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Our Climate Commitment

We play a key role in improving sustainability for hostel travel. In 2021 we made a climate commitment, in 2023 we launched carbon offsets on your Hostelworld stays, and in 2024 we’re supporting the whole hostel industry with a sustainability framework that helps you, our travellers, find sustainable accommodation. 

St Christopher's Barcelona

St Christopher's Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Hoscars 2023 "The Eco-Warrior" Winner

It’s no secret that we’re on the brink of a climate emergency. Since pre-industrial times, human activity has warmed the planet, and right now we’re on track to exceed 1.5ºC within 20 years, causing permanent damage to the climate. As a company operating in the travel industry, we’re aware of the impact seeing the world can create. But we can take steps to change this, and that’s why we're acting now.
URDKi Hostel

U.R.D.Ki Hostel, Goa, India
Hoscars 2023 "The Eco-Warrior" Runner up

Sustainability is central to everything we do

Working towards an emission-free future is important for us as a business, our hostel partners, and our community. Over 60% of our target customers say that they’re likely to consider more sustainable travel options, and we’re working to make that easier for them.

Our ultimate goal

The starting line is climate neutrality. The end goal is to achieve Net Zero by 2050. We want to absorb more emissions than we emit to help limit global warming. We’re doing this by reducing our own emissions, supporting our hostel partners to reduce theirs, and helping you travel more sustainably, to ensure a safe climate for generations of travellers to come.

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YellowSquare Milan, Milan, Italy
Hoscars 2022 "The Eco-Warrior" Runner up

Our Sustainability Roadmap

Our emissions

As an online travel agent, our emissions are naturally low. But there’s always work to be done. Our target is to keep Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions below 30 tonnes each year, in line with the GHG Protocol, and we’re proud to say we’ve been hitting it! Our Scope 3 emissions have increased after a dip due to COVID-19 as we get back to meeting our hostel partners and for marketing on Google (who are a carbon neutral company!) 

  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Scope 1 - our own operations - - 1 - -
Scope 2 - our energy usage 7 15 72 127 134
Scope 3 - our purchases and employee travel 2,412 1,576 542 62 782
Total 2,419 1,591 615 189 916
Intensity Ratio (tCO2e/m) 10.5 6.5 2.7 12.3 11.4


We're Funding Climate Action

We were certified as Funding Climate Action by South Pole in 2024 (based on 2023). The label has evolved from the previous ‘Climate Neutral label (given to us in 2021 and 2022) and aims to provide transparency about our decarbonisation efforts and investments in sustainable development. Achieving the label is a key target for us every year.  


This process is broken down into the following stages:

Quantify emissions: In 2023 we quantified the emissions associated with our business and defined a strategy on how to minimise them. 

Commit to progress on a climate journey: We cut down our emissions across the whole business and demonstrated progress on our climate journey. 

Make a verified climate contribution: Were supporting planet-focused projects outside of our business to further offset our emissions and reduce our carbon impact. We will capture leftover, hard-to-remove CO2 emissions when we are close to reaching our Net Zero target.  

Communicate our vision: Finally, we communicate our emissions vision and targets, which we review annually. 

Over the last few years, we’ve taken several assessments that helped us to identify our current environmental impact and our future sustainability vision and goals. We then mapped these to the UN’s Global Roadmap for Net Zero emissions, which aims to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible by 2050.

Helping you offset your carbon footprint

We want to give you the chance to make a positive impact when planning and booking your travels.

When you book a trip through us, you can now offset it. Choose which project to support and either offset your whole trip or half of it.

Madama Hostel & Bistrot

Madama Hostel & Bistrot, Milan, Italy
Hoscars 2022 "The Eco-Warrior" Runner up

What’s carbon offsetting and why is it important?

We all produce greenhouse gas emissions, from turning on lights to driving cars. And when we travel, we create even more. Carbon offsetting is investing in environmental projects to counteract the impact of our emissions. A bit like ordering a clean green smoothie to counteract the hangover. Except this one works.

