Ditches Travel Sustainable Program in Favor of Third-Party Certifications

Uvika Wahi

Updated on: Ditches Travel Sustainable Program in Favor of Third-Party Certifications is discontinuing its Travel Sustainable program, including the widely recognized Travel Sustainable badges previously awarded to properties engaging in sustainable practices. The Travel Sustainable initiative, which has played a significant role in encouraging hosts towards sustainable practices and enabling travelers to make more responsible choices, will be replaced by a focus on properties with external third-party sustainability certifications. This decision reflects the platform’s effort to address criticisms from the Dutch competition authority (ACM) and align with a global call for more transparent, effective, and standardized sustainable practices in the hospitality sector. 

This article delves into the rationale behind’s shift, examines the response from industry stakeholders, and explores the implications for property hosts and managers listed on the platform.

Travel Sustainable Badges Are Going Away. What is Replacing Them?

The significant change entails the discontinuation of the platform’s self-managed “Travel Sustainable” program, including the retirement of its associated name, logo, and the tiered levels system previously utilized to indicate different degrees of sustainability commitment by properties. 

  • Introduction of a New Label: Accommodations on that have attained a third-party sustainability certification will now be marked with a distinct label, making it easier for travelers to identify and choose properties that have verified sustainable practices.
  • Enhanced Search Functionality: Travelers using will be able to filter their search results to exclusively show properties with third-party sustainability certifications.
  • Prominent Display of Certified Properties: Over 16,500 properties with third-party sustainability certifications are currently showcased on, and will be prominently displayed in search results.
  • Focus on Detailed Sustainable Practices: Property listings on have the opportunity to detail specific sustainable practices they have adopted. This could range from measures to reduce water usage and energy consumption to initiatives aimed at food waste management, plastic reduction, and fostering community engagement.
  • Continued Support for Hosts: will continue to offer its Partners (hosts) educational resources, including a comprehensive handbook on sustainable hospitality and online courses developed in collaboration with UN Tourism.

Understanding the Shift: The Drive Towards Authentic Sustainability in Short-Term Rentals

The Original Intent and Impact of the Travel Sustainable Badge

The Travel Sustainable badge was a pioneering initiative by, designed to acknowledge and incentivize accommodations for adopting more environmentally friendly practices. Data from the platform indicated that eco-certified listings garnered more attention and bookings, providing a tangible, financial incentive for hosts to pursue sustainability. 

Alongside’s annual sustainability report and a suite of educational resources, the initiative played a crucial role in making sustainable practices more accessible and appealing to hosts. It created a compelling narrative around the growing traveler demand for sustainable stays, effectively marrying environmental stewardship with business incentives.

Evolving Consumer Expectations and Regulatory Landscape

However, the motivation behind these updates is twofold, rooted both in evolving consumer expectations and the changing regulatory environment. On one hand, there is a clear demand from travelers for transparent, credible information on the sustainable practices of accommodations. On the other, impending regulatory changes, such as the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), seek to regulate and standardize the disclosure of sustainable initiatives across industries. National regulations, like those in France which prevent owners of properties with the lowest Energy Performance Certificate scheme rating from renting to new tenants, further emphasize the need for compliance with environmental standards.

Addressing Greenwashing Concerns

The removal of the Travel Sustainable badge was also significantly influenced by criticisms from the Dutch competition authority (ACM) regarding the potentially misleading nature of its scoring system. The ACM pointed out that not all measures listed under the program could be considered significant sustainability efforts. For example, the elimination of single-use plastics, already mandated by EU law, does not constitute an additional sustainability effort on the part of hotels. This criticism underscores the importance of transparent, standardized regulatory frameworks to combat greenwashing and ensure that sustainability efforts are genuine and impactful.

The Role of Regulatory Frameworks and Third-Party Certifications

This situation underscores the critical role of regulatory frameworks in combating the climate crisis and guiding businesses towards authentic environmental stewardship. It also serves as a call to action for short-term rental managers to deepen their understanding of sustainability practices and the nuances of third-party certification. 

Embracing Third-Party Sustainability Certifications: A New Era for Short-Term Rentals

The decision to prioritize properties that have been externally verified underscores the importance of credible sustainability efforts. Vanessa de Souza Lage, CEO at Sustonica—a leading Sustainability Certification for Short-Term Rentals—applauds this development. Through Sustonica’s fast and fully digital audit system, properties can now showcase their genuine commitment to sustainability, thereby gaining visibility among eco-conscious travelers. As prices for verification credits are set to increase, property managers are encouraged to act swiftly to leverage this opportunity.

Marc Ribail, Founder & CEO at Qalia, a responsible tourism standard for luxury vacation rentals, echoes the sentiment, highlighting the drastic reduction from over 500,000 to approximately 16,500 properties featuring the sustainability badge. This sharp decline, he notes, is a positive outcome, eliminating any suspicion of greenwashing and elevating the industry’s reputation.

Navigating the Transition: Opportunities and Challenges

For property owners and managers, this evolution presents both challenges and opportunities. The race to secure third-party certifications is on, and it is becoming increasingly inevitable for properties desiring to maintain a competitive edge and attract the ever-growing segment of conscious travelers. 

Going Beyond Greenwashing with the Scale Green Conference

The short-term rental industry stands on the brink of a significant transformation, driven by the global shift towards sustainability. In this critical juncture, the upcoming Scale Green conference in London emerges as a key event for property managers and industry stakeholders committed to adopting and advancing sustainable practices. Co-organized by Marc Ribail and EnviroRental – a leading sustainability resource for short-term rental businesses – alongside other key figures, the conference is designed to foster collaboration and drive the discourse on sustainability within the industry.

Scheduled for this April, the Scale Green conference represents an opportunity for short-term rental managers to engage with sustainability experts, peers, and innovators. Participants will have the chance to exchange insights, explore innovative solutions, and build networks that support their sustainability goals.

The conference aims to equip attendees with the knowledge and tools required to develop and implement effective Climate Action Plans. Through a hands-on approach, participants will work on creating their Climate Action Plans in real-time, ensuring that they leave the conference with actionable strategies to apply to their properties.

Intensive Support and Guidance Post-Event

Recognizing the challenges that come with implementing sustainability initiatives, EnviroRental founder Bob Garner highlights the comprehensive support that attendees can expect, both during and after the conference. “We are taking 100 PMs and hot housing them through the eco process – before, during, and post-event. They will be creating their Climate Action Plan in REAL time, and we will support them afterwards with intensive help/guidance,” Garner explains. 


While the transition away from’s “Travel Sustainable” badges may initially appear disheartening for hosts who had achieved this recognition, it is important to view this change through a lens of opportunity. This evolution in the industry’s approach to sustainability is not just about adhering to new standards but about fostering genuine environmental stewardship and building businesses that are resilient, responsible, and ready for the future. 

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