Everything you need to know about eco-friendly accommodation

Travelling differently also means choosing the right accommodation! We tell you all about it!

Around the world, initiatives to preserve the environment are multiplying. A new ecological awareness is developing in France and the rest of the world. From zero-waste lifestyles to organic farming and short supply chains, there are many ways to get involved in safeguarding our resources.

The leisure sector is no exception to the trend, and more and more travelers are turning to sustainable tourism, particularly in terms of accommodation. Here we explain everything there is to know about eco-responsible accommodation, for vacations that combine usefulness and pleasure!

Why choose eco-responsible vacation accommodation?

Logement écoresponsable

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When we travel, we increase our carbon footprint, especially when we’re on the move. Many travelers have already decided to limit their air travel, or even stop it altogether, in favor of more environmentally-friendly means of transport such as the train.

In the same vein, it’s entirely possible to choose eco-responsible accommodation for your vacations. This way, you reduce the environmental impact of your stay, both locally and globally. Give preference to hosts committed to sustainable tourism, who run intelligent habitats built in harmony with nature and complying with ecological standards.

For the World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is « tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, by meeting the needs of visitors, professionals, the environment and host communities ». You too can choose to travel consciously and help create the world of tomorrow.

What criteria define an eco-responsible accommodation?

Quels critères définissent un hébergement écoresponsable ?

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To find eco-responsible accommodation, find out about the establishment’s policy. Owners of this type of accommodation clearly highlight the actions they have taken to preserve the environment. Eco-responsible accommodation should meet several environmental criteria:

  • Water management: resources and sanitation, water-saving taps, rational watering;
  • Ecological lighting ;
  • Waste sorting and recycling, volume reduction ;
  • Catering using organic and local produce;
  • Materials used for construction and decoration ;
  • Integrating buildings into the landscape ;
  • Use of organic cleaning and hygiene products.

What’s more, eco-responsible homes are also socially committed, and implement certain measures such as :

  • Respect for local cultures and traditions;
  • Participation in local development projects;
  • Job creation ;
  • Employee-friendly working conditions;
  • Working in collaboration with the local community.

How can I easily identify an eco-responsible accommodation?

Hébergement écoresponsable

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To make it easier for you to find eco-responsible accommodation, various labels have been created. To obtain them, accommodations must meet some of the criteria mentioned above. Here’s an overview of the different eco-responsible labels.

La Clef Verte

A green key on a blue background is the logo of the La Clef Verte label. Created in Denmark in 1994, the label quickly spread throughout the world, and in France from 1998. Known as Green Key abroad, it is now present in over 60 countries on five continents, for 3,200 classified establishments. It is the first international sustainable tourism label, and includes both accommodation and restaurants. It rewards all types of accommodation, from hotels to furnished tourist accommodation, including vacation centers and youth hostels.

In addition to the usual criteria, La Clef Verte rewards establishments that take steps to raise environmental awareness among their customers. Nature activities are also recognized. The labeling process includes regular audits to verify the seriousness of the owners.

European Ecolabel

Created by the European Commission in 1992, this ecolabel aims to identify products that have a lesser impact on the environment than standard products of similar use. Today, it also rewards tourist accommodation that welcomes its customers in an environmentally-friendly way.

Criteria include a minimum of 50% of the electricity used must come from renewable energy sources, and a ban on individually-packaged products. A pleasant stay in a preserved environment: that’s the promise of the European Ecolabel.

Ecogîte and Gîte Panda

Created by the Gîtes de France network, the Ecogîte label rewards gîtes committed to sustainable tourism. Candidates are graded according to a grid that not only awards them certification, but also a level of qualification ranging from 1 to 4 « épis » (ears of corn). A minimum level of standards is required, and certain criteria are eliminatory, such as air conditioning or joule-effect electric heating.

The Gîte Panda label was developed in collaboration with WWF, and rewards mainly gîtes located in nature parks.

Green Globe

The Green Globe label is the world’s largest certification label for tourism-related organizations. It is awarded to hotels and resorts, as well as conference centers, cruise ships and theme parks. The charter comprises 44 criteria and has been developed over thirty years of experience. It is updated twice a year, and now includes the protocols introduced by establishments to combat Covid-19.

These are the most common labels, but there are many others, both national and local. Check with your host region to see if it has developed its own label, such as Nattitude in Auvergne.

What are the different types of eco-friendly accommodation?

Type d'hébergement écoresponsable

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All tourist accommodation can become eco-responsible. More and more hosts are opting for an ecological approach to meet the growing expectations of their customers in terms of environmental preservation.

Certain types of accommodation are by nature more geared to these new challenges. Such is the case of the unusual accommodation that is flourishing in our countryside, such as yurts, caravans, tree houses or even tiny houses. Larger accommodations can also meet sustainability criteria, such as ecolodges of course, but also hotels, resorts, campsites and guest houses.

How do I find eco-responsible accommodation?

Réservation écoresponsable

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Most vacation accommodation bookings are made online. In response to this phenomenon and the growing demand for eco-responsible accommodation, specialized platforms have emerged. They incorporate the same criteria as labels, and stricter specifications than traditional booking sites such as Booking or Airbnb. Here’s an overview of the main eco-friendly platforms.

Vaovert

Mélanie Mambré, the founder of Vaovert, launched her concept after several international trips. Wishing to travel in France to reduce her impact on the environment, she realized how difficult it was to find ecolodges of the kind she had experienced in Asia.

Her starting point was the observation that supply existed and demand was growing, but that there was no link between the two. Her platform was born in 2018 and concretely ranks the eco-responsible commitment of accommodations thanks to an algorithm that analyzes sustainability criteria. Each accommodation includes a summary sheet of « ecopoints » in 5 categories: habitat, energy, waste, healthy eating and sharing.

Green Go

A new platform launching in 2021, this start-up’s motto is « Reconciling travel, the environment and people ». Its philosophy can be summed up in four words: authentic, French, fair and responsible. Accommodations must meet charming standards, hire French employees, pay their taxes in France, and be environmentally friendly.

The site aims to be fair, taking half as much commission on bookings as Booking or Airbnb. Accommodations are selected using a methodology that analyzes 80 criteria, including 10 fundamental ones (promotion of sustainable activities, waste reduction, nearby train station, etc.). The search is facilitated by an overview of accommodations on a map of France.

We Go GreenR

The founders of this platform have committed themselves to an ecological transition to adopt a sustainable lifestyle on a daily basis. They realized how difficult it was to maintain these good habits while on vacation. This prompted them to launch We Go GreenR in 2020.

Accommodations are ranked according to a « Green Score » from 1 to 5, showing the guests’ degree of ecological commitment. There are 8 criteria: sustainable living, water management, energy management, waste reduction, transport and mobility, food, eco-responsible actions, equipment and daily maintenance. We Go GreenR’s aim is to raise awareness among as wide an audience as possible, while giving ecology a cool, cheerful image.

Ethik Hotels

Unlike its predecessors, this is a collaborative platform. The site’s founders realized that they would not be able to visit enough homes to create a database worthy of the name. They therefore decided to call on the services of external, volunteer contributors.

Anyone can add the address of a hotel they have stayed at if it meets the criteria defined on the site. The search is highly visual, allowing you to see at a glance the actions taken by the establishment.

So, are you ready to commit to sustainable tourism? Book an eco-responsible accommodation for your next vacation now!