Every day, our community tells us that traveling and sharing their homes with Airbnb gives them a unique way to meet new people, enjoy new experiences, and feel as if they can belong anywhere.
Home sharing is not only eye-opening and fun—it’s also a more environmentally conscious way to travel. This fact hasn’t been lost on our community: 72 percent of Airbnb guests say the environmental benefits of home sharing played a role in their choice to travel on our platform.
We couldn’t be prouder of our community’s commitment to the environment and we’ve already witnessed its extraordinary impact. In 2016 alone, across North America and Europe, travelers who chose Airbnb over hotels achieved energy savings equal to nearly 900,000 homes, reduced water usage equal to 10,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.8 million cars.
This is an impressive accomplishment—and we are grateful to the Airbnb community for taking us this far. But we also know that we can do even more, and that is why today we are excited to announce the Airbnb Sustainability Advisory Board. Led by an incredible team of independent experts, the board will shape and refine Airbnb’s long-term sustainability vision and help us develop our environmental partnerships and initiatives.
Board member Jules Kortenhorst, Chief Executive of the Rocky Mountain Institute, says his organization, with its 35 years of experience in energy and sustainability, “looks forward to supporting Airbnb’s efforts to transform its internal operations and positively influence the energy efficiency of the homes across their community.”
Gunther Bachmann, another board member and the Secretary-General of the German Council for Sustainable Development, adds that for all modern businesses, “learning from one another’s best practices and setting ambitious sustainability goals is increasingly becoming a necessity.”
And board member Heather Zichal, former deputy assistant to President Obama on Energy and Climate Change, says that “providing solutions to combat climate change and managing its impacts, creating pathways for economic opportunity, and advancing technology innovation are all critical to ensuring a sustainable and vibrant future – both in the US and globally. By bringing together this Advisory Board, Airbnb is demonstrating it is serious about tackling these challenges and doing so in a way that brings in multiple perspectives and experiences.”
The sustainability board is just one of many steps Airbnb has taken recently to protect and defend the environment. We’ve partnered with policymakers and NGOs to support sustainable travel and created new offerings that introduce stability not only into where you stay, but what you do while staying there. And the Airbnb community has made listings greener by embracing environmentally conscious products and services. Earlier this month, we also joined hundreds of businesses and officials from states and cities across the US, demonstrating our ongoing support for climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
Airbnb is also excited to be joining the World Tourism Organization’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development campaign, which aids the United Nations in its effort to make travel greener worldwide. And we are thrilled about our partnership with Vivint Smart Home which is helping US and Canadian hosts conserve energy and lower their energy costs.
The environment is a priority and we all have a role to play in protecting it. At Airbnb, we’re just getting started. We hope our increased efforts will expand opportunities for sustainable tools and travel around the world, and we will be working to support our hosts and guests each and every step of the way.