categories (e.g. „Blauer Engel“, FSC
    certification of sustainable forestry, climate-neutral) takes place

  6. The hotel purchases environmentally friendly care and beauty products for the hotel
  7. The hotel offers the following regional drinks (based in an area of ≤ 100km from the

  8. The hotel offers vegan drinks and snacks on the menu card

  9. The hotel offers plant-based alternatives (vegan) on the breakfast buffet (e.g. oat milk,
    soy milk)

  10. The hotel offers vegan drinks and snacks in the minibar

  11. The purchase of seasonal products is at least 30% in the F&B area

  12. The hotel prioritizes and purchases the following certified organic productsn
  13. The hotel prioritizes and purchases the following fairly traded and certified products
    (e.g. fairtrade, GEPA, UTZ)

  14. The hotel purchases the following vegan products

  15. The hotel purchases fish that is biologically bred or organically caught with low-impact
    fishing methods (e.g. MSC-certified, from domestic waters)

  16. The hotel purchases meat from organic farming 
  17. The hotel restaurant cooks with fresh ingredients and refrains from using food with
    flavor enhancers, artificial dyes, preservatives, artificial supplements and E numbers

  18. The proportion of convenience food in the hotel is at most 20%

  19. 9 Endangered species are not purchased or sold

  20. The hotel carefully manages the purchasing of consumables and disposable goods,
    including food, in order to minimize waste
  21. The hotel takes (further) measures to optimize purchasing processes, strengthen
    the sustainable values or to purchase more sustainable and vegan products

  22. The organization has a purchasing policy that favours environmentally sustainable
    suppliers and products
Marktstand mit frischen Früchten
E-Auto an der Ladesäule

Regionality & Mobility

Regionality and mobility are key indicators of sustainability. Regionality contributes to company identification and a quality growth. Mobility requires future-oriented approaches in the tourism branch.

Questions about Regionality & Mobility
  1. The hotel is involved with local destination management organizations or similar

  2. The hotel declares and informs about the origin of the products on the menu card/drinks

  3. Guests can purchase regional/self-made products at the hotel that are based on the
    area’s nature, history and culture

  4. Employees know the origin and quality of products and suppliers in the region
  5. The hotel uses regional, sustainable certified or vegan care and beauty products in the
    spa area

  6. At least 50% of all employees live in a radius of ≤ 30 km from the hotel

  7. The hotel offers special conference packages with regional, organic or vegan

  8. The hotel offers and actively promotes the rental of bicycles 

  9. Indicators regarding guest mobility

  10. Indications regarding employee mobility

  11. The hotel is barrier-free and accessible for people with and without mobility restrictions

  12. Employees receive in-depth information about the natural and cultural heritage of the
    region as well as about events with regional or cultural content

  13. Employees receive in-depth information about appropriate behavior at the natural and
    cultural heritage of the region as well as about events with regional or cultural content

  14. Guests receive in-depth information about the the natural and cultural heritage of the
    region as well as about events with regional or cultural content

  15. Guests receive in-depth information about appropriate behavior at the natural and cultural heritage of the region as well as about events with regional or cultural content 
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Quality management and sustainable development

Quality assurance is a core process of sustainability and an important part of every business. Its further development ensures the future business success through satisfied and motived employees, regular guests and a trusting cooperation with all stakeholders.

Questions about Quality Management and Sustainable Development
  1. Business processes (e.g. work instructions) and organizational structures are
    recorded in a quality/environmental hand book

  2. The hotel takes into account at least three of the 17 climate goals of the United Nations
    (SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals) in its sustainability activities

  3. At least 80% of the hotel’s suppliers work with a certified sustainable concept (e.g.
    climate-neutral products, United Nation Global Compact Network) and all suppliers are
    reviewed annually regarding the core criteria quality, regionality and sustainability
  4. The hotel actively encourages the use of cleaner and more resource efficient alternatives by suppliers

  5. Suppliers comply with the hotel’s code of ethics based on environmental, social and
    ethical standards of the hotel

  6. Sustainability is considered as a continuous improvement process in the hotel
  7. Efficiency measures in the area of corporate ecology (energy, water, waste) are regularly
    trained (several times per year) and implemented

  8. Employees/new employees receive written information about eco-friendly tips/behavior at the workplace (e.g. included in the welcome-package for new employees, announcements
    on international information boards)

  9. The usage and handling of equipment is documented (e.g. sanitation guidelines,
    cleaning schedules)

  10. The hotel regularly controls and monitors the guest satisfaction including aspects of
    sustainability and takes corrective action where appropriate

  11. The hotel regularly controls the employee satisfaction

  12. Employees can propose suggestions for improvement in the hotel

  13. Through a carbon footprint calculation, significant greenhouse gas emissions from
    all sources are controlled and identified by the hotel

  14. The hotel compensates carbon footprint emissions in the following areas/products

  15. The hotel is climate-neutral, meaning all CO2
    emissions are annually compensated

  16. The hotel’s activities do not endanger the supply of neighboring communities with
    basic things such as food, water, energy, health care and sanitary facilities

  17. The activities of the hotel do not adversely affect local access to livelihoods, including
    land and aquatic resource use, rights-of-way, transport and housing
  18. The hotel uses sustainable, health-conscious equipment based on local culture (e.g.
    furnishings are sustainably produced, biological materials or solid wood)

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      Social responsibility

      Social commitment is the mainstay of sustainable development. It stands for responsibility and motivation, for creating of a sustainable environment at the intersection between ecology, social and economic responsibility
      Questions about Social Responsibility
      1. The hotel deals with all stakeholders (employees, suppliers, guests) on an equal basis
      2. The hotel actively supports (local) initiatives or projects of sustainable development,
        for example with promoting the local community or cultural heritage (e.g. education,
        training, health, sanitation, or projects which address the impact of climate change)

      3. The support of the above mentioned initiative is communicated

      4. The hotel encourages fair work, fair wages and collective agreements

      5. The hotel makes an effort to give local citizens career opportunities
      6. Employees regularly participate in trainings regarding their roles and responsibilities

      7. In these trainings, the following sustainability subjects are considered

      8. A health management system is implemented in the hotel

      9. The hotel regularly collects data on the employment structure

      10. The hotel management is aligned with diversity* and equal chances

      11. The organization has a policy against commercial, sexual or any other form of
        exploitation and harassment

      12. The policy covers children, adolescents, women, minorities and other vulnerable

      13. The policy is documented and implemented by the organization

      14. The hotel offers the following benefits for employees

      Economic responsibility

      The economic stability of a company is a cornerstone which ensures qualitative and quantitative growth. Survey, evaluation and control of financial and economic data are essential and allow to meet external demands and expectations of customers, investors or the media.

      Questions about Economic Responsibility
          1. The hotel collects on a regular basis economic and financial data

          2. The proportion of capital/property held in the region is over 50 percent

          3. The hotel has a long-term investment plan in place

          4. Employees are regularly informed about the hotel’s key financial and performance
            indicators (e.g. meetings)

          5. Over the last 3 years, the hotel has shown significant growth performance