Sweden's leading organiser of trips to the polar regions is now taking a big step forward in its sustainability work. Through the company South Pole, PolarQuest has calculated all its emissions for flights, expedition cruises, land transport, meals and hotel nights. During 2019, they will climate-compensate their entire travel portfolio.
- We have always had a great commitment to sustainability issues and, by climate compensating, we are now taking the next step. We will also invest in over-compensating each year to pay off on our historical climate debt, ”says Johanna Vakkila, product manager at PolarQuest.
PolarQuest has also made a review of the entire business's climate impact and trained the staff in collaboration with Erik Huss on Husstainability.
- The travel industry belongs to a part of the business community whose consumers rarely rank climate and the environment as decisive for a purchase. Therefore, it is extremely satisfying to see how PolarQuest disregards this lack of consumer pressure and chooses to take the lead in the industry. As a glaciologist this feels extra stimulating and I hope their initiative inspires others to follow. We need to act quickly now if the big ice creams do not disappear, says Erik Huss.
Unique, climate-sensitive ecosystems such as the Arctic and Antarctica are the ones most affected by global warming. The ice and ecosystems in the Arctic probably do not survive a global warming of 2 degrees, but can cope with maximum 1.5 degrees of heating. Sea level elevations and changing ecosystems will eventually eradicate many animal species - and also hit our societies hard. (Source: WWF)
- This is exactly what we want more people to be aware of. Those who travel to the polar regions are often strongly affected. One is simply overwhelmed by the mighty nature, the silence and the wildlife, with the polar bear at the head. I believe and hope that no one who comes home from a trip to Svalbard can refrain from feeling revered for our fantastic environments and by the way think through how they live here at home. It is in any case our ambition to create ambassadors for these unique places, says Johanna Vakkila.
The focus of PolarQuest is, and has always been, expeditions with small expedition vessels. The three vessels they operate on Svalbard only take 12 or 53 passengers. However, the trend in the industry is towards larger and larger vessels.
- Unfortunately, the large cruise ships will be more, but I believe that the modern traveler, who is becoming more and more aware, understands what is most sustainable in a place like Svalbard - that 250-500 passengers go ashore in one place or that a 50 numbers do it? considers Johanna Vakkila.