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What is Sustainability Travel
to a&o Hostels?

At a&o Hostels, we believe travel should be accessible to everyone. Travel educates, broadens horizons, and fosters multicultural understanding. Therefore, our slogan, 'Everyone Can Travel’, isn't just a tagline; it's our guiding philosophy.”

“Sustainability is significant to me personally. Not because it's trendy, but because it's crucial for economic success, preserving our livelihoods, and future generations.”

- Oliver Winter, CEO

Our Path to
Net Zero Travel in 2025

Interactive ESG Monitors

We have implemented our Interactive ESG Monitors throughout our a&o Hostels which provide interactive educational material on-site. Make sure to check it out during your stay!

Hostel Innovations Lead Progress in Reducing Carbon Footprint

Our aim? To lead the way as the first hostel to achieve Net Zero status in 2025. Let's team up to make travelling sustainable!

We're making significant progress in reducing our carbon footprint, and we're excited to keep you updated on our journey…

… We’ve made huge strides in cutting our CO2 emissions per overnight stay:


15 kg

CO2 in 2015


5.8 kg

CO2 in 2019

and further down to

3.32 kg

CO2 in 2023

Reduction of

Our Commitment to
a Sustainable World

Alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a&o Hostels is deeply committed to shaping a sustainable future. We prioritise six key goals that resonate with our business ethics, empowering us to effect positive change. By aligning our actions with these goals, we enhance every aspect of the guest experience responsibly. The most important SDGs for a&o are:

Clean Water and Sanitation

Affordable and Clean Energy

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Responsible Consumption and Production

Climate Action

a&o Hostels’ Embrace ESG Criteria

We are committed to complying with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as part of our compliance concept to support sustainable travel.

E - Environment

It's about how a company affects the planet, such as its use of resources, pollution levels and efforts to combat climate change, aiming to do business in a way that's kinder to the environment.

S - Social

This is about how a company treats people - its employees, the communities it operates in, its customers and suppliers, looking at things like fair treatment, diversity, workers’ rights and involvement in local issues.

G - Governance

Governance is about how a company is run, like who's making decisions, how transparent they are, whether they're following the rules and if they're looking out for the interests of their shareholders

Environmental Initiatives

Energy Conservation
& Renewable Energy

Hostels and hotels consume a lot of energy for lighting, heating, cooling and appliances, leading to high carbon emissions.

a&o's Action:We’re committed to energy conservation and integrating renewable resources whenever feasible.

  • Energy-efficient LED lighting
  • Solar panels in selected hostels to generate renewable energy
  • Aiming to use 100% green energy
  • Continuously improving the energy efficiency of our buildings
  • Energy performance certificates

Water Conservation:
A Core Commitment

Daily operations at a hostel/hotel, like laundry and cleaning, use a lot of water, impacting local water resources.

a&o's Action: Water conservation plays an integral part in our Hostels sustainability commitments.

  • Saved already 150 million litres of water since 2006
  • Water-efficient showerheads and flush systems
  • Encouraging towel reuse
  • Upholding water conservation in our housekeeping operations
  • Adopting eco-friendly, chemical-free cleaning methods

Your Stay, Sustainably Sourced

Hostel/hotel operations can affect local biodiversity, especially in sensitive areas.

a&o's Action: Our a&o Responsible Sourcing Policy, initiated in 2022, plays a key role in shaping the sustainability of our operations.

  • Initiated a&o Responsible Sourcing Policy in 2022
  • Focusing on sustainability and ethical practices in supplier selection
  • No tropical fruits and seafood to support biodiversity
  • ‘Wheel of Knowledge’ installed with information regarding the CO2 impact of the food we eat
  • Installed green facades in selected hostels to enhance urban biodiversity and air quality

Sustainable Waste Management

The hospitality industry often generates a lot of waste, including food, packaging and disposable items.

a&o's Action: We've implemented proactive measures to reduce packaging waste significantly.

