Commitment to Sustainability

Salzburg Global Seminar, primarily operating out of its historic home of Schloss Leopoldskron, is an institution that reaches and informs a truly global constituency ranging from students to policymakers to innovators on the cutting edge of modern challenges. Under our mission to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world, we bring these thinkers and doers together to critically advance conversations about the future of our planet and its inhabitants.  

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As an institution on the cutting edge of global environmental discourse, Salzburg Global works to minimize harmful impacts of its operational activities. We seek to integrate our values into the very core of our organization to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).

Through its programs and all its operations, Salzburg Global is committed to fostering creative, just, and sustainable change. We continually review our approach and encourage our staff to build earth-conscious practices at every level, without hindering the excellent service we offer in our programs and to our hotel guests. So how does a business that owns a facility built in 1736, and flies people from around the world to Austria for its programs and events, reduce its impact on the Earth?


Salzburg Global Seminar and Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron are committed to minimizing our negative impacts (and maximizing its positive impacts) on environments across global, regional, and local arenas. Our staff aims to mitigate our contributions to global climate change by reducing onsite carbon emissions, while also taking into account issues of regional and local importance.

In Salzburg, In order to shrink our carbon footprint, we have adopted several practices to increase our fuel efficiency and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. These include the following actions:

  • Implementation of an energy efficient heating system to reduce energy waste within the Meierhof;
  • Purchase and use of an electric company car;
  • Supporting our guests to use green transportation options in and outside of Salzburg; to this end, we offer free bike rentals to hotel guests, as well as a charging station for electric vehicles on the Schloss grounds; and
  • Use of LED lightbulbs throughout the Schloss and the Meierhof.

Salzburg Global is also conscientious of its resource consumption and acts upon an ethical commitment to reduce waste production. To this end, we have implemented the following actions:

  • Introduction of recycling services for glass, cardboard, and metal waste;
  • Use of water fountains and provision of multi-use water bottles for staff;
  • Use of refillable, multi-use glass water bottles in concurrence with the Austrian Flaschenpfand system for hotel guests and program participants; under this program, water bottles are refilled after each use, thus drastically reducing waste from single-use bottles;
  • Encouragement of our guests to reuse hotel towels when possible during their stay; and 
  • Targeted reduction of plastic packaging.

In our Washington DC office, steps are likewise being taken to ensure that our commitment to sustainability extends beyond Schloss Leopoldskron. Actions taken by our overseas staff include:

  • Selection of an energy efficient office building, which incorporates motion sensor lighting, and reduces heating and air conditioning outside of business hours;
  • Use of a chilled water dispenser that pulls water from the main plumbing system to replace single-use water bottles or delivered water dispensers; and
  • Recycling services throughout the office space.

Finally, Salzburg Global Seminar, located in view of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, is always reminded of its responsibility to preserve and protect its local environment. Our grounds team is dedicated to conservation efforts on the Schloss grounds (read more here). In addition, our kitchen staff are committed to increasing our use of local, organic ingredients.


The current understanding of “sustainability” is one that is evolving every day as our collective knowledge of environmental and human systems expands and deepens. As such, Salzburg Global believes that the path towards sustainability is one that benefits from critical insight into current practices, as well as continual innovation and action. We are currently working towards integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into all of our programs, and hope that this action will encourage all Salzburg Global guests and staff to engage in dialogue internally and externally that may inform our future path towards sustainability.