Our vision is to make sustainable diving the social norm

Coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet - but they're facing both global threats, such as the increase in marine debris and the effects of climate change, and local ones, such as irresponsible tourism behaviours. 

Yet, 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 very ethos - and the purpose of the Green Fins initiative - is to encourage, educate, inspire and empower people to protect coral reefs and related ecosystems; making them better able to survive wider global stressors. 


Reef World's Green Fins initiative harnesses the passion of the marine tourism community to protect coral reefs. 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. Providing these businesses wtih the knowledge and tools they need to become more sustainable has been proven to measurably reduce their environmental impact (Hunt et al., 2013).


Green Fins promotes best practice in responsible marine tourism by providing the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry. 

Environmental guidelines, based on a 15-point Code of Conduct, help marine tourism operators minimise their environmental impact both above and below the water. There are many tools and resources available, free of charge, to help for both members and non-members implement the Code of Conduct and become more sustainable.

Each year, active 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 recommend points for improvement over the following year. The individual feedback and support provided to help implement these changes is based on the Assessor’s evaluation of each company’s area of highest negative impact on the reef. This can include 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. 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, helps governments put the environment at the forefront of their agenda and bridges the communication gap often seen between government and the private sector.

Green Fins assessors deliver regular environmental training to communities working in the dive and snorkel industry at tourism hotspots. This training provides solutions to help them reduce their environmental threats and maximise their conservation potential.

So far we have trained 192 Assessors & over 4,500 dive staff!


Reef-World is proud to partner with a range of companies - including equipment manufacturers, dive training agencies, resorts and travel agents - who are supporting our work to make sustainable diving the social norm. 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. These collaborations also directly contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 14 (Life Below Water) and 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production). 

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

We also work closely with the media and dive/travel shows to promote environmentally-friendly diving and snorkelling to the general public - our campaigns are helping divers and snorkellers all over the world reduce their environmental impact.  Reef-World and the UN Environment also represent Green Fins at international conservation conferences; sharing lessons learned through Green Fins and successful strategies with wider conservation community. Our sustainable diving workshops have started conversations about sustainability with leading industry decision makers and are helping businesses globally realise a healthy ocean really does mean a healthy business. 



  • 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)

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

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