HiHostels Blog

Announcing the winners of the HI Sustainability Fund 2013

Hostelling International are thrilled to announce the winners of the HI 2013 Sustainability Fund.

The competition offered a total of £60,000 for three individual projects that were looking to reduce their CO2 emissions. Thousands of people across the globe voted for 15 worldwide projects.

YHA England and Wales has been awarded first place, with an award of £25,000, followed by Red Española de Albergues Juveniles (REAJ), As Corcerizas hostel which has been awarded £24,800, and HI-USA which has been awarded £10,000.

We’re delighted that over 18,200 of you took the time to vote for a project and would like to thank you all! Now each of the winners can take steps to reduce their CO2 emissions.

This competition is close to Hostelling International’s heart. The HI mission is to encourage a greater knowledge and appreciation of the social and cultural values of the world, promoting global interaction while reducing our carbon footprint. As a not-for-profit organisation, HI promotes the value of youth and backpacker travel around the world and pushes all profits into pioneering projects like the HI Sustainability Fund. As an accommodation provider, HI is unique with its goals to reduce the environmental impact of tourism and work to promote green travel.

HI’s chief executive Mikael Hansson says: “We are delighted to award those three projects this money, which will reinforce to our customers the importance of our mission – to promote the value of global youth travel at the same time as working towards a more sustainable future.”


First place with an award of £25,000: YHA England and Wales, Pen-y-Pass hostel

Congratulations to YHA Pen-y-Pass, England and Wales who have come in at first place in the Hostelling International Sustainability Fund 2013!

Pen-y-Pass hostel, which sits at the base of the mighty Mount Snowdon in Wales, won over voters with their plan to introduce renewable energy sources to the hostel and thereby cut down on their consumption of oil, reduce their CO2 emissions, and use less water. All this will reduce their carbon emissions by a whopping 86% – the equivalent of emissions from an average car travelling 444,478km!

YHA Pen-y-Pass

As well as this, YHA Pen-y-Pass will promote recycling, walking or cycling where possible, travelling by public transportation, using locally grown foods, and hiring hostel and maintenance staff from the local community. The hostel will attain the Green Dragon Environmental Standard award for all their efforts.

Caroline White, YHA chief executive, says: “We are all absolutely over the moon about winning the HISF grant for YHA Pen-y-Pass. The hostel, high up in the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park, means so much to thousands of people who explore the area each year. The grant will ensure we can make the experience we offer at the site even better through innovative sustainability. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and please come and see the work for yourselves next year and stay at YHA Pen-y-Pass!”


Second place with an award of £24,800: REAJ, As Corcerizas hostel

Congratulations to REAJ, As Corcerizas hostel which comes in at second place!

As Corcerizas hostel, set in the beautiful province of Ourense, Spain, plans to install a wind turbine in order to reduce fossil fuel consumption and also to build a radiant raw clay wall – an efficient heating system due to its production of heat by the natural means of air and the sun.

As Corcerizas hostel

As Corcerizas will also run an educational programme for school children, teaching them the importance of sustainability by educating them on what the main sources of CO2 emissions are, what people are doing to produce it, and how they can take steps to reduce it. As Corcerizas hostel has already begun taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint by composting organic waste, purifying waste water through a filter plant and using local, organic and fair trade certified food.

“Here at REAJ we want to thank HI for this amazing initiative that helps to preserve our environment and make a more sustainable world. I also want to thank everyone who voted for our youth hostel and contributed to Spain’s win in the contest,”  said Sergio Montoya, chief executive of REAJ.


Third place with an award of £10,000: HI-USA multi-site third party eco-certification project

And congratulations to HI-USA who have been voted in at third place!

HI-USA will be gaining eco-certification from the Sustainable Travel Education Programme (STEP) for 10 of their hostels – HI Austin, HI Boston, HI Houston, HI LA, HI Santa Monica, HI Monterey, HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse, HI Point Montara Lighthouse, HI Point Reyes, HI Sacramento and HI Washington DC. They plan to start with 10, but their goal is to eventually certify every hostel in their network so that guests can feel confident that they’re taking a socially-responsible decision if they stay at a HI-USA hostel.

HI Sacramento Hostel

HI-USA has been promoting low-impact travel and environmental stewardship since its origin in the 1930s. Their sustainability statement reads: “We will constantly strive to operate our hostels in an environmentally responsible manner, working towards sustainability. We will measure our impacts and communicate our progress and practices to the hostel community and the community as a whole.”

Keep watching the blog for more details on the HI Sustainability Fund winners and also for the HI 2014 Sustainability Fund.

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