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What is GreenSign?

GreenSign is the leading sustainability certificate for the hotel industry in Europe. Over 100 criteria in the certification catalog offer the possibility to combine ecology, economy and social responsibility.

The certification covers the areas of management & communication, environment (energy, water, waste), biodiversity & cultural heritage, purchasing, regionality & mobility, quality management and sustainable development, social and economic responsibility.

Why is GreenSign structured in five levels?

GreenSign Level 1 Logo
Sustainable basis
First approaches to fulfill the sustainability concept are already fulfilled in the company.
GreenSign Level 2 Logo
Sustainability on the way
A well-founded orientation of sustainability is recognizable in the company.
greensign level3
Exemplary sustainability
In almost all areas of the company, the sustainability concept is implemented and lived.
greensign level 4
Excellent sustainability

The requirements for sustainable management are met to a high degree by the company.

greensign level5
Sustainability expert

The sustainability concept in the company has a model character and the best possible orientation.

The unique five-level concept enables every company to get started with sustainability – individually adapted to the current ACTUAL state. At the same time, GreenSign offers the possibility for further development due to its intregated management system. To increase the level during recertification, additional sustainable processes must be introduced in the company in order to thus achieve a higher score in the certification catalog.

How long does the certification with GreenSign take?

The duration of the certification process depends on the company’s capacity to complete the questionnaire. Our online certification tool enables the data to be sent to us in a flash.

This is followed by an audit at the company, for which two to three hours should be planned. We usually only need a few days to evaluate the catalog and write the audit report, so the process from application to certification can be completed within a few weeks.

Is GreenSign a recognized sustainability system?

GreenSign has been developed under the strong influence of science and practice and is characterized in particular by a simply structured and speedy verification system in the implementation for companies. In the development of GreenSign, the GreenSign Institute has taken industry-independent and therefore very unspecific systems (e.g. EMAS, ISO 14001, ISO 26000), adapted them in a practical way and concretized them in the form of an online questionnaire for measuring and evaluating sustainability performance. GreenSign Institute certifies hotels with the GreenSign Hotel Standard, which is recognized by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). The required sustainability criteria are verified by a subsequent audit directly in the company. In addition, an independent and high-ranking advisory board acts as a control and advisory body for the certification.

Audit GreenSign

What is the GreenCommunity?

The GreenCommunity is a network of all GreenSign certified companies and partners with a sustainable focus. It represents a platform for sales and marketing activities and serves the exchange with like-minded people. The GreenCommunity partners are exclusively companies with sustainable products or services that are in demand in the hotel industry, gastronomy but also in companies of a general nature.

Green Tourism Camp

More questions about GreenSign

How does the certification process work with GreenSign?

The certification process is divided into the following 3 steps:

  • Submit certification application
  • Log in to the GreenSign tool & complete the self-evaluation
  • Audit & award with GreenSign.
How long is a GreenSign certification valid?

The GreenSign certification is valid for three years. During this time, the company has the opportunity to make the operation even more sustainable in order to obtain a higher GreenSign level during re-certification.

Are the sustained efforts monitored?

Yes, after filling out the certification catalog, an independent audit takes place on site at the company, during which the information in the criteria catalog is discussed and checked. This audit can be carried out by the GreenSign Institute directly or by an external auditor.

What is the advantage for my company with a GreenSign certification?

Certification with GreenSign offers the following benefits:

  • Environmental management system as a guideline for structured, green corporate management
  • Marketing with a positive green image
  • Effective conservation of resources and cost savings
  • Customer loyalty & acquisition of new target groups
  • Raising awareness of sustainability among guests, employees, suppliers & partners
  • Strengthening employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Membership in the GreenCommunity for exchange with sustainable partners
  • Opportunity to participate in networking events and to join climate protection actions
  • Increased online presence through integration in press releases, newsletters and social media
How can I communicate our sustainable efforts after the certification with GreenSign?

Each company certified with GreenSign receives, in addition to the certificate naming the GreenSign level achieved, a bar chart on which the progress in the individual core areas of certification is transparently displayed. The more sustainable the company acts in an area, the further the bar extends in the respective area. This transparency allows customers and guests an open and credible insight into the company’s sustainability activities. The GreenSign logo, the barometer, an attractive and honest mission statement and an informative sustainability report can be presented on the company’s website and on all social media channels. Sustainability should always be communicated in a positive way and not associated with doing without. A carbon footprint also helps communicate the hotel’s conservation of resources. GreenSign offers the CO2 footprint and water footprint additionally and issues a corresponding certificate for it.

I am interested in sustainability, but unfortunately BIO products and straws made of wood are too expensive for me!

