a&o Hostels is first hostel in Europe to achieve GreenSign Level 5

Of the 800 hotels in Europe to be GreenSign certified, a&o Venice joins 18 others across the continent in achieving Level 5 certification.

BERLIN – This has never happened before: the a&o Venice is the first hostel in Europe to achieve GreenSign level 5. Of the 800 or so hotels currently certified by the GreenSign Institute in Europe, only 19 achieve this maximum sustainability standard. General Manager Francesco Siciliano says: “This is a tremendous recognition of our long-standing commitment to sustainable travel.” Arben Maliqi, Project Manager ESG and HR at the Berlin based hostel chain, adds: “This certification sets the pace from now on – a&o Venice Mestre is our role model for all a&o locations.”

GreenSign certifies that the a&o Venice Mestre has an “exemplary sustainability concept” with over 90 percent sustainability performance in core areas such as energy efficiency, water management, environmental management, procurement, quality management and sustainable development. Suzann Heinemann, founder and CEO of the GreenSign Institute, explains: “The extraordinarily good results of the a&o Venice in the GreenSign certification are an important sign for the industry and a milestone on the way to climate neutrality for Europe’s largest hostel chain.”

Founded in 2015, the GreenSign Institute certifies hotels in a “unique five-stage certification system” and not only examines the current status, but also “shows ways to continuously improve and further develop sustainability performance”. To date, the Berlin-based company has certified around 800 hotels. Only three percent of them have achieved the highest level, quality level 5. GreenSign’s sustainability certifications are among the most prestigious in Europe. In addition to the a&o Venice, the teams at the two Vienna locations, a&o Wien Stadthalle and a&o Wien Hauptbahnhof, are also delighted that their hotels have been upgraded to GreenSign Level 4.

“Growing sustainability spirit in the industry” 

The hostel category is also thanks to the a&o Venice Mestre’s entry into a top sustainability league. Sustainability, says Suzann Heinemann, is independent of the size or type of hotel: “We are pleased to see a growing sustainable spirit in the hotel industry and an increasing willingness for sustainability certifications. This positive development makes a significant contribution to climate protection and gives us hope.”

Hardly any plastic, but food and art from the region 

The GreenSign audit is comprehensive: management and communication, environment (energy, water, waste), biodiversity and cultural heritage, purchasing, regionality and transportation, quality control and sustainable development, social and economic responsibility are put to the test. Measures at the a&o Venice include

Avoiding plastic in the bar: 80 percent plastic-free bottles and glasses;
Use of food from local/regional producers;
Supporting local artisans and artists who exhibit and sell their work at the a&o, for example;

Recently, composters on the roof of the house have been recycling organic waste from breakfast/dinner. The plants in the hostel benefit from the nutrient-rich fertilizer produced in this way. Arben Maliqi said: “Our goal is to be the first European hostel chain to be CO2-neutral in 2025. For us, net zero means reducing our own ecological footprint to a minimum and offsetting the rest.” a&o is already the only hostel chain in Europe to show the individual CO2 value per booking on all reservations and guest invoices.

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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