Vanessa F. Costa
How We Work
Say HI to Sustainability is a HI (Hostelling International) Sustainability Exchange project. This is a cooperation between HI Norway and HI Brazil, funded by the Norwegian governmental organ Norec (former FK Norway), which is a part of the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry.
The aim of Say HI to Sustainability is to foster sustainable travel, gathering and sharing valuable tools and ideas to create a Sustainability Strategy around the Hostelling International network. focusing on the importance of local products, services and activities. The project will run over a 3-year period and each year two participants from Brazil and two from Norway will have the opportunity to work and learn about sustainability in the partner country. Thus, the project is a mutual exchange of knowledge between the participants and hostels.
How We Work
We are travelling around Norway and Brazil, visiting hostels from the Hostelling International network. When we are travelling, we spend some time learning about the hostels’ sustainability measures, ranging from social events to recycling. When finding areas with potential of improvement, we try to develop these, together with the managers and ownners, to help the hostels achieve the HI-Q&S certification.
It is important for us to always learn about, as well as promote and educate as many people as we can about sustainability. We do this by presenting our project to the hostels we travel to, as well as participating on events that might be beneficial to the project, such as for example World Travel Forum. This gives us the ability to reach several businesses and people at once, as we are always looking to expand our network.
Since this is a project funded by FK Norway, mutual exchange between countries is a large part of our project. Therefore, all participants are actively trying to understand and grasp our new host countries, learning the language and customs, to bring back this knowledge to our home country upon return.
To share our gained knowledge, we are actively using social media as well as this website. We keep ourselves updated on what other hostels in and outside the HI network do towards sustainability all around the world. On this website we gather all the great ideas hostels have given us throughout our travels, frequently posting tips and blogposts about our quest to make the hostelling world more sustainable.
We hope that other hostels, as well as travellers, can gather inspiration and tips about easy, but efficient sustainability measures.
The HI-Q&S Audit
Hostelling International has developed HI-Q&S (Hostelling International Quality & Sustainability), a label that stands for commitment to provide an experience of high quality, with a positive effect on local economy, communities and environment.
Hostels aiming to get this label must fulfill several criteria on the certification checklist, aiming to demonstrate effective sustainable management; maximize social and economic benefits to the local community, cultural heritage and environment and minimize negative impacts; conserve biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes. Once the mandatory requirements are achieved, the hostel can apply for the HI-Q&S certification. The HI-Q&S can be used to advertise to future guests that the hostel pursues a sustainable tourism standard, of high quality. In our project, we use the HI-Q&S system when visiting the hostels, as a help to perceive in which areas there are potential to improve.
If you want to check out the HI-Q&S checklist, click here.