  • In the process of eliminating single-use plastics
  • Transitioned to bulk dispensers in our breakfast buffet
  • Using soap dispensers instead of soap packs and eliminating plastic toothbrush cups
  • Running the 'Bring Your Own Mug' campaign to reduce disposable cup use
  • Collaborating with to offer reusable cups
  • Conserve resources: Be mindful of your usage. Reuse towels, switch off lights and save water to make a big impact

Green Mobility

Guest travel and supply deliveries can significantly increase carbon emissions.

a&o's Action: We invite you to join us in our commitment to sustainable travel during your stay and beyond. Choose green, travel clean, and make a positive impact together!

  • 90% of company vehicles are hybrids or electric to help lower our transportation-related emissions
  • Offering bicycle rentals and electric vehicle charging stations
  • Supporting employee commuting through public transportation to promote the use of buses and trains as eco-friendly travel options

Social Initiatives

a&o educare

At a&o educare, our mission is clear: to make a positive impact on young minds through sustainability education. Founded by CEO Oliver Winter, we're dedicated to empowering the next generation through ‘ESD - Education for Sustainable Development’, in line with the UN's 17 Goals.

a&o Kunsthalle

The mission of the a&o Kunsthalle is to provide a space for artistic expression while championing equality and sustainability. Committed to fostering ongoing learning and engagement, they actively build bridges with local universities, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and reach out to Leipzig's diverse communities through inclusive initiatives.

Sponsorships in Social, Science, Environment and Sports

Alongside our commercial pursuits, a&o takes pride in our social sponsorship efforts across Europe. Focused on sports, arts, environment, science, education and social welfare, we open our hostels to directly support these causes, aiming to enhance the cities we operate in.


a&o Hostels provided SOS Children's Villages with 300 overnight stays/beds for children in need.

Science and the Environment

The Berlin Climate Schools promotes environmental awareness through school projects. a&o Hostels sponsors the online audience award, offering the winning class a 7-day (6-night) trip with breakfast.


Over 2000 overnight stays/beds were provided for FC Union Berlin, the DESG German Speed Skating and Short Track Association, Hachinohe Japan Juniors, FC Hansa Rostock, the youth partner of ALBA Berlin, Eisbären Juniors Berlin and ttc berlin eastside.

Governance Initiatives

a&o Policy Making

Our commitment to upholding ESG values is evident in our established policies. These can be viewed below:

a&o Code of Ethics

This policy guides employees on integrity and compliance while emphasising transparent and respectful relationships with customers and partners.

a&o Responsible Sourcing Policy

This policy outlines our commitment to socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and ethically sound purchasing practices, emphasising collaboration with suppliers to uphold these values throughout our supply chain.

Declaration of Principles on Human Rights

This policy addresses human rights risks within operations and across supply chains, with plans for ongoing risk assessments guided by this policy until 2025.

Role of Our ESG Task Force

At the heart of our sustainability commitment is the ESG Task Force, a dynamic assembly of employees united by a shared vision to integrate ESG principles into our company's DNA. This passionate collective drives positive change, fostering a collaborative environment where innovation and sustainability flourish. Through regular meetings, the team delves into current initiatives, welcomes fresh ideas and ensures we exceed our environmental responsibilities.

HR Training

We prioritise continuous learning and personal development to enrich our staff's knowledge, refine their skills and amplify their abilities. This commitment empowers them to confidently navigate business challenges and fosters their professional growth, enabling peak performance and meaningful contributions.

Our training programs cultivate well-rounded individuals by enhancing both personal and professional skills, including soft skills, leadership, conflict resolution and time management. They serve as a strategic investment in employee development, driving enduring success by empowering individuals to excel and fostering efficiency, innovation and sustainable growth. Explore further on our a&o career portal.


One of our values is diversity, which means we welcome all types of guests into a&o Hostels. For employees, we are always open for everyone to join our team as it does not matter which origin, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities or socio-economic background you are. We embrace these unique qualities, weaving them into the colourful tapestry of experiences that define our a&o Hostels community as we have international employees in all our hostels as well as our headquarters.

