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Green Key International joins Expedia Group in the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge

March 29, 2022

Green Key is an international eco-label awarded to accommodation providers and other hospitality facilities in more than 60 countries that commit to responsible and sustainable business practices

SEATTLE, Wash., March 29, 2022 – UNESCO and Expedia Group have announced that Green Key, a leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility within the tourism sector, is joining the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge (hereafter “The UNESCO Pledge”). The UNESCO Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally.

Green Key’s endorsement of the UNESCO Pledge means a further 3,200 properties across more than 60 countries will become part of the UNESCO Pledge, taking the total to more than 9,000 properties worldwide. The Green Key eco-label initiative is overseen by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and its national member organisations. Its priorities include increasing the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable methods and technology to reduce resource waste and helping to create sustainable behavioural change in the hospitality and tourism industry. It rigorously audits the high environmental standards expected of its sites, which include hotels, hostels, and holiday parks and other categories in the hospitality sector.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact travel can have on local environments, economies and individuals. A recent survey from Expedia Group revealed that nearly two in three (59%)[1] travelers are willing to pay more to make their trip more sustainable. The willingness to spend extra on sustainability shows that the environment is top of mind for many travelers.

Since its creation in 2019, the UNESCO Pledge has expanded, with major hotel groups and independent hotels signing up and committing to concrete, transparent and achievable action. Participating hotels support the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and waste, the conservation of energy and water, and promote sustainable community engagement. They receive a ‘We signed the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge’ certificate, renew their commitment every year, and report on progress achieved. They also receive increased visibility with a badge on multiple travel booking sites across the Expedia Group marketplace.

Jean-Philippe Monod, SVP Government and Corporate Affairs, Expedia Group, said: “The number of organisations, hotels and properties signing up to the UNESCO Pledge is increasing at an astonishing pace, with more than 9,000 properties now committed to the cause. We are delighted to partner with Green Key - a champion of sustainable tourism - and this announcement demonstrates that more and more travel businesses are willing to make concrete and transparent commitments to sustainability as the threat of climate change becomes more real by the day.” 

Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, said: “The UNESCO Pledge provides a framework for action on the ground to improve livelihoods and chart a path to a more sustainable future for travel. The commitment from Green Key International represents a significant milestone, and we are pleased to welcome more than 3,000 new properties as advocates of the UNESCO Pledge. We urge others to sign up to the Pledge and commit to progress around these essential sustainable tourism priorities, from reducing single-use plastic to saving water and energy usage, and strengthening the engagement, benefit and resiliency of local communities.”

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, said: “With Green Key being a leading standard of environmental and sustainable operations within the tourism industry, we are happy to enter a partnership with UNESCO and Expedia Group to support that thousands of properties across the world implement sustainable and resourceful practices to reduce the industry's overall environmental footprint."

 The UNESCO Pledge is available on the Expedia Group and UNESCO global site



UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’s mission and activities.

Media Contact: Clare O’Hagan, UNESCO Press Service, +33(0)145681729


About Expedia Group

Expedia Group, Inc. companies power travel for everyone, everywhere through our global platform. Driven by the core belief that travel is a force for good, we help people experience the world in new ways and build lasting connections. We provide industry-leading technology solutions to fuel partner growth and success, while facilitating memorable experiences for travelers. The Expedia Group family of brands includes: Expedia®,®, Expedia® Partner Solutions, Vrbo®, Egencia®, trivago®, Orbitz®, Travelocity®, Hotwire®, Wotif®, ebookers®, CheapTickets®, Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, Expedia Local Expert®,™, and Expedia Cruises™.

© 2021 Expedia, Inc., an Expedia Group company. All rights reserved. Trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners. CST: 2029030-50

Media Contact: Ludivine Allagnat, Senior PR Manager, Industry Relations, Expedia Group,

[1] Expedia Group conducted a study in collaboration with Wakefield Research in November 2021 among 5,500 nationally representative adults ages 18+ across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and US.

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