Green Fins Certified Membership

Join the first independent network of certified dive and snorkel operators committed to protecting coral reefs and other marine ecosystems

Over 700 marine tourism operators have joined as Green Fins Certified Members, adopting the Green Fins Code of Conduct and improving their environmental impact over time. Join them today!

What is Green Fins certified membership?

Certified Members are marine tourism operators who have received an in-person assessment from a Green Fins assessor within the last 12 months. Assessors are local to the Green Fins national team in their country and receive formal training to be able to conduct assessments.

MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GREEN FINS HUB

The Green Fins Hub will host both Certified and Digital Members in one place, enabling operational staff to stay in touch with the Green Fins network and monitor and assist their operation’s sustainability journey. Here are some of the features:

Solutions Library

Get access to proven environmental solutions to reduce impacts on underwater ecosystems, tried and tested by the Green Fins network over two decades.

Action Plan Tracker

Receive an annual environmental action plan with set goals, as well as an advanced user interface that allows you to see your progress over time.

Community Forum

You’re not on this journey alone. Get access to the exclusive Community Forum to discuss environmental issues and share lessons and ideas with like-minded operators, NGOs, Governments and industry partners from all over the world.

WHO CAN BE A CERTIFIED MEMBER?

If the country you operate in has an active assessor team then you could be able to receive certified membership – currently, these are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • The Philippines

You can find each country’s team profile on the Find a Member page.

Are you a marine tourism operator without access to a Green Fins assessor? Fear not! You can still join the Green Fins network as a Digital Member.

How much does it cost?

Green Fins is a not for profit initiative and operational costs are subsidised by national funds and grants. Certified Members are encouraged to pay what they can to support Green Fins efforts around the world – the contribution amount starts at $0 and is kept confidential. You will also need to cover the cost of up to two assessors for at least one diving or snorkelling excursion (with real guests present) per year, including travel and accommodation costs as necessary.

How does it work?

For operators wanting to become members in active Green Fins countries:

  1. Owner or manager registers

    a personal account for themselves on the Green Fins Hub.

  2. Manager registers the operation in the Hub

    by selecting ‘Certified Member’ when prompted.

  3. The local Green Fins team will contact the manager

    to schedule an assessment when the Member has guests.

  4. Members will be assessed annually

    and must show continued improvement to maintain active status.

  5. On the assessment day:

    In-person assessment carried out by trained Green Fins assessors 

    Environmental training provided to all staff and crew (1 hour presentation)

    Consultation with assessors to agree on 3 action points to improve environmental sustainability of the year of membership

Certified membership levels

Green Fins Certified Members are scored – based on the Green Fins Code of Conduct – out of 330, the lower the score, the lower the impact to the environment. Based on the results of their assessments, Certified Members are classed as Gold, Silver or Bronze by their environmental performance.

Gold Member Stamp

Certified Gold are members that scored 50 or less

Silver Member Stamp

Certified Silver are members that scored 150 or less

Bronze Member Stamp

Certified Bronze are members that scored 200 or less

Operations that score 201 or higher are classed as a Restricted Member and will need to be reassessed to receive membership benefits.

What are the benefits of being a Green Fins Member?

  • In-person environmental assessment *Exclusive to Certified Members*
    Locally trained Green Fins assessors will spend the day at your operation to assess your daily environmental practices, using a point system developed by experts in the field.
  • In-person environmental consultation *Exclusive to Certified Members*
    Consult with your Green Fins assessors to create a bespoke environmental action plan to suit your operation.
  • In-person environmental training for staff *Exclusive to Certified Members*
    Your whole team will receive annual in-house presentations in order to learn how to follow the code of conduct, conservation and how to take action for the environment.
  • Certificate of Certified membership level *Exclusive to Certified Members*
    Receive proof of your Bronze, Silver or Gold membership to display proudly at your operation.
  • Green Fins Member logo for your marketing materials
    Use the Green Fins Member logo on your website and marketing materials to let your customers know that you are taking real action for the ocean.
  • Priority Green Fins website listing *Exclusive to Certified Members*
    Your Green Fins level will directly impact how high you are listed on the Green Fins website. If you improve your environmental practices and earn Gold, you will be seen first
  • Enhanced listing on booking platforms
    Increase your bookings! Your business information will be available to popular booking platforms accompanied by the Green Fins logo.
  • Access to extensive environmental solutions library
    Get access to proven environmental solutions, tried and tested by the Green Fins network over two decades.
  • Meet global eco-standards
    Take tangible action to help meet Sustainable Development Goals (12 & 14) and ISO Standards 21416 / 21417.
  • Compliance with in house environmental programmes
    Increase compliance to the requirements set by your agency’s in house environmental programmes including Green Star, Green Diver, Mission Blue.
  • Publicity
    Members that engage in the Green Fins Community Forum and consistently demonstrate their commitment to improve may be featured in public articles, news, blogs.