Sustainability Speaks

  • “Sustainability begins with a solid foundation. Our governance structure embeds ESG principles to guide our practical actions. In collaboration with our employees, partners and guests, we are actively working towards a future where our actions continuously impact our communities positively, protect the environment and inspire sustainable practices within our industry.”

    Arben Maliqi, Director of ESG

  • “At a&o, legal work extends interpreting laws; it supports safeguarding the rights of all, including guests, employees and communities. The a&o 'Declaration of Principles on Human Rights' ensures compliance and fosters dignity and equality. Our commitment enhances our reputation and aligns us with global ethical standards.”

    Amina Okita, Legal Counsel

  • “In the DNA of our construction department lies the foundation of sustainability. Here commitment meets responsibility. As we build the future of our houses, we want our results to speak louder than words and ensure the way for a sustainable future.”

    Thomas Püschel, Head of Construction

  • “At a&o, we prioritise sustainable and responsible sourcing practices. Our ‘a&o Responsible Sourcing Policy’ guides us in partnering with suppliers, who share our commitment to environmental care and ethical behaviour. Together, we aim to minimise waste, reduce our environmental impact and promote fair labour practices within our supply chain.”

    Yosif Georgiev, Director of Procurement

  • “a&o, it's more than a workplace – it's a collaborative ecosystem where every voice is valued, ideas become action and sustainability is core. Inspired by colleagues, we shape and implement ESG strategies.”

    Cedric Coy, Executive Assistant & Head of ESG Task Force

  • “Sustainability matters to me personally and professionally. a&o's sustainability mission played a vital role in my hiring process. I appreciated seeing efforts at every level, from small actions to major initiatives.”

    Makyla Bishop, Communications Manager

Sustainability Report

a&o Hostels focuses on sustainability! We have published our second edition of the a&o Sustainability Report. It is oriented on internationally recognised reporting standards and uses acknowledged methods for data collection - such as the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol. Read our full Sustainability Report to explore our holistic approach to sustainability.

GHG Protocol

The GHG Protocol established a global standardised framework for measuring greenhouse gas emissions from both private and public sector operations, including value chains and mitigation actions to address climate change effectively.

Scope 1, 2, 3

Scope 1 emissions…

… are direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organisation, such as fuel combustion and industrial processes.

Scope 2 emissions…

… are indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the generation of electricity, heat, or steam that an organisation purchases or consumes, typically from utilities or other external sources.

Scope 3 emissions…

… encompass all indirect greenhouse gas emissions that occur in the value chain of an organisation, including both upstream and downstream activities such as purchased goods and services, transportation, waste disposal and product use.

Awards, Certifications
& Partnerships

At a&o Hostels, our commitment to sustainability isn't just a claim - it's recognised and celebrated through various awards, certifications and partnerships.


Since 2019, we've proudly collaborated with GreenSign, a recognised entity by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Our GreenSign certification signifies our dedication to sustainable practices, with the majority of our hostels holding Level 4 Certification. Notably, a&o Venezia Mestre has achieved Level 5 , showcasing our ongoing efforts towards sustainability. With GreenSign, guests can rest assured that their stay contributes positively to the environment

Sustainable Fitch

Our sustainable practices have earned us an impressive ESG rating of 2 from Sustainable Fitch, reflecting our strong commitment to social responsibility. This rating underscores our dedication to sustainability across all aspects of our operations.


We partner with Veolia at select a&o Hostel locations. Collaborating with leading waste management organisations like Veolia, we strive to manage waste responsibly, support environmental goals and contribute to the transition towards a circular economy. Our partnership with Veolia underscores our commitment to reducing waste and minimising our environmental footprint.

Join Us in Our
Sustainability Journey

At a&o Hostels, we value your input in shaping our sustainable future. Whether you have suggestions to enhance our eco-initiatives, feedback on our approach, or a story from your sustainability journey, we're eager to hear. Every perspective brings us closer to our goal of creating a brighter, more sustainable future. Let's embark on the journey of sustainable travel together towards a Net Zero future.

Your idea for a&o green