Sustainability does not have to be expensive! The first step is to strive for effective resource conservation, i.e. to use less water and energy and produce smaller amounts of waste. The costs saved in this way can, if desired, be invested in environmentally friendly products such as food, cleaning products or cosmetics in the next step. In the GreenCommunity you will also find many sustainable partners who offer special conditions for GreenSign certified companies. This way, you can still save a little on sustainable products.

How do I become part of the GreenCommunity?

Every GreenSign certified company automatically becomes part of the GreenCommunity. It has access to the sustainable partner network and can contact interesting suppliers directly. Sustainable suppliers can inquire about the current partner program by contacting the GreenSign Institute.

Why should I do the certificate GreenSign Hotel?

Sustainability is the basis of a healthy, successful and long-lasting business. Cooperation with GreenSign Hotel ensures preparation for the European Green Deal, increases attractiveness on the employee market and retains guests.

Is the GreenSign Hotel certificate serious?

GreenSign Hotel implements practical standards from EMAS, ISO 14001and ISO 26000 in its certification catalog. In addition, GreenSign Hotel is recommended by the Federal Office for the Environment and is recognized by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council).

How long may a company remain in a GreenSign level?

The goal is to improve at each re-certification, however, much can improve within one level. There is no obligation to improve to the next higher level during recertification. Through an environmental program, which is prepared by the company after the self-evaluation, the entrepreneurs commit themselves to continuously implement sustainability activities.

What are the mandatory criteria for GreenSign Hotel?

There are 20 mandatory criteria with GreenSign that must be met by every hotel. These mandatory criteria include:

  • Creation of a corporate mission statement
  • Consideration of human rights and environmental protection
  • Publication of the mission statement
  • Appointment of a CSR representative
  • Creation of an environmental program
  • Stakeholders are informed about sustainability activities
  • Preparation of an annual environmental report
  • Continuous improvement of sustainability to be documented
  • Legal regulations are complied with Systematic survey of energy consumption for electricity, heating, water and waste
  • Compliance with wastewater disposal regulations Water risks are assessed and documented
  • Regular maintenance of water installations Water risks are documented
  • Drinking quality of water is checked regularly
  • Regular training (internal stakeholders) is provided in the area of corporate ecology
  • Employees receive information on the hotel’s sustainability concept during onboarding
  • Support for social / cultural projects
How do we make sustainability measurable with our criteria?

GreenSign claims to be a holistic certificate, i.e. it refers equally to the topics of ecology, economy and social issues. Sustainability is recorded transparently in the form of a level system and a bar chart.

We do not find the barometer meaningful, could it be more concrete, it does not tell the guest/customer anything?

The barometer presents 8 areas of sustainability in a very concrete and transparent way! Detailed information can be requested from the hotel or company or can be viewed through extensive information on the company’s website.

What can we do right now, today, to become more sustainable?

To do this, we first need to conduct an analysis of the current situation so that we can develop and implement a sustainability strategy. What always applies: saving electricity, reducing waste, digitizing paper processes, reducing water consumption and avoiding environmentally harmful emissions.

How can we be self-sufficient in energy?

This is possible by installing various decentralized, environmentally friendly power generators, e.g. photovoltaic system, solar system, wood chip system, …

The logo looks nice, but how do I know what the company really does?

The unique bar chart gives the stakeholder a transparent and  insight into the company’s sustainability activities. For more detailed information, anyone interested can contact the hotel’s CSR officer, who can release the detailed audit report at their discretion. The best thing is always an open presentation of the sustainability measures on the website and an authentic look inside – via social media & Co.

How authentic is the assessment in the audit, how can you be accurately verified?

During the audit, there are various possibilities to check the information provided by the hotelier. In addition to technical and process questions, the auditor can also inspect the warehouse, gain insight into delivery bills and also spontaneously question employees. This is done in compliance with the data protection.

With an announced audit, it’s not quite authentic, is it?

Since an audit requires approx. 4 hours and also preparation, as well as a representative of the hotel,  an audit appointment must be agreed upon and prepared. An incorrect statement on the part of the hotelier is not only self-damaging, but also unfavorable to guests and GreenSign.

How well known is GreenSign in the hotel industry?

We are the market leader in the hotel industry in Germany. We are currently working on expansion in Austria and Switzerland.

Are there references from larger hotel groups?

We have a total of over 750 hotels (as of October 2023) in our portfolio and are constantly growing. Among them are 3* hotels up to 5* hotels. We have just certified all hotels of the Victor’s chain. Well-known hotels are Öschberghof, Grand Elysee Hotel in Hamburg, Papa Rhein, Europäischer Hof Heidelberg, Lindenberg, Forestis, Orania Berlin, Bachmair Weissach.

Your question was not there?

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