Testimonials

Hub Registration Faqs

The Green Fins Hub is a global platform for all Green Fins Members to manage their environmental sustainability journey. Features include account management, an environmental action plan, a library of environmental solutions for marine tourism-related threats and the Green Fins Community Forum.

Everyone who works for a marine tourism operation and wants to participate in Green Fins should register a personal account and associate it with the operation that they work for – please ask the person who manages your operation on Green Fins Hub for an invite.

Personal accounts enable everyone to choose their own username to participate in the community forum and contribute to implementing the Green Fins solutions and reduce their operation’s score irrespective of their seniority within the organisation. It also means that users can represent themselves as well as their workplace and change jobs without losing their posts and reputation in the community as their career develops.

The Hub will recommend all users to sign up with an email address that is not tied to their current workplace. (Alternatively remember to change your personal account email if you move operations between jobs – if you are locked out of your account please contact [email protected] for assistance).

An ‘operation’ is your dive shop, snorkel company, or liveaboard in a single location.

If the operation is part of a bigger organisation that shares a common brand, each individual operation must register separately.

It is recommended that the local manager and at least one other employee from each operation registers on the Hub.

Centralised management is achieved by adding senior staff members to each operation they oversee as Hub teammates, they are then able to see what is going on at each operation and gain an overview of how each operation is performing against the others, and how the brand is performing overall. This is especially interesting if the brand has a mix of Certified and Digital operations.

Personal accounts may be associated with one or more operations (as either teammates or Hub managers). There can only be one Hub Manager per operation. This is because the individual who is conducting the annual evaluations should be a local manager deeply involved in operations with physical access and who has recently dived with customers.

New operations must be registered by a person with local decision making authority within the organisation, usually the owner or manager.

If you are replacing a manager in an existing operation please ask the manager to invite you to that operation on the Green Fins Hub and transfer management responsibility to you.

In the case of liveaboards with Green Fins digital membership, it is fine for senior or central management to complete the initial registration but Hub management responsibility should be handed over to the purser or captain so that a local manager with physical access and who has recently dived with customers is the person conducting the self-evaluation.

Everyone at the operation who works to implement Green Fins must register a personal Hub account for themselves.

Hub Managers sign the Code of Conduct, pay for membership, complete the self-evaluation and agree to their operation’s personalised action plan. The Hub Manager should be the local decision making authority within the organisation deeply involved in operations, usually the owner, manager or purser (not necessarily the most senior person working for the brand or organisation).

Teammates can access the Community Forum, contribute to the action plan log and have full access to the solutions library. Teammates do not complete self-evaluations.

Certified Membership FAQs

Green Fins Certified Members are dive or snorkel operators who have committed to following the Green Fins Code of Conduct and have achieved a minimum standard of environmental performance during their annual assessment.

Certified Members are based in an active Green Fins location and receive annual assessments, training and feedback to help them reduce their environmental impact in line with the Code of Conduct. Certified Members are ranked by their environmental performance (Bronze, Silver, Gold) based on the results of their assessments. These operators must achieve a minimum standard and show ongoing improvements during their assessment to be certified.

