Watching Our Footprint: Sustainability at Hurtigruten

by Emese Graham

Hurtigruten is the world leader in exploration travel and the world’s largest expedition cruise company. This comes with a responsibility to ensure that sustainability is integrated across all of their operations. With the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, they focus on innovation, technology and concrete measures to explore as responsibly as possible.

Hurtigruten has been operating in and exploring some of the most challenging waters in the world since 1893; their roots go back to the Norwegian polar heroes. Today they are facing the greatest and most difficult challenges in their more than 125-year history. Climate change, plastic waste and unsustainable mass tourism, which are all altering vulnerable ecosystems and threatening wildlife.

As they enter a new era of expedition cruising and adventure tourism, Hurtigruten aims to raise and set new standards for the entire travel industry.

That is why they

  • are building the first-ever hybrid-electric powered expedition cruise ships
  • are the first major travel company to have removed single-use plastic from all their entire fleet and hotels
  • invest in educating their guests and creating ambassadors for every destination on every voyage through actively engaging guests in the cultures they visit, the ecosystems they explore, and the consequences of climate change they observe

UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework

Hurtigruten’s business and operations directly impact many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially those linked to responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, and more. This is where they believe they can have the most positive impact–for society as a whole and for their business, both now and in the future.

In addition, Hurtigruten has chosen four SDG goals that represent their very foundation, their licence to operate. These are goals related to quality education, gender equality, peace, and justice. They represent the values that sit at Hurtigruten’s core and are embedded in everything that they do.

Building on their passion, competence and heritage, Hurtigruten – with their dedicated crew and staff – is determined to address these challenges. They will leave behind a footprint they are proud of, contribute to sustainable development and create positive change through their operations.

Sustainable operations: Respecting and protecting wildlife and destinations

Exploring some of the most spectacular wildernesses on our planet – and visiting the cultures that call them home – is an important part of every Hurtigruten voyage. This obligates them to operate with respect and sensitivity. Hurtigruten is taking the lead in preventing degradation by mass tourism, respecting indigenous communities, and providing experiences without leaving permanent impacts, except for the impressions on all Hurtigruten’s explorers.

Science, innovation and technology

Hurtigruten is setting a new industry standard by building the world’s first hybrid-electric powered expedition cruise ships. These revolutionary ships are packed with green technology and will be the backbone of the greenest and most advanced fleet of expedition ships than the travel industry has ever seen. Hurtigruten implemented a voluntary ban on heavy fuel oil more than a decade ago, and advocates for the rest of the industry to follow.

Plastic, pollution and cleaner ocean

Hurtigruten was the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from all of their ships, restaurants and hotels. They are constantly improving how they reduce, recycle and handle waste – and are sharing everything they learn along the way. Their crews and guests collect metric tons of waste from beaches every year and are educated and trained in conservation. Hurtigruten spreads awareness about pollution in every way they can, engages in strategic partnerships, works with relevant organizations, and conducts research and real-time monitoring of the oceans.

Gender Equality Policy

Hurtigruten is committed to fulfilling their responsibility to respect and uphold human rights.

All employees of Hurtigruten shall be given equal opportunities for employment and professional development, regardless of their gender, ethnic and cultural background, religion, age, sexual orientation, functional ability, and political view.

Hurtigruten Foundation

Hurtigruten established Hurtigruten Foundation to ensure that their guests of tomorrow can enjoy the same meaningful travel experiences as their guests do today. Hurtigruten Foundation is funded by onboard activities and donations, and focuses its efforts around three main pillars: Conserving the world’s marine wildlife, fighting against marine and plastic pollution, and supporting local and global projects in the areas Hurtigruten explores.

 


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