HI Portland Hawthorne Leads HI USA Sustainability Pilot Program; Set’s Baseline for Future
At the completion of a 15-hostel pilot eco-certification and sustainability monitoring program, Hostelling International USA (HI-USA) earned Bronze Eco-Certification for eight hostels. Developed in partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI) and its Sustainable Tourism Education Program™ (STEP), the pilot program was co-led by STI and Michele Machado; Operations Manager at HI-Portland Hawthorne Hostel. Using the STEP Eco-certification Standard and online management framework, HI-USA was able to assess best practices of national hostels, capture dynamic data on sustainability indicators, build internal capacity of hostel managers and sustainability staff, and move over a dozen hostels through eco-certification. This is just the beginning…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pilot Program Eco-Certifies 8 HI-USA Hostels, Sets Baseline for Future Initiatives
Developed in partnership with Sustainability Travel International
March 21, Silver Spring, MD- At the completion of a 15-hostel pilot eco-certification and sustainability monitoring program, Hostelling International USA (HI-USA) earned Bronze Eco-Certification for eight hostels. Developed in partnership with Sustainable Travel International and its Sustainable Tourism Education Program™ (STEP), the remaining seven hostels plan to earn their certification within the next 12 months, and this is just the beginning.
In addition to the certifications, this pilot was successful at collecting data to determine a baseline assessment of performance across key sustainable tourism indicators, including purchasing practices, guest education, waste and recycling, water consumption, energy use, business travel, and carbon emissions.
Key findings include:
- 15% of all electricity consumed by the certified hostels was generated through renewal energy sources.
- 41% of total waste generated by participating hostels was diverted from the landfill. Of that amount, 29% went to recycling and 12% was composted.
- Internal policies regarding the procurement of socially and environmentally responsible products were found to be highly effective. 81% of all cleaning chemicals purchased were non-toxic, and 79% of all paper purchases contained post-consumer recycled content.
This snapshot will be used to prioritize efforts moving forward, including the creation of organizational and property-level resource reduction plans, and the development of internal standards aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) and the International Youth Hostelling Federation’s (IYHF) Sustainability Charter, which is designed to put hostelling at the forefront of the sustainable tourism movement.
“As we work to reinforce the value of a holistic approach to sustainable business operations, STEP has provided HI-USA with a valuable resource,” said Aaron Chaffee, HI-USA’s National Director of Hostels. “Our pilot offered the insight needed to establish future network-wide organizational sustainability initiatives.”
“We’re proud to demonstrate global leadership in sustainability for the youth travel and accommodation sectors,” added Michele Machado, HI-USA’s Sustainability Coordinator. “We’re confident we can use these results to make better decisions at various levels of the organization.”
STEP is a gold standard in sustainable tourism management and education, and is among the first global standards to be formally recognized by the United Nations GSTC. STEP also provides organizations such as HI-USA with a financially viable sustainability management solution specifically designed for multi-unit operators and destination managers.
“HI-USA has demonstrated incredible initiative and big-picture thinking with regards to sustainability management,” said Robert Chappell, Sustainable Travel International’s Senior Director of Standards and Certification. “STEP was a natural choice for an organization looking to effectively manage and monitor sustainability across multiple business units, verify its sustainability credentials, and engage the demanding youth travel segment.”
From here, HI-USA plans to expand internal standards to further align with the GSTC Criteria, and will evaluate opportunities for network-wide implementation of a third-party eco-certification program by 2015.
“We know that sustainability is a journey, not a destination,” added Machado. “We’re just glad we’re headed down the right path, armed with good information about where to go from here.”
About Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization with a purpose. We’ve been collaborating with destinations, businesses and travelers to implement innovative sustainable tourism development and conservation solutions since 2002. We combine the mission and transparency of a non-profit NGO with the business acumen and expertise of the private sector, ensuring our partners achieve their desired results and receive a strong return on investment.
About Hostelling International USA
Hostelling International-USA (HI-USA) is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization affiliated with the International Youth Hostel Federation’s global network of more than 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries. HI-USA hosts over 1 million overnights annually across more than 50 hostels throughout the United States. HI-USA’s commitment to environmental stewardship dates back to its origins, and continues today through its focus on preserving and protecting landmark buildings, national parks and the communities they are part of.
Published here: http://www.hotelinteractive.com/article.aspx?articleid=28680
Click here for full report: HIUSA & STI_STEP Pilot Program Report_FINAL