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Towards sustainability and CSR in Naturefriends houses

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was a very abstract concept for many of the participants before the first CSR workshop for Naturefriends houses. Naturefriends live social and ecological values and have international guiding principles for houses, so many CSR activities are already implemented in Naturefriends houses. However, the houses managers are often not aware of this and thus don't communicate it to the public.

Between 2011 and 2013, the EU project "Train to change" first trained CSR trainers according to TourCert standards who then trained CSR managers in eight Naturefriends houses in turn. Often it was only necessary to analyse activities and communicate them to the public. For example, sustainable use of resources and social commitment are already anchored in the Naturefriends houses guiding principles. When it comes to construction, Naturefriends houses strive to meet environmentally friendly standards and use photovoltaic installations, solar panels and automatically regulated showers. However, further effective tools and communication strategies were pointed out to the participants in the two workshops.


In March 2013, 12 persons responsible for houses as well as local group representatives participated in the first workshop which was held in the Naturefriends house Kolm-Saigurn in Salzburg, Austria. The topics of this first workshop were guiding principles, stakeholder map and improvement plan. After data analysis such as energy consumption, employee satisfaction and others in between the two workshops, the second workshop in June 2013 in Vienna focused on data collection and reporting. All in all, 16 participants of eight Naturefriends houses in Austria, Germany, Belgium and Romania worked towards more sustainability.


In September 2013, the first steps of the CSR reporting process were concluded and the participants successfully completed their CSR-manager training.

Within the project "Train to Change", ten CSR trainers and more than 50 CSR managers were trained. Dissemination by CSR trainers contributes to the implementation of sustainability in small and medium-sized businesses such as Naturefriends houses at international level.



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