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Staircase to Sustainability

We know that hostels are more sustainable compared to other types of accommodation. We also know they represent their culture and community like no other, offering travellers more meaningful experiences. We know that, but it’s time to show the rest of the world. Get your team ready and take your first steps on the Staircase to Sustainability. 

djarwo house
We’re not alone in worrying about our planet, and it’s clear we're on the brink of a climate emergency. Human activity has warmed the planet by 1.1°C, creating widespread climate chaos that shows no signs of slowing down. Right now, we’re on track to exceed 1.5°C within 20 years, which will cause permanent damage. But we can help stop this, and it’s time to act.

What is the Staircase to Sustainability?

💚 We’re all aware of the impact travel has on our climate, and travellers are becoming increasingly concerned too. Whether you’ve already taken steps to make your hostel more eco-friendly, or you’re just starting out, we’re with you on this journey. As part of our ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) strategy, we’ve created a framework to encourage you to make your hostel kinder to the planet and the people around you.
🥇 Developed specifically for hostels, the Staircase to Sustainability is a framework to help you review, compare and communicate your sustainability efforts to customers and other stakeholders. We want to make it easy to connect guests with hostels that share their care for the planet. With the Staircase, now we can.  
Built in line with the Global Sustainability Tourism Council (GSTC)’s criteria, the framework is divided into 4 pillars: 


While the other pillars focus on action, this gives you a structure to manage and record your sustainability progress. This pillar gives you tools to ensure that your activities are smooth sailing, and you achieve your goals.  


People are at the heart of hostels and supporting them is the key to building a better world. This pillar covers processes and policies that protect the people your hostel impacts, from employees and guests to your local community 


Discovering new cultures is one of the best things about travel. As hosts, protecting and maintaining the cultural heritage of your area is vital, and so is understanding the lifestyles of your visitors. This pillar explains how to make sure you have both covered, so all interactions are respectful. 


To make sure we have a world left to travel, we all need to reduce our environmental impact. This pillar explores how you can do this at your hostel, from pollution, waste management, to wildlife conservation and more.


RisingSoul Retreat, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Hoscars 2022 "The Eco-Warrior" Finalist

Start by reducing your plastic waste

We know that many of you are already making the planet a priority, with 56% of hostels surveyed already working on sustainability initiatives and a further 37% interested in getting started.

We were the first OTA to sign up to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) and we'd love you to join us by pledging to reduce your plastic waste. The initiative promotes the "three R's”: reduce, reuse and recycle your plastic. The sign-up process is simple, click below to find out more.


Hostels produce 75% less carbon emissions than hotels

Hostels are a more sustainable accommodation choice, and we have proof!  

Leading sustainability and compliance specialist Bureau Veritas found hostels are three quarters less carbon intense (tCO₂e) than hotels. The research, ‘Understanding the Carbon Impact of Hostels vs Hotels’, conducted in partnership with Hostelworld, across a selection of European hotels and hostels, is the first of its kind.  We’re proud of these results and encourage you, our hostel partners, to help us spread the word. 

Not only are hostels a way to meet others and share unique experiences, but we also now know they’re a more environmentally friendly option for travellers! 

To read the finer details about the data points measured, take a closer look at the report here. 

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By taking these steps together, we can change the course of our climate impact and make sure there is a better world for travellers in years to come.