The first sustainability program for vacation rentals

Our dedication to establishing a bespoke sustainability standard for vacation rentals makes Sustonica an unparalleled pioneer in the field.

Sustonica truly stands alone in its endeavour to bring sustainability verification to the vacation rental industry. Unlike other sectors, there is no pre-existing standard for sustainability in this specific area.  Sustainability in tourism is linked to the standards set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) which offers criteria for hotels, tour operators and destinations.  

This is where the uniqueness of Sustonica comes into play. We’ve carved out a distinct niche by creating a tailored validation framework specifically for short-term rentals. With no existing standard to lean on, we’ve painstakingly crafted our own, ensuring it aligns with recognized sustainability benchmarks such as SDG, ISO, GSTC, EU Ecolabel and Travalyst. 


Vanessa De Souza Lage Signature

I have been involved in the vacation rental industry for many years. In fact, I created one of the first online bookable platforms for short-term rentals globally, even before Airbnb emerged. Later on, I co-founded a channel manager that Airbnb became a client of.

After I left my position as Chief Marketing Officer at Rentals United in late 2021, I hoped to combine my passion for eco-friendly living with my expertise and connections in the vacation rental industry. To my surprise, there were 200 sustainability certifications for hotels and none for our industry.

This led me to create Sustonica, which aims to unite the vacation rental industry under a common banner and inspire guests to adopt sustainable practices on their return home.

It was not an easy journey, but after over a year of hard work and the support of an incredibly passionated team, we were able to bring all the pieces of the solution together.

The document “Technical Requirement for Vacation Rental Certification” has been verified by the external conformity assessment body, Bureau Veritas Iberia, S.L. 

The rigorousness of our process

At Sustonica, we take pride in ensuring a thorough and fully compliant Validation Process. Collaborating closely with our external auditors, we ensure complete independence and unbiased analysis throughout this crucial procedure. 

We recognize that the requirements and contexts of vacation rentals vastly differ from those of hotels. Despite these differences, Sustonica has successfully aligned our criteria with key sustainability and operational standards like SDG, ISO, GSTC, EU Ecolabel and Travalyst. This alignment ensures that we cater effectively to the unique needs of the vacation rental sector, promoting responsible practices at a reasonable cost. 

Traditional ‘Hotel Audits’ may not be economically feasible for vacation rental owners, but our solution offers a cost-effective alternative without compromising on the rigour of our standards. Sustonica is tailor-made to serve vacation rental owners & managers, providing a service scope perfectly attuned to their needs, making sustainability verification both achievable and affordable.

Can we be accused of greenwashing?

Sustonica’s process is fundamentally designed to combat greenwashing by adhering to strict, transparent, and accountable validation procedures. Greenwashing refers to the practice of giving a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.



Sustonica takes strong measures to prevent Greenwashing by implementing the following practices:

"The reliability and effectiveness of Sustonica's validation process, the high standard and meticulousness of Sustonica's independent audit process can withstand any scrutiny and can be demonstrated to any interested party.

Sustonica offers a validation process that is robust, transparent, and authentic, thereby ensuring it is immune to greenwashing. Our mission is to help short-term rentals genuinely and effectively improve their sustainability practices, thereby contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly tourism sector."
Vanessa de Souza Lage
Co-Founder & CEO