Sustainability: Travel Without Regrets

The whole world is concerned about the future of the planet - and the travel industry is sometimes under fire. However, pioneering hotels and resorts are proving that travel can also be part of the solution to leaving a better world for future generations.

November 15, 2023


© provided

It's probably the most inescapable topic of our time, an omnipresent debate that affects every part of our lives: climate change, its effects - and our influence on it. The earth has been getting steadily warmer since the 19th century, the ice is melting, and humanity bears most of the responsibility. Experts agree on this. As a result of this crisis, the most serious consequences of which are still to come, the topic of sustainability is highly topical, including in the travel industry. Flying is largely frowned upon, hotels are under close scrutiny and even destinations are judged on their environmental friendliness.

© provided

However, in the heat of the moment the term sustainability seems to have become a mere buzzword and synonymous with environmental protection. This ignores two essential aspects: In addition to the ecological aspect, sustainable action also has an economic as well as a social component. Anyone who claims that travel is not sustainable per se is therefore ignoring the economic and social impact that a travel stop can have - and is therefore acting completely unsustainably in many respects.

© provided

So instead of not traveling at all (and thus denying many countries their main source of income), it's better to change your behavior and discover the world through sustainable travel. And this is now easier than you might expect.

Pioneers of sustainability

© provided

A handful of hotels recognized the urgency of the situation years ago and have become true pioneers with their practices. First and foremost The Brando in French Polynesia, which was the first resort in the world to receive platinum LEED certification. This is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and certifies a pioneering role in energy and environmental aspects.


© provided

The luxurious The Brando always works with an environmental focus in terms of resource procurement, energy and water efficiency and aims to be CO2-neutral as soon as possible. Other hotels such as the nature-loving Pikaia Lodge on the Galapagos Islands, where species conservation is also a priority, have already achieved this status. The opening of the eagerly awaited Six Senses Svart in Norway next year will set completely new standards. In terms of design, it'll even be in a class of its own as the world's first energy-positive hotel. Thanks to solar energy, it'll produce more electricity than it consumes.

Sustainability and the City

 © The Red Carnation Hotel Collection

But you don't necessarily have to go to tropical climes or up north to find effective, environmentally conscious hotels. More and more city resorts are adopting sustainable practices. They use natural materials and construction methods, pay attention to CO2 compensation or support charitable initiatives. A particular highlight in London is "The Rubens at the Palace", which not only avoids food waste and relies 100% on renewable energy, but also boasts a "Living Wall". The green wall is over 20 meters high and is home to more than 20 seasonal plant species. The "green lung of Victoria", as it is affectionately known, not only improves air quality. Bees, butterflies, birds and other small animals also call it their habitat.

© provided

Another prime example of LEED-certified city hotels is the hip brand 1 Hotels, which is represented in Europe, China and Australia as well as the USA. In addition to its environmental efforts, the hotel brand is constantly working to increase diversity among its employees and guarantee equality for minorities.

For the next generations


© provided

The overall goal is to leave a better world for future generations than the one we have found. This includes fighting poverty and hunger, education, gender equality and protecting the environment. The majority of sustainable hotels take measurable steps to implement equal opportunities and support local communities, both financially and structurally. Those who go on vacation here can not only enjoy their trip without regrets, but can also be proud of having done their bit.

Read more: These are the best sustainable hotels & resorts in 2023

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Fall 2023.

Scroll to Top