The Green Hospitality Programme has grown from a number of roots since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. A Green Fáilte Award Scheme was developed by Cork County and Cork City Councils in the late 1990’s under their 20/20 Vision Waste Management Plan, with the support of the Clean Technology Centre, CIT. However, there was not the demand or economic pressures present at this time, and the scheme ceased.

In the early years of the new millennium a number of organisations produced Guides for the Hospitality Sector in adopting a Greener image. At the forefront here was CERT (pre Fáilte Ireland) and the Institute of Technology, Tralee. At this time the IHF adopted the ITT Guide and promoted it to their members. Waste costs also exploded in 200-2002 and were further effected by the Foot & Mouth disease and CJD scare and Food Waste ceased to be separately collected. This led to substantial increases in costs and the IHF identified a need for a Waste Management Guide.

Hospitality Solutions Consulting Ltd were approached and the IHF Waste Management Strategy was produced and issued to all members. HSC then partnered with the Irish Hospitality Institute and REPAK and ran a number of Training Workshops to support the Strategy. In 2002 Cork Chamber of Commerce also had a Waste Committee and this was where HSC met CTC. HSC was aware of all the previous initiatives and with its Hospitality background identified an opportunity and need from the industry for on-going support – and the best way to deliver this would be through an Award Scheme.

Cork Chamber agreed to support it along with backing from the 2 Cork Councils. HSC asked CTC to work together on the programme and the new Green Fáilte Award was launched – with support from the IHF and IHI generated by HSC Ltd. Initially in Cork for a few years with Waterford and Carlow also joining and then GFA linked up with the Limerick Clare Kerry (LCK) Waste Management Initiative from 2007-09 and promoted the programme to the hospitality sector in this area.

In 2004/05 the IHI applied for and received funding through the EPA Cleaner Greener Production Programme to conduct research into the environmental performance of Irish Hotels. This was completed during 2004/2005 and resulted in the “Greening Irish Hotels” report, which is used as the benchmark for the sector to date. HSC and CTC partnered on the production of this report. During these years the GFA expanded from focusing on Waste Management to Water and Energy. In 2007, following the successful production of the CGPP report, the EPA identified a need for a National Hospitality Certification Programme. HSC and CTC partnered to tender for this funding, via the National Waste Prevention Programme under the Green Business Initiative, and was successful, and then launched the GFA across Ireland. This funding ran from 2008 to 2011.

At this time the GFA name was changed to the Green Hospitality Awards to avoid confusion within the sector. A second Framework Agreement from the EPA was successfully tendered for in late 2011 and this Framework ran to the end of 2015.  From 2016 forward Green Hospitality has received no support funding and operates as a stand-alone organisation.

To be economically sustainable the programme continued to develop and is now marketed under the name – Green Hospitality Programme.  Currently the Green Hospitality Programme operates the following; Green Hospitality Eco-label, Green Hospitality Award – Silver & Bronze – Certification Programme.

GreenTravel.ie was developed during this time to promote all tourism and hospitality businesses that operate responsibly and sustainably to visitors.

GREENMark by GreenTravel.ie – through 2017 and 2018 a complementary approval programme was developed to enable small businesses become recognised as operating sustainably.  The GREENMark also now includes the Greener Festivals and Green Destinations programmes.

Additional services are being developed to respond to the needs of the sector.  Plastic Smart and Carbon Smart were launched in 2018 and as the need/demand arises we will adapt and respond.

A complementary consulting service, the Green Trading Company (GTC), was also setup to differentiate Resource Efficiency support from the Certification Programme. GTC offers general resource efficiency support to the hospitality sector under the which focuses on cost savings and grant aid for Energy, water and waste management.

GTC also provides 2 product/services for all businesses – GREENClean and Clean the World.