An interview with ecobnb

Green Sail interview with Ecobnb

December 8th

Ecobnb is a community dedicated to sustainable tourism, which offers to travellers from all over the world the opportunity to find and book a vacation in harmony with nature. Green Sail interviewed CEO Simone and COO Silvia to find out all about Ecobnb and it's mission.


Interview Transcript

GS: What is Ecobnb, what is its mission, goals?

Ecobnb: Ecobnb is an adventure that we have undertaken to change the way we travel, so that every holiday becomes an authentic travel, respectful of the environment and local communities.

Ecobnb promotes sustainable tourism and encourages people in choosing sustainable destinations, less-touristic places, nearest destinations, preferring eco-friendly accommodations and sustainable way of travelling.

GS: How and when did you decide that you wanted to create a community of sustainable tourism developers?

Ecobnb: Five years ago we decided to create this project, when invited to attend a conference in South Italy. We realized that it wasn’t easy to find sustainable accommodation to stay with. We found very little information and it was mainly greenwashing (when products are deceptively described to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly).

For that reason, Simone Riccardi (founder of Ecobnb) decided to create a network dedicated to sustainable tourism where, together with some friends and environmental associations, he published several green accommodation options online in Italy.

In few months Ecobnb will be celebrating 3 years since we launched the web platform Ecobnb on February 2015, and the mobile application on August 2016.

Today Ecobnb is one of the main reference points for sustainable tourism in Europe: it involves a community of one million people following us on our blog, social media, and website. Ecobnb engages its community through promoting and encouraging sustainable tourism best practice.

Ecobnb received the World Tourism Organization UNWTO award in innovation in Tourism in 2017.

GS: Can you explain more how Ecobnb is 100% clean energy and 0% CO2 emissions?

Ecobnb: Tourism is one of the major cause of environmental pollution. The main responsible factor for the environmental impacts of tourism is transport (particularly airplanes and private cars), while the second most important cause are the hotels, resorts and accommodations, which are responsible for 21% of all CO2 emissions (Source: Consumption and Environment 2012). In addition, Tourism is growing rapidly, and it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 2 billion tourists around the world each year. This will have a big impact on the ecosystem.

Ecobnb focuses on creating local networks of accommodations-people-services-products self-sustainable and economically viable. A territorial proximity involving local associations and individual travelers is a big advantage, which is unfortunately often overlooked, but crucial for sustainable tourism development. Ecobnb encourages stays in sustainable accommodations, organic food, environmentally friendly routes, green traveling, the rediscovery of nearby and authentic places.

Ecobnb reduces the footprint of tourism on the planet Earth, while increasing the wealth of local communities. Travelers who book a green stay with Ecobnb can save up to 8 kg of CO2 and 302 liters of water per day compared to traditional hotels, which is the equivalent of planting 295 trees (More Info). In 2016, more than 7 tonnes of CO2 were saved, but the potential for future growth of the project is unbelievable.

Ecobnb displays advantages of sustainable travel, and makes people aware of different unsustainable tourism actions. Spreading the idea of conscious travel and actions has positively affect a community of one million people in the last two years.

Through the web platform and mobile App, travelers can discover and book customized and eco-sustainable accommodation and travel experiences, that meet at least 5 of 10 main eco-requirements: organic or local food, 100% renewable energy, car-free accessibility, ecological cleaning products, more than 80% waste recycling, energy saving lights, green building, solar thermal panels for hot water, water flow reducers, recovery & reuse of rainwater.

Defined as a “green Airbnb” by newspapers and experts, Ecobnb is an innovative initiative in the field of tourism because it helps travelers interested in ecology to find selected green accommodations. At the same time, the initiative helps green accommodations to promote their environmental choices to new selected guests.

Together with different partners (ngo, not for profit organizations, local governments, ecolabel, etc.) Ecobnb is committed in increasing the world community of people interested in sustainable lifestyles and responsible travels. Through its blog and social media Ecobnb displays advantages of ecological lifestyle, especially travelling. Ecobnb also informs people about different unsustainable tourism actions, to make people aware of it. We believe, that spreading the idea of conscious travel and actions can positively affect a large community of people.

For each booking travelers are informed about the CO2 emissions that are avoided, and are invited to leave a review about the eco-standards of the accommodation. At the same time, eco-friendly accommodations listed in Ecobnb are encouraged to better their ecological footprint, and eco-friendly good practices.

Ecobnb is 0% CO2 emissions and 100% Clean Energy. Members of Ecobnb are powered 100% by renewable energy produced on-site. Ecobnb reduces the footprint of tourism on planet Earth, while increasing the wealth of local communities.

GS: How do you choose businesses that fit your idea of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism service?

Ecobnb: Ten main eco-requirements, internationally recognized by ecolabels and tourism green certifications:

  1. Organic food (they have to use mostly organic or local food in the composition of menus).
  2. Green buildings (the annual energy consumption of the building must be less than 60 Kwh/mq)
  3. 100% renewable energy (the electricity used by the accommodation have to come 100% from renewable energy sources)
  4. Solar thermal panels (the accommodations have to produce hot water using solar hot water systems).
  5. Ecological cleaning products (soaps and products must be ecological).
  6. More than 80% waste recycling (the accommodations have to exceed a level of 80% for waste differentiation)
  7. Car-free accessibility (the accommodations have to promote sustainable mobility, for example offering a shuttle service to public transportation hubs).
  8. Energy savings lights (at least 80% of all light bulbs must have an energy efficiency of Class A).
  9. Water flow reducers (water consumption must be reduced using water flow reducers).
  10. Recovery & reuse of rainwater (rainwater has to be collected and reused).

There are also more environmental requirements, not mandatory but important to outline on our website, and interesting for our eco-travellers, for example: bicycles for guests, vegan menus, digital detox, etc.

GS: Is the process of recycling obligatory for Ecobnb members? How do you see recycling upgraded in touristy regions?

Ecobnb:The process of recycling is one of the main 10 eco-requirements for Ecobnb members. Each Ecobnb member is requested to separate, recycle and dispose of garbage in an appropriate manner, residual waste, paper, plastic, metal/aluminium and organic waste. In all of the accommodations, there should be available to guests, bins for recycling paper, glass, plastic and cans, and also information surrounding recycling.

We think that travelers can do a lot to reduce waste during holidays, here are our 10 tips to reduce waste but the main responsibility lies with the accommodation.

The hotel industry generates large volumes of waste: only in USA, hotels produce 13.6 million tons of waste per year! The main part of this waste can be avoided, cutting out plastic cups, using single-dose portions (for example jams), boxes of soap, bottles of detergents, etc.

GS: Would you say, from your experience that tourist are changing their habits and thinking more about sustainability?

Ecobnb: Of course people can do a lot, choosing what type of tourism they want promote when they buy a trip, but we think that the laws could accelerate the process of development towards more sustainable tourism.

A project that directly involves local groups and larger scale governments, such as "Alpine Pearls", a consortium of municipalities in the Alps that promotes car-free tourism and sustainable mobility, a partner of Ecobnb, can do so much in this sense.

Ecobnbs Eco Requirements Impact with Ecobnb
Ecobnbs impact Impact with Ecobnb