Monday, February 6, 2012

Caring for the Environment

Greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside have been a part of Hostelling International’s worldwide mission statement since 1932. And since its construction in 2000, Hostelling International Chicago has worked to lessen its impact on the environment. We rehabilitated a mostly vacant building in Chicago’s central business district and prevented it from being demolished and thrown into a landfill. Green technologies available in 2000 were used to lessen energy consumption and encourage recycling by travelers. Now after 11 years of operation, we are taking a fresh look at what it means to be a sustainable organization. Sustainability is broader than only caring for the environment. We now include caring for people, caring for the environment, and maintaining our financial health as the three necessary parts to being sustainable.

With respect to environmental responsibility, HI-Chicago is taking a more critical look at the impact that we make on our planet and sharpening our efforts to further green the hostel. An important part of this renewed focus is to listen to you, the travelers. We know that care for the environment is important for you as well, so we encourage you to come alongside us and join our efforts to be kinder to the earth.

Right now HI-Chicago is conducting an internal audit to assess its energy consumption and waste management relative to other hostels and hotels. One immediate goal is to improve recycling in all areas: guest rooms, kitchen, common rooms and offices. In addition, current and emerging technologies and strategies will be reviewed for their applicability to reducing energy and water consumption.

HI-Chicago has many colleagues around the world in Hostelling International that are also looking at sustainability in this broader view of environmental responsibility, plus social responsibility joined with financial performance. We are excited to be a part of an emerging, virtual, sustainability team alongside our friends at the Reykjavik hostels in Iceland, leading environmentally-friendly hostels. More than that, we are eager to make HI-Chicago a place where guests and staff make eco-friendly choices every day!

No comments: