First Green Key Boutique Hotel in South Africa

21 Nettleton attains their Green Key Award from WESSA, becoming South Africa’s first boutique hotel to achieve this accolade for its efforts in sustainability.

21 Nettleton Boutique hotel

An exciting partnership between WESSA and 21 Nettleton has resulted in the private boutique hotel in Clifton, Cape Town being awarded the prestigious Green Key award. Green Key is a well-established global tourism industry ecolabel which recognises excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operations. Sustainability is a core focus of 21 Nettleton’s operations. The boutique hotel was able to comply with the highest environmental management standards set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

21 Nettleton has been described as the ‘epitome of elegance and luxury’. WESSA, with its continual focus on environmental education and development, is pleased to support the property on its sustainable journey – proving that it is possible to become sustainable without compromising on comfort and quality.

Wessa green key award

On 21 Nettleton’s Green Key award, Roxanne Dovey, Green Key National Coordinator at WESSA said: “The property has set an excellent sustainability standard for boutique hotels in the country and we are very proud of the steps they have taken to meet this global standard”.

On receiving the award, Dirk Jacobs, Curator of 21 Nettleton said: “At 21 Nettleton we have always been mindful about the impact which we have on the environment. For years I have listened to the travel trade green-wash their environmental consciousness claims – it has become more of a trend than anything else. We wanted to have our establishment verified for its environmental efforts and we are hoping that Green Key will become the accepted standard in South Africa that it is in Europe.”

Jacobs concluded with his vision for the South African Sustainable Tourism Industry, “Due to South Africa being a long-haul destination for international travelers, it should start with us taking the extra effort to help offset the carbon footprint left behind by our guests. I hope to see less green-washed talk at trade shows and more evidence of verified sustainability programmes and initiatives.”

Green Key implements new ways of looking at the operations of tourism establishments and promotes the development of sustainable and responsible tourism through strict and progressive criteria. It is currently implemented in 66 countries, with 3 100 certified establishments. WESSA is the National Operator for this prestigious international eco-label in South Africa.


It is WESSA’s vision to grow the Green Key label throughout South Africa, and together with other reputable eco-labels, ensure that South Africa becomes one of the most recognised sustainable tourism destinations in the world.

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