The GSTC is pleased to announce that the ‘GreenSign Catalog Standard’ has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

The GreenSign program was created for the hotel industry by GreenSign Institut GmbH and is based in Berlin, Germany. With many hotels in 15 countries using this standard, GreenSign is also represented outside of Germany, mainly in Europe. Almost 100 criteria in the GreenSign catalog standard offer the opportunity to combine ecology, economy and social responsibility without sacrificing comfort for guests. The standard covers the areas of management and communication, the environment (energy, water, waste), biodiversity and cultural heritage, purchasing, regionality and mobility, quality management and sustainable development, and social and economic responsibility. The criteria were developed on the basis of internationally recognized frameworks for sustainability such as ISO 14001 (EMAS/environmental management), ISO 26000 (corporate social responsibility (CSR)) and the GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels.

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental principles. GSTC Recognition does not relate to the process of certification or accreditation.

“The international recognition of our GreenSign hotel standard has been a big and important milestone for us. We are very proud and optimistically look towards the future. Many of our (potential) clients and partners have anticipated the GreenSign standards’ GSTC recognition, amongst them a number of hotel chains that are relevant on the international market. We are now prepared and ready to make the next steps towards international expansion,” said Suzann Heinemann, GreenSign CEO.

“The marketplace wants clarity in the face of myriad programs for sustainable tourism, and by achieving GSTC Recognition of their standard, GreenSign retains their own identity while conforming to the universal principles embodied in the GSTC Criteria,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

Currently, 11 destination standards, 35 hotel standards, and 15 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparency, and rigor.  A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation of Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; GSTC provides an accreditation program through its partner Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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About GreenSign

GreenSign was developed by Suzann Heinemann in cooperation with the Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences as an integrated sustainability system across all value chains of the GreenLine Hotels. In 2015, with the establishment of the InfraCert Institute, GreenSign was made available to all other hotels and is now the German market leader. In addition, the Green Community was established and used for exchange, networking and cooperation between hoteliers and sustainable suppliers. Over time, GreenSign has developed further and has successfully launched its sustainability certification for offices and spa establishments.