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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Booking Your Next Hostel

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Hostelling International’s collaboration with Myclimate

All the travelling around the world leaves a carbon footprint. The entire tourism sector is responsible for 8% of the global carbon emissions. There are quite a few ways to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling. One of the most important decisions when trying to reduce your carbon footprint is choosing your mode of travelling. When travelling by bus, there are 13 times less CO2 emissions released into the air than when travelling by plane. You can read more about sustainable mode of transport in this article. Today, I’ll show you how you can reduce your carbon footprint by staying at HI hostels.


What is carbon footprint?

First, let’s take a look at what this means. Carbon footprint is the amount of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases each individual, business or organisation is responsible for. There are various ways you can offset your carbon footprint. One of the most popular ones is to support sustainable projects.

Is there a Hostelling International campaign for reducing carbon footprint?

Hostelling International is aware of tourism’s impact in climate change and, at the same time, the organisation believes that both the tourism industry and the traveller have to contribute to a positive change. Tourism has the power to build a better world. This is why, in 2013, HI decided to found the Sustainability Fund, the main purpose of which is to reduce the carbon footprint of HI hostels. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Myclimate.


What is Myclimate about?

The Swiss company is trying making efforts to protect the environment at both locally and globally. Its main activity is offsetting the CO2 emissions through 144 projects in 41 countries. Through these projects and with through the collaboration with local organisations, Myclimate focuses on replacing fossil energy sources with renewable ones as well as on reforestation. The projects concerning environmental protection meet the highest standards, which have been proved to not only reduce the amount of greenhouse gases locally and regionally, but also to positively contribute to sustainable development. The company also has many educational programmes for children and young adults.

How to offset your footprint through Hostelling International?

Hostelling International, in collaboration with Myclimate, offers you a chance to offset your CO2 emissions you’ve piled up when staying at a HI hostel. All you need to do is to select »Customers Offset Their Overnights« when booking your stay at All the contributions go towards three international projects that brings new jobs, contribute to the local growth and improved health. More than six thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions have been offset since 2012.


What are these international projects about?

Currently, by offsetting your carbon footprint, you support one of the three Myclimate projects. With the first projects, the company wants to improve the life of the local community in Peru, namely by building energy efficient stoves with chimneys made of local materials. The old chimneys result in a thick smoke in the house and they use up lots of wood, of which there’s a lack in the surroundings. With the help of these new chimneys, the smoke is channelled out of the house, which positively affects the health of the people, plus less wood is being used. In order for the project to succeed, it has to be positively received in the local community, which is why the locals are being trained in how to build and use the stoves. They’re also being taught about all the positive effects.

The aim of the second project is to replace the traditional stoves that run on coal with the ones that run on biomass in three provinces in China. Unused maize is used as biomass, which contributes to cleaner smoke, and that further helps both the locals and the environment. Fifty per cent of all households in China still rely on solid fuels, such as wood and coal, and polluted air is responsible for more than 420,000 early deaths each year in China alone, making innovations much needed. The new stoves are not only useful when it comes to health, but also help reduce the costs, as there’s no more need to buy expensive coal.


The third project takes place in Malawi where more than ninety per cent of households use traditional stoves, which require a lot of wood. With its project, the company wants to extend the use of four types of stoves that are more energy efficient, cleaner and safer. There are special stoves for cities and special ones for the rural areas, as well as special stoves used for cooking in institutions, such as schools and hospitals. These stoves use up to fifty per cent less wood than the traditional stoves and therefore help reduce the amount of time it takes to gather new wood. The other major wood consumer in Malawi are special barns where tobacco is dried, which is the country’s largest export. That’s why Myclimate, in collaboration with other partner organisations, developed a more economical barn, which helps reduce wood consumption by more than sixty per cent. All these projects create new jobs.

This and many more sustainable projects in HI hostels

From each donation, 0.10 pounds are deducted in order to support sustainable projects in HI hostels. These hostels apply their own projects each year since 2013. The general public and representatives of national HI organisations then vote for the best one. More than 55,000 people have cast their votes so far, choosing 16 projects altogether. All of them contribute to the sustainable development of the planet and the reduction of CO2 in an innovative way. With the projects, over 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide is offset each year. The projects are very diverse. In 2017, the French hostel Auberge La Clusaz won. The hostel’s idea was to develop a permaculture vegetable garden at a high altitude. With its garden, it became the first French youth hostel with a one hundred per cent organic and locally produced food, with a focus on vegetarian diet. Greenhouses were also built and fruit trees were planted. The largest American youth hostel HI NYC acquired the funds to build a composter, which turns organic waste into compost rich with nutrients in just 24 hours. That way, the hostel will compost 50 per cent of its waste.


The Hostel Bettmar Eco Hostel, which is located in a typical Canary house, has been completely renovated using only recycled materials. It received an award for having installed solar panels on its roof, which covers the main terrace, in 2016. The hostel also focuses on promoting the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles. The Canadian HI Rampart Creek acquired funds for hybrid refrigerators, which helped reduce the hostel’s dependence on propane. HI Point Montara is an American hostel situated in a lighthouse. The whole area is faced with severe droughts, so the hostel decided to recycle its waste water and use it to irrigate the gardens and the surrounding landscape. The result is a sustainable garden that benefits both guests and the local community. And these are just a few of the interesting projects.

Now that you, too, are familiar with these wonderful sustainable projects, don’t forget to make a sustainable donation the next time you book a hostel. And don’t forget, HI members get 10% off.

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