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Understanding the sustainability practices verification process

Updated 2 months ago | 5 min read time
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We appreciate every step you take towards becoming more sustainable – every action contributes to helping our planet, its people, wildlife and habitats thrive. To make sure we recognise your efforts and to help travellers make an informed decision for their next stay, we share information about your sustainability practices on your property page.


What’s in this article:


About the verification process

It’s important that the sustainability information we provide to travellers is accurate and up to date, and that we support you in preventing accusations of greenwashing. To do this, we’ve developed a verification process for our Travel Sustainable programme.

The verification process consists of three steps:

  1. We’ll ask you which sustainability practices you’ve implemented at your property.
  2. We’ll send your previous guests a survey to ask them about some of these practices, including whether they saw evidence during their stay that you’ve implemented those practices.
  3. We’ll also ask a trusted third-party auditing company to email you to ask for evidence of practices that may not be visible to your guests. This evidence could include photos, written statements or other documentation. The third party will advise us whether they consider that you’ve implemented these practices according to specific criteria.

Once this process is complete, if any of the practices you told us you had implemented have been flagged as being potentially inaccurate, we’ll let you know and ask you to review them. Until you do that, we’ll also correct your information about those practices in the extranet so that they display as not yet implemented. This is a preventative measure to make sure that the information we’re showing your guests is as accurate and up to date as possible.


Sustainable practices we ask your guests about

We ask your guests to review your property after every stay. During this review process, we ask them questions about the following sustainability practices you’ve told us that you’ve implemented them at your property:

  • You provide guests with information about local ecosystems, heritage and culture and visitor etiquette
  • You don’t offer single-use plastic water or soda bottles
  • You’ve installed water refill stations and encourage guests to use these instead of single-use plastic water bottles
  • You’ve replaced single-use plastic amenities with a bulk dispenser
  • You’ve replaced single-use utensils with reusable tableware
  • You offer guests tours and activities organised by local guides and businesses
  • Guest rooms have energy-saving switches (for example keycard-controlled electricity)
  • You only have water-efficient toilets (for example low-flow toilets or dual flush toilets)
  • You have green spaces such as gardens or rooftop gardens
  • You don’t display wild or non-domesticated animals at your property or allow people to interact with them while captive, and you don’t harvest, consume or sell those animals
  • You offer local artists a platform to display their talents
  • Guests can opt out of room cleaning (meaning that, for example, less bed linen is used)
  • You make a towel reuse program available to guests
  • You’ve replaced single-use cups with reusable ones
  • You have a recycling plan in place (for example in guest rooms, common areas and the kitchen) for at least four waste types (glass, paper, plastic and organic waste)
  • You don’t offer single-use plastic straws or stirrers aren’t
  • You offer vegetarian and vegan menu options

If the majority of guests indicate in their feedback that they didn’t see a sustainability practice in place at your property, we’ll correct your information about that practice in the extranet so that it displays as not yet implemented.


Property sustainable practices we ask a third party about

We’ve partnered with a trusted third-party auditing company called SGS to help verify sustainability practices that may not be visible to guests.

If you’ve told us that you’ve implemented any of the sustainability practices below, SGS may email you to ask you to provide evidence of this. They’ll provide you with criteria to help you understand what’s needed.

Here are the sustainability practices we ask SGS to help us verify:

  • You use LED lighting for at least 80% of your property's guest and public room lighting
  • All of your property’s windows are double-glazed
  • Your property's electricity is 100% renewable
  • You have a food waste policy in place that includes education, food waste prevention, reduction, recycling and disposal
  • You source at least 80% of the food you provide  from within XX kilometres of your property and it’s organic
  • You only use water-efficient showers (for example smart showers or low-flow showerheads)
  • You purchase certified carbon offsets to compensate for at least 10% of your property’s total annual carbon emissions
  • You invest a percentage of your property’s revenue back into your community or local sustainability projects

If necessary, SGS will send you reminder emails and ask you for more information with a clear deadline for when you need to provide such information.

If you don’t provide evidence that fits the criteria for a sustainability practice before the deadline, SGS will let us know and we’ll correct your information about that practice in the extranet so that it displays as not yet implemented.


Consequences of giving incorrect information about a sustainability practice

If we need to correct your information about a sustainability practice in the extranet,  here’s what could happen as a result:

  1. Your property may drop a level in the Travel Sustainable programme
  2. Your property’s sustainability information may no longer be visible to travellers
  3. Your property may lose its Travel Sustainable badge, which travellers can currently see on your property page

We’ll let you know via email if you drop a level or if you lose your Travel Sustainable badge.


Reviewing feedback from guests or SGS

You won't be able to update your information about this practice in the extranet until you've reviewed the feedback provided by your guests or SGS. You can either agree or disagree with their feedback.

If you agree with the feedback, you’re agreeing that the information you previously shared is no longer accurate. That sustainability practice will continue to display in the extranet as not yet implemented, and any impact on your Travel Sustainable level or badge will remain.

If you later make changes at your property and feel confident that you’ve now accurately implemented one or more new sustainability practices, you’ll be able to update your information in the extranet again and explain the changes you’ve made.

If you disagree with the feedback, we’ll ask you to explain why. We’ll then update your information about that sustainability practice in the extranet, so that it again displays as implemented. If you lost a Travel Sustainable level or the badge as a result of the feedback, we’ll  reverse this.

If you work with an external third-party certification partner, we won’t contact you to ask you to verify your sustainability practices again with us and we won’t send your guests survey questions about those practices.

Please note that you’re required by our General Delivery Terms (GDT) to provide accurate information about your property, which we display on your property page. This includes information about your sustainability practices.

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