The non-profit organisation sees the award as recognition for the systematic and ongoing implementation of the Sustainability strategy embarked upon 15 years ago.
The Swiss Youth Hostels set out a Sustainability strategy in its mission statement back in the1990s. The results speak for themselves: CO2 emissions have been cut by 37% since 2000 and water consumption by 20% since 1996 respectively, whilst increasing standards at the same time. On the roofs of 13 out of the total of 54 youth hostels there are 501 square metres of solar collectors, while three roofs have photovoltaic systems covering an area of 1238 square metres. 64% of the youth hostel guests take up the option to offset their CO2 emissions, with a voluntary CO2 contribution of CHF 0.50 per overnight stay. The revenues are reinvested in energy projects – for example in solar collectors. Three youth hostels are already certified to Minergie standard (Zermatt, Scuol and Valbella) and a new youth hostel built to Minergie-P standard is opening in Interlaken next spring.
For the Swiss Youth Hostels, Sustainability is an important tenet of the organisation’s philosophy. Where environmental management is concerned, this applies not only to the building infrastructure, but also to the running of the hostel. The majority of hostels have already completed the certification process for the EU Ecolabel and the Ibex label. Certification is underway in the other hostels. The goal is for all Swiss youth hostels to carry both labels.
The wide range of activities and the results demonstrate that a great deal can be done in the cause of Sustainability, even with the limited financial resources of a non-profit organisation. As mentioned in previous HIway news stories, the Swiss Youth Hostels have already won various awards for their exemplary implementation; 2011 Zürcher Kantonalbank Sustainability Prize, 2010 myclimate Award, 2010 Award for Marketing + Architecture, 2008 Hans E. Moppert Prize, 2008 Icomos Historic Hotel of the Year, 2007 Milestone for the Sustainability Strategy.