google eco-certified tool

Google Search Now Shows ‘Eco-certified’ Sustainable Hotels

Sustainability in hotels used to be something eco-travellers used to wish for, but these days, it’s becoming more of a given. But, it’s never been easy to tell if a hotel was really sustainable or just simply hopping on the green bandwagon.

Now, Google is helping travellers find sustainable hotel options with an “eco-certified” label in its search results. For this label to apply, hotels must meet certain standards of sustainability from 29 independent certification organisations, which include Green Key and EarthCheck. Hotels that meet these standards will feature an eco-certification badge in the form of a green leaf icon next to their name. 

Here’s an example of a hotel in Hong Kong with the “eco-certified” label:

Source: Google

If you click the “Eco-certified” icon, you will be able to see the hotel’s sustainability practices, such as having water use audited by an independent organisation or using energy from carbon-free sources. Global hotel chains such as Hilton and Accor have already joined the programme, with others expected to join.

Hotel sustainability practices (Source: Conrad Hong Kong screenshot)

The feature has been introduced to offer travellers more transparency against greenwashing and help them become more eco-conscious. After all, this is becoming more important to them; according to a study conducted by earlier this year, 83% of travellers worldwide said that they believe sustainable travel is vital, and 61% said the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they still believe that in 2021, there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available, with 53% admitting they get annoyed if the place they’re staying stops them from being sustainable.

It’s great that Google is working to demystify some of the confusion that can arise around greenwashing and traveling more sustainably, but currently, only several Hong Kong hotels seem to have the ‘eco-certified’ label, even though we know many hotels already do practice certain sustainability practices. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to check with the hotel directly. The onus is ultimately on us to make more sustainable decisions when we travel, with or without this new tool. 

Looking for a tropical getaway? Check out ​​Palmaïa – The House of AÏA: Sustainable Luxury on the Riviera Maya

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