By offsetting our travel emissions, we can reduce our carbon footprint, and support projects that are reversing climate change, so we can all keep travelling the world!

How the offset amount is calculated

Offset amount = [number of nights] x [number of beds] x €3.00*

*From our research with compliance specialist, Bureau Veritas, on the assumption that there are on average 3-4 beds per hostel room, we discovered that the average CO2e created per bed, per night, in a hostel was 0.25 tCO2e. The cost of CO2e per tonne is 10.53 GBP, so 10.53 GBP x 0.25 = 2.63 GBP (converted to euro, €3.00.)

Our own carbon offsets  

We keep our emissions as low as possible but for those we can’t avoid, we offset in the same way you can. The climate project we choose to support was a team decision, and in 2023 we helped fund the supply of safe water to hundreds of families in the Gatsibo District of Rwanda.  

While some question the credibility of carbon offsetting, we’ve worked with a third-party partner, Cloverly, to make sure the projects we support make a real difference to the environment and people they serve to help. 


Hostel sustainability framework


It’s our mission to revolutionise sustainability in the hostel sector, to make our travel niche an industry leader in sustainable tourism. 

We worked with the Global Sustainable Travel Council (GSTC) to create a first-of-its-kind sustainability framework for hostels. 

And now we're ready to champion the incredible sustainability work that our hostel partners do, helping them to drive change, starting with the daily management of hostels. 

We developed a framework for hostels to assess, compare and communicate their sustainability achievements to customers and other stakeholders. 

Introducing: The ‘Staircase to Sustainability’ framework. The framework aligns with the four pillars of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) criteria: Sustainable Management, Socio-Economic, Cultural Impact and Environmental Impact. 

As part of this, we’re encouraging hostels to join us in signing up to the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative (GTPI) to help reduce plastic waste. 

Combined, this will help hostels highlight their eco-friendly efforts and give you the information to decide where to book! 

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Hostels Produce 82% Less Carbon Emissions Than Hotels

A report released by leading sustainability and compliance specialist, Bureau Veritas, has found that hostels are 82% 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 second edition of the study. The first edition (published in 2022) found that hostels produced 75% less emissions than hotels. This report reveals that hostel carbon emissions have reduced year on year, while hotel emissions have increased. 

We’re so excited to be able to release the findings as part of our ongoing sustainability journey and know that it will be welcome news to our increasingly environmentally-conscious sector of the travel industry. 

Not only are hostels a way to meet other people and share unique experiences, we also now know for sure that they represent a more sustainable accommodation choice in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win, win, win! 

To find out more about the data points measured- and how hostels came up trumps against hotels - take a closer look at the report here. 

Championing eco-friendly hostels

Our annual HOSCAR awards celebrate the best-in-class hostels. In 2020 we added two new award categories: The Eco Warrior and The Community Champion. Both are designed to highlight the importance of sustainability and community focused initiatives in hostel travel.

St Christopher’s Barcelona
St Christopher’s Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Celebrating hostels that participate in eco-friendly projects and practices that help protect our planet.

Hoscars 2023 “The Eco-Warrior" Winner >

Green Haven Hostel, Ubatuba, Brazil
Green Haven Hostel, Ubatuba, Brazil

Highlighting hostels that give back to the local community and are committed to driving positive change.

Hoscars 2023 “The Community Champion” Winner >
By taking these steps together, we can change the course of our climate impact and make sure there is a better world for travellers to meet in years to come.

Climate-conscious travel advice

INOUT Hostel Barcelona
Sustainability Stories: championing accessibility at INOUT hostel
Read on the Blog >
Green Haven Hostel Bedroom Sea View
How to find sustainable accommodation when you travel 
Read on the Blog >
carbon offsetting at Hostelworld
A traveller's guide to carbon offsetting
Read on the Blog >