Loft Hostel the first HI Quality & Sustainability certified hostel in the world
Since the Youth Hostelling movement originated over 100 years ago, the primary focus has been on sustainable tourism.
However, back then, the term was not understood to the same extent as it is today, nor did it have a definition. Looking back to 1932 when Hostelling International’s (HI) mission was created based on the founding principles of caring for the countryside, people and economies, by providing quality accommodation for all, it’s clear that sustainable tourism has always been a priority in development of Youth Hostels.
In 2010, HI developed a document called the “HI Sustainability Charter”; that included all the minimum standards that our Member Associations, and therefore our hostels should hold to become a recognised sustainable tourism organization. It may sound simple but it is a really complicated challenge, especially with over 3,500 hostels worldwide.
HI Q&S: A big step towards sustainability. The HI Quality & Sustainability (HI Q&S) certification is a quality management system to be merged with our standards in sustainability and a tool to educate, implement, monitor and audit the standards in a hostel.
The criteria includes 10 areas to work on:
Sustainable Management System in place
Protection of Natural & Cultural Capital
Food & Beverages
Last June (2014) in Loft Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland became the first ever HI Quality & Sustainability certified hostel after conducted a pilot audit and marked a historical milestone.
"One of the key success factors is that all the staff is passionate about sustainability and live up to our standards; whether you ask the Hostel Manager, the front desk staff or the maintenance staff, they all share the same commitment and motivation, and contribute to the improvement of the hostels. This energy and dedication is coordinated and channelled by an enthusiastic Green Messenger Team and no less enthusiastic HI Iceland’s Sustainability & Quality Coordinator, Emilia Prodea." said HI Sustainability Manager, Brianda Lopez. "Before we officially launch the HI Q&S at the end of the year we will conduct other audits worldwide; in Canada, Scotland, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, in order to ensure the criteria work for all our hostels and that the minimum requirements are properly met."