Our long-term vision is to make sustainable diving the social norm

Reef-World’s very ethos - and the purpose of the Green Fins initiative - is to encourage, educate, inspire and empower people to protect their local marine ecosystems through robust, evidence-based approaches. Through Green Fins’ free membership, Reef-World supports members in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact by providing training, posters, information, videos and guides. These free tools and resources cover a range of themes such as: environmental best practices, briefing guidelines, marine debris, single-use plastic, trash, fish feeding, responsible battery disposal and more. 

  • Green Fins harnesses the inherent passion of the marine tourism community to protect coral reefs.
  • Green Fins provides local and national governments with capacity building support to help them put the environment at the forefront of their agenda.
  • This is done by providing local and international businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to instill long term behavioural change for operational shifts towards sustainable practice.
  • The approach is proven to result in a measurable reduction in environmental impact (Hunt et al., 2013).

Coral reefs are remarkably resilient; by removing direct threats posed by marine tourism, reefs are better able to survive wider stressors, such as the effects of climate change. 


Reef-World’s Green Fins initiative promotes best practice in responsible marine tourism by providing, and measuring compliance to, the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry.

Environmental guidelines, based on a 15-point Code of Conduct, give marine tourism operators recommendations of how to minimise environmental impact both above and below the water. We promote best practice by providing this Code of Conduct, and many resources explaining how to implement the code, free of charge for both members and non-members.

Each year, members undergo an assessment which evaluates their level of environmental impact and ensures they improve year on year. During an assessment, the Assessor will observe the dive or snorkel centre’s practices and determine three points for improvement over the following year. The Assessor hosts a one-to-one consultation with management to discuss how to best implement the recommended changes. The individual feedback and support provided - which includes practical, low-cost alternatives to common threats to the marine environment such as anchoring, provision of single-use plastics and lack of awareness of regulations - is based on the assessor’s evaluation of each company’s area of highest negative impact on the reef. 

Green Fins certificates are awarded based on ongoing improvements.


When Green Fins is implemented in a new country, Reef-World works with national and local government bodies and local NGOs to train them as implementing partners. This capacity building ensures the sustainability of the Green Fins model and bridges the communication gap often seen between government and the private sector.


192 Assessors trained

The [assessor] training was great to see what is happening on site with the coral reefs and diving industry, and valuable to be able to talk to our stakeholders directly

Emelou Catipon, Green Fins Philippines coordinator

Green Fins assessors annually deliver awareness raising on environmental impacts on coral reefs right into the hearts of the local communities at tourism hotspots, providing actionable solutions to reduce the threats from their operation and maximise their conservation potential.


4,500+ dive staff trained

Nothing else provides such a high level of service together with environmental training for local staff, environmental assessments and knowledge of the grassroots situation

Holger Horn, Philippine Fun Divers owner


  • Green Fins assessment data is used to inform the development of regulations by government. This has been in the form of national legislation integrating the Green Fins approach into country wide environmental initiatives, to local legislation supporting dive shops in following best practice.
  • Green Fins provides the tools to support industry compliance to the Sustainable Diving and Snorkelling ISO (ISO 21416 and 21417).
  • Governments use Green Fins outputs to report on their obligations to international environmental conventions (Aichi targets, ICRI, CTI-CFF, SDGs)


  • Reef-World is also working to integrate Green Fins tools and messages within the corporate DNA of key leaders from all segments of the marine tourism industry; equipment manufacturers, dive training agencies, resorts and travel agents. From improving the sustainability of their value chains, to making it easier for tourists to choose a Green Fins member these partnerships are resulting in measurable action for the environment as well as shaping consumer demand for sustainability.
Building a symbiotic partnership with The Reef-World Foundation has allowed us to combine our expertise with Green Fins practices to elevate our business and set an example for other dive industry operators

Clay McCardell, President, Explorer Ventures Liveaboard Diving

Become a Symbiotic Partner

See our Partners

  • Reef-World works with a number of media outlets and dive/travel expos to promote messages of environmentally-friendly diving and snorkelling to the general public. Social marketing and strategic, targeted outreach campaigns reach divers and snorkelers all over the world with tips and tricks for reducing their environmental impacts, and the sustainable diving dialogues and workshops we run have started conversations with the leading industry decision makers about conservation.


  • Reef-World and UN Environment represent Green Fins at international conservation conferences to share lessons learned and successful strategies from Green Fins to the wider conservation community.


Read more about our work at recent conferences in the Reef-World 2017- 2018 Annual Report

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