News takes ‘Travel Sustainable’ program offline

AMC, Netherlands, March 25th, 2024

"Following conversations with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), travel website has decided to take the so-called Travel Sustainable program offline as of 25 March.

In this program, affiliated accommodations receive scores (“levels”) as well as one or more green leaves on Booking’s website. The scores range between 1 and 3+, depending on the sustainability efforts of the accommodations in question. ACM considered the presentation of this program to be misleading. The claim Travel Sustainable may wrongly give the impression that traveling is sustainable. Additionally, it was not sufficiently clear to what aspects the claim refers, which may result in a distorted impression of the actual sustainability efforts of accommodations. has taken the incorrect sustainability claims of the Travel Sustainable program offline worldwide, and has informed ACM that they are working on an improved system. ACM promotes initiatives that enable consumers to make sustainable choices. 

Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, says: “It’s important that companies use clear, correct and relevant sustainability claims. Consumers are more and more aware of the impact that they themselves have on the climate, including when traveling. That is why, when choosing accommodations, consumers must be able to understand and rely on the sustainability claims that are used.”

The Sustainable Travel Programme was launched in 2021

Identified bottlenecks

According to ACM,’s Travel Sustainable program did not meet the statutory requirements, which have been fleshed out in ACM’s Guidelines regarding Sustainability Claims. The system, which has already been taken offline, failed to meet the following requirements:

  • The name of the Travel Sustainable program was a possibly misleading sustainability claim. It implies that traveling and staying at one of the program-affiliated accommodations are sustainable, even though this is incorrect. The use of the green leaf reinforces this implication.

  • The program created a distorted impression of the accommodations that are not affiliated with the program. Since those accommodations lacked any such leaves or claims, it could have come across that these accommodations did not undertake any sustainability efforts.

  • It was not clear to consumers what the scores were based on. This was not sufficiently clearly explained by on the program’s general page.

  • Not all of the measures that were listed with the accommodations can be qualified as measures producing significant sustainability benefits, for example eliminating single-use plastic in a hotel. This is already prohibited in the European Union, and is therefore not an additional sustainability effort on the hotel’s part.

Future sustainability claims has made a commitment to stop using the claim Travel Sustainable as well as the thereto-related scores. In addition, it will no longer use icons such as green leaves when presenting accommodations. ACM welcomes the fact that is taking action and that it is working on an improved program based on third-party certification and which is aimed at making accommodations more sustainable. This helps consumers in making sustainable choices, and encourages companies to invest in sustainability.

Towards a more sustainable economy

In order to support the transition to a more sustainable economy, ACM will focus on education and on actions against incorrect sustainability information. Oversight over sustainability claims of companies helps realize that goal. Consumers must be able to make sustainable choices with confidence, and businesses that undertake sustainability efforts must be protected against businesses that compete unfairly by using misleading claims. In addition, ACM wishes to create the right conditions to support the transition to a more sustainable economy. ACM removes obstacles, and creates opportunities where possible. "

Target group(s) Destinations , Businesses , Travellers , Education, Research, Consultancy , NGOs, Partnerships, Networks , Governments & Administrations
Topics Certification & Marketing