Choosing to stay in sustainable accommodation has an impact on both the environment, as well as the local community. And in response to more and more consumers understanding this, many hotels around the world — from camping and hotels, to luxurious resorts — are now claiming to be sustainable and planet-friendly.
But how do you know which ones are in fact legit? You’ve likely heard about greenwashing with fashion — brands falsely claiming to be sustainable — but did you know the issue is rampant in the travel industry, too? So, can you make sure the hotel you’re looking at is actually the real deal?
Fletcher says that to ensure you are supporting a business — whether that be a camping facility, hotel or resort — that shares values and vision for a better world, you should do some research. Start by looking on their website to see if they have a section for sustainable FAQs, as more and more properties do. The websites will also have any eco-friendly accredited, such as Green Key listed.
If you don’t see anything mentioning sustainability on there, though, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the property’s front desk to ask these five questions, Fletcher says.
#1 Do You Use Local Staff and Products?
“Sourcing staff, local produce and products can really help support a local community and is definitely something to look for.”
#2 What Kind of Energy Do You Use?
“Look for hotels using renewable energy and LED lighting to ensure their immense electrical use is as sustainable as possible.”
#3 Do You have a Water Recycling System?
“Or, if not, do they implement water waste-reducing initiatives? Sustainable hotels don’t just encourage you to re-use your towels, they also collect rainwater for their gardens to ensure they aren’t draining local water supplies.”
#4 Do You Have a Waste Recycling System?
“Does the hotel have a proper recycling system and use bulk amenities in rooms, to save thousands of those little shampoo bottles going to landfill?’
#5 Do You Invest in and Support Your Surrounding Local Community?
“This is where your consumer dollar can support many wonderful initiatives if you choose to support a conscious hotel. Does the hotel manage and help to protect the natural habitat surrounding it? Hotels can do this through replanting native plants or supporting conservation. They can also fund health, education and clean water projects to benefit locals and also to provide work opportunities.”
Once you start thinking about how to have a planet positive effect when you travel, the sky is the limit. Through educated conscious choices, it is possible for our travels to support many initiatives along the way (all while we, too, get the benefit of expanding our world).
To quote American sustainable food advocate, Anna Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”