A Deeper Shade of Green

HI-USA is no stranger to the sustainable tourism movement.   In many ways, we helped found it.

Since its inception decades ago, hostelling has been about travelling lightly on the earth.  Even today hostellers are more likely than other travelers to share transportation, cooking and sleeping accommodations, and of course, the environment is better for it.

Sharing is part of hostelling.   As a travel ethic, it creates experiences that promote our mission goal of cross-cultural understanding.  Sharing also reduces energy, waste and carbon emissions.

Before sustainability was chic, HI-USA pioneered Sustainable Learning Centers in a handful of hostels to promote sound environmental practices.  Shortly after its launch in the mid-1990’s, the program captured the attention of British Airways, which reached across the Atlantic to award us an innovation prize.

Our commitment was reaffirmed in the 2000’s when we put green standards into place for all HI-USA hostels.   The initiative was fueled by hostel operators who themselves wanted to go the extra step.

Now HI-USA is partnering with Sustainable Travel International to bring their expertise and standards to our hostels through our participation in their Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP).   For HI-USA, it’s about teaming together to find new approaches to setting meaningful standards, developing green targets and strategies, and increasing transparency and accountability.

To date, four hostels are eco-certified at the Silver or Gold level, with 10 at the Bronze level or working towards Bronze.   And these 10 hostels are ultimately looking to advance to the Silver or Gold level, but need support.  Once complete, our guests will be able to experience our sustainability commitment in a mix of large and small hostels across the country.

The global Hostelling International (HI) organization also lives green, and has set up a Sustainability Fund to support it.  Ten outstanding country projects have been identified from around the world – including HI-USA’s eco-certification program — for possible funding.   Now hostel guests, members and the general public are being encouraged to vote on which gets funded.

Help HI-USA embrace a deeper shade of green.   Support HI-USA’s eco-certification initiative in the worldwide vote.  Cast your vote today!

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