Posted on December 15, 2019

Representatives from 60 countries took part in the recent 2019 Green Key Operators Meeting in Doha to discuss the status and growth strategy of the international eco label for tourism facilities, while sharing best practices to boost Qatar’s own sustainability efforts.

Operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism and has national operators running programs in countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The FEE is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world-leader in environmental education and education for sustainable development.

Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), a member of Qatar Foundation, became the national operator for Green Key in Qatar in 2017 and has since awarded the Green Key to six of Qatar’s hotels in recognition of their eco-friendly practices. Worldwide, the voluntary eco-label has been awarded to over 3,100 hotels and other establishments in 60 countries. “Partnering with the Green Key program is one of the ways we are guiding tourism establishments in Qatar to do their part in achieving the global and national sustainability goals,” said Engineer Meshal Al Shamari, Director, QGBC. “With the hospitality sector expected to play a major role in Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, we look forward to continuing to share best practices that help boost our national sustainability efforts.”

Among the main topics of discussion at the annual meeting, chaired by FEE President, Lesley Jones, was the revision of Green Key criteria (2021-2025), the new international Green Key database, and Green Key’s response to the FEE’s climate emergency strategy. Attendees also benefited from country-specific case studies, which included a presentation by Green Key Mexico, highlighting its app for on-site audits and the electronic binder. Several Green Key corporate partners, including Drinkable Air, Werner-Mertz, ACT.Global, Ecolab and Divello, as well as international hotel partners such as Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, NH Hotel Group and Radisson Hotel Group also shared their latest sustainability initiatives and programs. 

During her working visit to Qatar, Lesley Jones, FEE President, also held discussions with Qatar Foundation leadership on FEE’s Global Strategy and programs in relation to climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. She also shared updates on the QGBC-led ‘Education City Eco-Campus’ project, which will see Education City become the first multi-university certified EcoCampus worldwide. In addition to its role as Green Key national operator, QGBC hosts two education-related FEE programs in Qatar – EcoCampus and Eco-Schools – and is working to support schools and universities to transform behavior on campuses and in communities through their leadership in implementing sustainability practices.