The Green Leaf is the iconic symbol of the Wilderness Foundation, who initiated the Environmental Standard. Legend has it that Grey Owl offered a green leaf to civilization as a symbol of environmental harmony. With this in mind, the standard seeks to recognise environmental consciousness in the South African tourism industry.

Did you know?

The three pointed leaf of the Msinsi tree, the symbol of the Wilderness Foundation, is symbolic of the most important relationships in the world: person to divinity, person to soil and person to person.

"Take this leaf because it comes from a tree that is a tree of the wild and you will also find it next to every kraal. So it is a tree of the people too." These are the words of Magqubu Ntombela, one of the founders of the Wilderness Foundation.

The green leaf stems from the Erythrina caffra or, as it is commonly known, the coral tree. The Wilderness Foundation sees these two as akin to mother and child. The Foundation hopes to forge a better understanding between ecosystem health and human well-being. The Green Leaf Environmental Standard is a tried and tested environmental management system aimed at fostering this understanding.

The Green Leaf Environmental Standard is categorised into five elements that reflect environmental concerns: water, energy, waste, green procurement and innovation. These elements are then divided into sub-categories, which produce a score out of 100. Scores above 75% are recognised with a Green Leaf, while those above 95% are distinguished with a Gold Leaf.

Since its launch in 2008, accommodation owners all over Africa have embraced the Green Leaf Environmental Standard and are undergoing assessments. Tour operators have also endorsed the Green Leaf Environmental Standard in response to the growing environmental pressures, traveller awareness and consumerism.

Sustainable tourism is essential if the planet is to reverse the effects of global environmental damage. If you are travelling in South Africa, seek out the Green Leaf Environmental Standard as a means of minimising your own carbon footprint as well as issuing a challenge to those in the tourism industry that being green is not only viable but essential.

Visit the Green Leaf website to see those organisations that have been recognised by the Foundation.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Greenleaf Environmental Standard
Tel:+ 27 (0)41 581 2666
Email: green2@greenleafecostandard.net