Go back

Hotel Sustainability Basics (HSB)

Hotel Sustainability Basics (HSB)

In today's world, sustainability has become a crucial aspect of the hospitality industry. Hotels, in particular, play a significant role in resource consumption and environmental impact. To address this, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has introduced the Hotel Sustainability Basics (HSB) framework. This initiative aims to provide a standardized set of 12 essential sustainability indicators for hotels worldwide, serving as a foundational tool for properties to kickstart their sustainability journey. In this blog post, we will delve into the HSB framework, exploring its purpose, key indicators, and the role it plays in promoting global sustainability in the hotel industry.

What is the purpose of the HSB?

The HSB framework serves as a global supporting tool for hotels to embrace sustainability. It offers a standardized approach that enables properties to understand and address their environmental impact systematically. By following the HSB framework, hotels can embark on their sustainability journey with a clear and comprehensive set of guidelines.

Which topics are covered within HSB?


o   Energy Use

o   Water Use

o   Waste reduction

o   Carbon Emissions


o   Linen reuse program

o   Green cleaning products

o   Vegetarian options

o   Usage of plastic straws or stirrers

o   Usage of single-use plastic (SUP) water bottles

o   Bulk amenity dispensers


o   Community benefit

o   Reduction of inequalities

What are the requirements of HSB?

The Hotel Sustainability Basics (HSB) framework provides clear requirements and a flexible approach for hotels to embrace sustainable practices.

During the first year, hotels are granted a certain degree of flexibility in selecting which criteria to prioritize. To begin their sustainability journey, hotels are required to fulfill eight out of the twelve criteria established by the HSB. These criteria, as listed above, cover various aspects of sustainability, including resource management, environmental conservation, and community engagement. By meeting these initial requirements, hotels demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices from the outset.

While the initial fulfillment is necessary, the HSB scheme allows hotels a reasonable timeline to address the remaining four criteria. Hotels are given three years to fulfill these criteria, enabling them to gradually incorporate sustainable practices into their operations.

The scheme acknowledges that sustainability initiatives require time, investment, and adjustments to existing practices. This approach ensures a realistic and manageable transition toward sustainability for hotels of all sizes and capacities.

The given flexibility allows hotels to focus on areas that align with their specific circumstances and resources. By tailoring their sustainability efforts, hotels can implement changes that are most impactful and feasible within their operations.

What are the benefits of becoming verified?

·       Strengthening the hotel’s position as a leader in sustainability.

·       Gaining a better understanding of environmental and social impacts, along with identifying opportunities for improvement through benchmarking.

·       Networking opportunities and the ability to share best practices with other stakeholders.

·       Promotion possibilities through the WTTC, enhancing visibility and reputation.

What can a hotel do once it achieves the ‘Basics’?

Once a hotel successfully meets the basic criteria, it is encouraged to continue its sustainability journey by complying with criteria from other certification schemes. Some examples of such schemes include:

·       Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality (by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance)

·       Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria

·       Criteria developed by online platforms (e.g., Booking.com, Google)

In conclusion, the HSB framework presents a standardized set of 12 indispensable sustainability indicators for hotels, enabling them to embark on their sustainability voyage. By fulfilling eight initial criteria and gradually addressing the remaining four within a three-year timeframe, hotels can showcase their dedication to sustainable practices. Achieving verification through the HSB framework bolsters their standing as sustainability pioneers, fostering a deeper comprehension of their environmental and social impacts. Hotels also benefit from networking opportunities, and promotional prospects, and can further their sustainability endeavors by adhering to criteria from other certification schemes. The HSB framework empowers hotels to contribute to a more conscientious and eco-friendly landscape within the hospitality industry.