As a leader in travel, we believe it is our responsibility to help make sure this planet, its communities and our industry are able to thrive now and into the future.
Protecting the Planet
We've set ambitious goals to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, beginning with becoming carbon neutral across our operations in 2020 (visit Sustainable Operations to learn more). We reduced our energy consumption in offices and data centres, as well as our reliance on fossil fuels by sourcing renewable energy alternatives. Where we can't remove the carbon ourselves, we purchase credible carbon offsets from projects all over the world. But carbon isn't the only area where we have big plans. We're revolutionising the way we handle waste and the amount of single-use products we use globally.
A travel destination is more than just sights to see or activities to try – it offers the chance to meet new people, experience different cultures and understand other ways of living. It's why travel is an important force against intolerance and bigotry. Through our Booking Booster accelerator programme, we helped entrepreneurial startups to scale-up their impact in making tourism more sustainable for local communities. While our volunteer programme, Booking Cares, empowers our own employees to support causes they care about close to home and do so using up to eight hours of paid company time.
Booking.com is the world's leading accommodation booking platform, yet the company is just part of the enormous network that powers global travel. That's why cooperation and collaboration are so key to shaping a new way for the world to travel. We're giving every accommodation partner, large and small, more opportunities to display these initiatives to millions of potential guests through our platform – whether they have an accredited sustainability certification or simply want to showcase the sustainable practices already in place at their properties. If they don't have practices in place, we provide educational support through our digital handbook on sustainability, which provides partners with practical solutions to help them get started on their sustainability journeys.
Natural disasters can have a truly devastating impact on communities and destinations. We began our emergency response fund to help support the relief organisations that deliver vital aid to the people and places hit by these catastrophes. To raise funds quickly and efficiently, we set up an internal fundraising campaign, so employees can donate immediately, with the company matching all their contributions. To date, Booking.com and its employees have donated more than €500,000 to organisations delivering immediate relief to those in need across the globe.
Working in Partnership
Working in unison with our partners, we know we can achieve our goal of easier sustainable travel. But it's not just partners we're collaborating with, it's our industry peers too. Booking.com is a founding member of Travalyst, a not-for-profit organisation made up of leading travel companies working together to make travel a catalyst for good in the world. We work in partnership with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to find a collective solution to making travel more sustainable. We're also a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. Created by the UNWTO, UNEP and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the initiative aims to end global plastic pollution in tourism – an important cause we're committed to supporting.
To give back to the places that have given us so much, we created an employee volunteer programme that empowers our workforce to support destinations during business hours. Since the programme began in 2014, over 172,000 work hours have been donated, by almost 6,000 employees, across more than 2,100 sustainability projects worldwide – from designing complex funding models to simply cleaning up after events.
In 2017, we took our destination support to another level, with the creation of the Booking Booster accelerator programme. Over the course of three intense weeks, sustainable tourism startups receive coaching, mentorship and the chance to pitch for a share of €2 million in grant funding. Since its inception, the Booking Booster has helped 45 different organisations scale up and provided over €10 million in funding.