Ten areas of sustainability
Hostelling International is celebrating the 2017 UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by running a campaign addressing projects and practices in our HI Hostels around the globe related to ten different areas of sustainability.
Consuming Sustainably in our hostels means making conscious decisions on buying products that ensure continued great service and quality for you, while at the same time supporting our communities and minimising the negative impact on the environment. A great example of this is the sustainable purchasing policies in our Luxembourg Youth Hostels.
All of the nine Luxembourg HI hostels – with a tenth to be added in 2017 – are certified ‘Fair Trade Zones’, a label awarded by Fairtrade Luxembourg based on the purchasing policies of restaurants and catering businesses. Among other products, all their coffee, tea, and rice are fair trade. To let the guests know about this, fair trade products are labelled on the menu and corresponding posters are displayed in the restaurants. A weekly ‘veggie day’ was also started in order to encourage a more plant-based diet.
Their restaurants heavily rely on local and seasonal products. The meats and vegetables are almost exclusively provided by a local producer, and as with fair trade products, local meats are labelled on the menu. In order to be awarded the label, the hostels must (exclusively) offer three fair trade products, one of which has to be coffee, and fair trade products must be clearly marked on the menu.
Furthermore, as the restaurants provide the catering for ten day-care centres, we try hard to lead as a positive example to young people. The children from these day-care centres are also invited to visit the farm and have the process of growing food explained, after which the staff and children prepare a meal out of the food they just harvested.
The objective of the initiative is to raise awareness of the impact that our consumption patterns have on the environment as well as the global economy. The carbon and water footprints of our food choices are unfortunately only very rarely taken into account. Consequently, we also want to encourage people to abstain from a daily consumption of meat.
With very few exceptions, we have found that going local and offering fair trade products has been surprisingly easy and with little or no extra expenses on our part. And as people are becoming more and more aware of the impact of their food choices, it’s also a great selling point!