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Booking.com has removed its “Travel Sustainable” program, which scored accommodations based on their sustainability efforts.

The removal of the “Travel Sustainable Badge” follows pressure from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The badge helped consumers find properties that are operating more sustainably.

ACM objected to the Travel Sustainable program scoring system, which gave properties a score between 1 and 3+ depending on their efforts. The organization called the “presentation of the program to be misleading.”

“The claim Travel Sustainable may wrongly give the impression that traveling is sustainable,” ACM said in a statement. “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.”

Booking.com introduced the Travel Sustainable program in 2021 and said last year it was continuing to grow. At the time more than 500,000 accommodations on the platform had a “Travel Sustainable” badge.

“It’s important that companies use clear, correct and relevant sustainability claims,” said Edwin van Houten, director of ACM’s consumer department. “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.”

ACM also said the name of the program was a “possibly misleading sustainability claim” and pointed out other areas where it did not meet statutory requirements, such as creating a “distorted impression of properties” without the badge.

Booking.com said in a statement that it will now prioritize third-party certification systems.

“Booking.com will now introduce a label to acknowledge when a property has achieved a third-party sustainability certification coupled with the ability to filter searches accordingly,” the company said. “To date, over 16,500 properties have a third-party sustainability certification displayed on the platform. Moving forward, the Travel Sustainable name, logo and levels will no longer be displayed.”



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