When Green Fins is implemented in a new country, Reef-World works with national and local government bodies and NGOs to train them as that country’s national team. After a 6-day workshop, these national teams will have a team of assessors qualified to recruit, train and conduct assessments of new Green Fins Members in that country. Once this national team is up and running, the destination is considered an “active” Green Fins country.

Please note that due to Green Fins team capacity and geographical location, some operations may not be able to receive an in-person assessment even though they reside within an active country. In this case, we recommend that the operation becomes a Digital Member until the team can reach them in the future.

These ones!

Green Fins Certified Members are assessed annually based on a 15-point code of conduct, which measures the company’s impact on coral reefs. An assessment takes into account an operator’s processes both above and below the water to gain an overall picture of its environmental impact.

During a Green Fins assessment, trained Green Fins assessors will visit the dive or snorkel centre and join a regular diving or snorkelling trip with the guests to observe the staff and customers, look around the shop and ask a few questions. This allows the assessor to observe what the operator is doing well and determine three action points for improvement over the following year. The assessor will meet with the dive centre’s owner or manager to discuss these action points and conduct a one-hour environmental awareness presentation for all staff. This can all take place within one day to make it as easy as possible for the operator.

Green Fins Certified Members are assessed annually based on a 15-point code of conduct, which measures the company’s impact on coral reefs: of a possible score of 330, the lower the score, the lower its impact. Based on the results of their assessments, Certified Members are ranked as Gold, Silver or Bronze by their environmental performance. Certification is based on meeting a score of 200 or less and showing annual improvements.

Activities posing a greater threat to marine biodiversity (e.g. dropping an anchor) are given a higher impact score. During an assessment, business practices are graded based on a traffic light system (red, yellow or green) based on the presence and effectiveness of controls in place to mitigate environmental threats. Scores are kept confidential.

The exact score of each Green Fins Member is confidential and cannot be shared externally. However, Members are welcome to share their own scores, should they wish.

The Green Fins assessment is used to help dive businesses identify their areas of highest risk to the reef and support them in implementing low-cost alternatives to harmful processes.

During a feedback session on the assessment day, the business owner or manager will be provided with practical, low-cost alternatives to harmful practices to help them lower their environmental impact. If they apply these solutions, then they can reduce their score in the next year’s assessment.

When an assessment is due, the Green Fins team will be in touch with the operator’s owner or manager to organise the best date for this to take place. It is up to the individual operator whether they want to share this information with their staff. Some businesses prefer not to tell their staff an assessment is taking place as this gives the most accurate picture of their behaviour on a normal day.

If your operation does not manage to effectively reduce your threat to the marine environment within 2 years of membership, your membership will be restricted from many of the marketing benefits that are offered to Members.

In order for your membership to be reactivated, you will need to organise a new assessment and prove you have reduced your threat to the marine environment (by reducing your assessment score).

The assessment criteria are clear and comprehensive and are based on a financial risk assessment methodology. Assessors are qualified after meeting a minimum standard during an intensive six-day face-to-face training programme. The Reef-World Foundation provides constant remote support to assessors in the field during assessments. As a result, the margin of error is very low. This enables Green Fins to provide an independent set of global environmental standards for dive and snorkel operators around the world.

An active Member has been trained to follow the Green Fins Code of Conduct and has been assessed within the last 18 months.

An inactive Member has been previously trained but has not been assessed in the last 18 months. Note that this could be due to either a lack of cooperation on their part, change in management, or a lack of resources to enable a Green Fins assessor to access them.

An interested Member has filled out the membership form but has not yet been assessed or trained.

A restricted Member has either not yet reached the minimum threshold assessment score, has not managed to effectively reduce their assessment score within the last two years or has been involved in an activity that is seen as seriously detrimental to the marine environment.

An operator remains an active Green Fins Member for 18 months after their assessment. If it is not possible to organise another assessment within this time frame, their membership will become inactive until they are able to undertake their next assessment.

An inactive Green Fins Member needs to go through the assessment process again in order for their certification to be re-activated. In order to do so, they can get in touch with the Green Fins national team in their area to organise a new assessment at the next convenient time.