GreenKey day 2019
  • publication: 1 March 2019

AIHR news – GreenKey day 2019

By Elena Cavagnaro and Stephanie Ching

On February 14th 2019 the 20th national GreenKey day took place at the stunning Netherlands Open Museum in Arnhem. The Museum is located in a wide park with antique houses, farms and factories from different parts of the Netherlands. This national museum focuses on the everyday lives of ordinary people.

The AIHR professorship Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism and GreenKey have a long standing cooperation. In 2018 GreenKey commissioned to the professorship a study on the reasons why small hotels often fail to achieve a GreenKey certification. This research has been carried out by Stephanie Ching during her master study at Stenden Hotel Management School.


During one of the meetings between Stephanie Ching, professor Elena Cavagnaro and GreenKey director Erik van Dijk, it was noticed that communicating sustainability is still difficult for GreenKey certified establishments. From here the idea was born to offer a workshop on communicating sustainability at the 2019 GreenKey national event.


The workshop was intended for max 25 people. Yet few days before the national GreenKey day up to 200 people had already enrolled! Elena and Stephanie quickly reworked the workshop into an interactive lecture, and delivered it twice in an old machine factory that has been completely refurbished into a beautiful congress venue (see photo above).  Among the listeners there were representative from al major hotel chains such as Mercure Hotels; NH; Golden Tulip; Westcord Hotels and Bilderberg. Of course holiday villages, such as Landal GreenParks, and camping sites were represented.  Surprisingly also zoos and banks participated in the ‘workshop’!


The title of our workshop was ‘Communicating sustainability: do it right or don’t do it!’. Hereby the description as it was published on GreenKey website (in Ducth):


‘Doe het goed of doe het niet: communiceren rond duurzaamheid’ Na deze workshop hebben deelnemers inzicht in wat werkt en wat (waarschijnlijk) niet werkt bij het communiceren rond duurzaamheid.

Tijdens deze workshop worden enkele voorbeelden van goed en minder goed communiceren doorgenomen. Er worden ook resultaten gedeeld uit onderzoek van het lectoraat ’sustainability in hospitality and tourism’ van Stenden Hotel Management School over de vraag: welke duurzame maatregelen verwachten gasten en hoe zouden zij graag zien dat met hen wordt gecommuniceerd? Hierbij wordt ook ingegaan op certificering, zoals GreenKey.

De workshop is interactief”.

As the photos show, Stephanie and I enjoyed giving this lecture. Most importantly, we recieved very positve feedback from the audience! Yet the best of the day had still to come: on the podium together with colleagues from Stenden Hotel we received the GreenKey gold certificate!