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Green Certification and Accreditation


A significant factor in becoming more sustainable is reducing an organisation's greenhouse gas emissions, their "carbon footprint". There are several methods and tools to help museums do this including through certain green accreditation, training and certification schemes. This page highlights several options available to museums

Green Tourism Scheme

Green Tourism is an awards certification programme that aims to recognise tourism businesses which demonstrate a commitment to or actively working to becoming more sustainable. They state their aim is to promote a greener, cleaner environment for people, places and our planet.

Green Tourism highlight five top reasons for joining which are:

  • Gain independent certification that’s respected by the customer
  • Achieve distinct market advantage to attract leisure or business spend
  • Build your brand with Green Tourism’s monthly campaigns
  • Stand out from competitors
  • Access bespoke action plan to improve and save costs.

They offer advice and guidance on issues including:

  • Reducing energy use
  • Saving water
  • Efficient & eco-friendly waste disposal
  • Ethical buying
  • Staying local & seasonal
  • Minimising food miles
  • Promoting biodiversity
  • Adopting a smart, sustainable outlook from top to bottom.

Different levels of certification are available which depend on the steps your organisation is currently taking or plan to take. Progression is possible and encouraged to stimulate improvement in operations. Annual fees are associated with this scheme and are dependant on the size and type of your organisation. Museums are categorised in the "Visitor Attraction, Hostels and other Tourism Business" section.

Further information can be found on their website: Promoting sustainable business tourism | Green Tourism - Green Tourism (

Creative Green Certification - Julie's Bicycle

Julie’s Bicycle is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at climate action within the arts and cultural sector. The Creative Green Certification is an award programme designed specifically for the arts and culture industries. Organisations which apply for this certification will be assessed on a framework which awards points on the following criteria:

  • Commitment: Integration of environmental policies and procedures, including procurement, programming and communications.
  • Understanding: Assessment of your organisations monitoring and insights into areas of environmental impact.
  • Improvement: Assessment of your organisation's achievements and environmental impact reduction.

Based off this assessment, the submitting organisation will be awarded between one and five stars for the certification. 

Participation in this scheme, along with certification, grants the organisation access to:

  • An independent assessment of your environmental performance.
  • A detailed report with your results, highlights and tailored recommendations.
  • Invite to two annual workshops with speakers.
  • Receipt of a newsletter with case studies and resources every two months.
  • Invitation to the Creative Green Awards Ceremony.

Further information can be found on their website: Creative Green Certification | Julie's Bicycle | Sustainability Training (

Green Key

Green Key is an international voluntary organisation that award an eco-label to mostly accommodation-based tourist organisations but also to other attractions, including museums. To obtain this certification, an organisation must demonstrate adherence to a set criterion as stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

There is a significant criterion a museum must adhere to in order to gain Green Key certification with certain “Imperative” and some “Guideline” criteria. Full details of which can be found at: THE GREEN KEY (

A summary of the areas of focus include:

  • Staff involvement
  • Environmental management
  • Guest information
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Washing & Cleaning
  • Food & Beverage
  • Waste
  • Administration
  • Indoor Environment
  • Green Areas
  • Green Activities
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

The application process for joining consists of three parts, further information at: Green Key — Green Key application process.

There are costs for participating in the Green Key programme in Scotland. Further information can be found at: Green Key — Costs

Earth Check

Earth Check is an international organisation prioritising scientific benchmarking certification and advise for the travel and tourism sector around sustainability and climate performances. In comparison to the other certification/accreditation schemes available Earth Check offers a wider range of services encompassing a wider ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability issues. For the climate and sustainability issues that this section is researching, the most relevant services for museums appear to be:

  • Decarbonisation and Resilience: provides ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate impacts
  • Zero Waste: reduce the amount of waste your organisation produces to, or close to, zero.
  • Climate Check: development of a climate change strategy
  • Earth Check Certified: a certification programme based on your environmental footprint
  • Earth Check Evaluation: an entry level program to assess an organisations economic, social and environmental impact
  • Event Check: a service which helps to set up, manage, verify and market your events as sustainably as possible.

Earth Check offer more services, some of which may be of use/interest to different museums, though the ones above appear the most relevant initially. Costs for each service vary and are dependant on the type and size of the organisation. For accurate quotes, Earth Check has to be contacted directly at their website.

More information on them and their services, including enquiry options, can be found at EarthCheck.

Related guide

Green Networks

A page discussing green networks for museums and offering some examples.

Find out more