YHA has pledged to slash carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 40 per cent across its network of 200 hostels by switching to renewable energy sources.
It has signed what it describes as a "very competitive" £2.5m contract with British Gas for the next three years. As a result, an estimated 15,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be cut in England and Wales.
The charity has also committed to reducing its energy consumption by 10 per cent by March 2007. Increases in the price of energy mean that its energy costs for 2006 are expected to be 80 per cent higher than those for 2004 - it is mind-ful of cutting costs as well as minimising its impact on the environment.
Ewan Boyd, environmental officer at YHA, said: "We have shown that, when both parties are willing, it is possible for a large organisation to broker a deal to switch to sustainable energy. I would urge others to follow our lead."
YHA has recently implemented a ten-year business plan aimed at repaying £34m in debts (Third Sector, 8 February). This radical programme will see 32 hostels closed and 70 jobs axed over a three-year period.
The association also plans to plough £18m into developing a new hostel network and avoiding spending on loss-making rural hostels.
The Government has set its own target of reducing carbon emissions in the UK by 20 per cent by 2010.