What is Sustainability
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 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:

From

15 kg

CO2 in 2015

To

5.8 kg

CO2 in 2019

and further down to

3.32 kg

CO2 in 2023

Reduction of
77.86%

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 focus on six key goals that resonate with our business ethics and empower us to effect positive change - not just in our operations but also in the communities we serve. By aligning our actions with these goals, we can enhance every aspect of your guest experience responsibly.

Clean Water and Sanitation

Affordable and Clean Energy

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Responsible Consumption and Production

Climate Action

Understanding ESG

We are committed to complying with ESG criteria as part of our compliance concept.

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.

Get to know our
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 select 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 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 with information regarding the CO2 impact of the food we eat installed
  • Installed green facades in select 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.

  • Eliminated 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 Recup.de 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!

  • 75% 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

Get to know our
Social Initiatives

At a&o educare, our mission is clear: to make a positive impact on young minds through sustainability education. Led 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.“ But our commitment goes beyond the classroom.

Teaming up with Fresenius University, we ensure that every school or group trip we support leaves a lasting impression. For instance, our collaboration resulted in the creation of the groundbreaking „a&o insect ho(s)tel“ at our Frankfurt-Galluswarte Hostel, fostering biodiversity education in a fun, hands-on way.

Moreover, our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages allows us to extend our support to those in need, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow sustainably. At a&o educare, we’re not just advocates; we’re actively involved, leading eco-friendly projects one step at a time.

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.

The a&o Kunsthalle, a testament to collaboration and creativity, emerged from the joint efforts of a&o hostel staff and Tanja Heuchele. Originally an old railway post office shed in Leipzig, it has evolved into a vibrant hub for exhibitions and events since its inception in 2018.

Since then, it has been a platform for showcasing emerging artists worldwide, closely tied with the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. In 2022, Kunsthalle Leipzig e.V. was established as a non-profit organisation, generously supported by a&o hostels. At the heart of it all is a dedication to creating connections, sparking dialogue, and making art accessible to everyone, enriching Leipzig’s cultural tapestry.

Sponsorships in Social, Science, Environment and Sports

Social

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

Art

Art art&o spans across 33 locations in Europe, offering a stage for artists and musicians to showcase their talent. From gigs to workshops, we embrace contemporary art, nurturing creativity. Local talents are invited to join us, making art&o a vibrant hub for artistic expression.

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.

Sports

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.

Get to know our
Governance Initiatives

Responsible Sourcing Policy

In 2023, a&o took significant steps forward with our „a&o Responsible Sourcing Policy“. This policy defines the principles guiding our purchasing decisions, prioritising social responsibility, environmental protection and ethical business conduct. By involving our suppliers more closely in our sustainability journey, we’re fostering a partnership where they share our commitment. This policy isn’t just about meeting legal requirements; it sets higher expectations that any responsible company should strive to meet, ensuring a&o and our suppliers uphold the values of human rights, environmental protection and responsible business practices throughout our supply chain.

Role of Our ESG Task Force

At the heart of the company’s commitment to sustainability is the ESG Task Force, a dynamic assembly of employees united by a shared vision to integrate ESG principles into the very fabric of the company’s DNA. This passionate collective is committed to driving positive change, both within the headquarters and across all houses. Through regular, voluntary meetings, the team delves into current ESG initiatives, and ongoing projects and openly welcomes fresh ideas from all members. This inclusive platform not only amplifies every voice within the company but also fosters a collaborative environment where innovation and sustainability flourish side by side. The ESG Task Force stands at the forefront of integrating sustainable practices into operations, ensuring that the company not only meets but exceeds its environmental responsibilities.

HR Training

We prioritize a culture of continuous learning and personal development, recognising its pivotal role in enriching our staff’s knowledge, refining their skills and amplifying their abilities. This commitment not only empowers them to navigate daily business challenges with confidence but also fosters their professional growth, enabling them to perform at their peak and make meaningful contributions to the organization’s triumphs

Our comprehensive training programs extend beyond enhancing business acumen; they are also designed to enrich personal lives. Covering a spectrum of soft skills, leadership techniques, conflict resolution strategies and time management principles, these offerings aim to cultivate well-rounded individuals who thrive both professionally and personally.

a&o training courses represent a strategic investment in employee development, serving as a cornerstone for the enduring success of our organization. By arming individuals with the requisite skills and knowledge tailored to their roles, we empower them to excel, driving efficiency, innovation and sustainable growth.

Diversity

One of our values is diversity, which means we welcome all types of guests into a&o, and 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 and socio-economic backgrounds you are. We embrace these unique qualities, weaving them into the colorful 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

  • “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 following the Green House Gas (GHG) protocol. Read our Sustainability Report to explore our holistic approach to sustainability.

GHG Protocol

The GHG Protocol establishes a global standardized framework for measuring and managing 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 organization, 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 organization 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 organization, including both upstream and downstream activities such as purchased goods and services, transportation, waste disposal and product use.

Awards, Certifications
& Partnerships

GreenSign

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.

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.

Veolia

We partner with Veolia at select a&o 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 from you. Every perspective and idea brings us closer to our goal of creating a brighter, more sustainable future. Together, let’s embark on the journey of responsible travel and become co-travellers towards a sustainable, Net Zero future.

Your idea for a&o green