Iceland’s wilderness is largely undisturbed, a balance of dozens of microclimates and geographical features that make it one of the most unique and precious destinations on the planet. In recent years, the rapid growth of tourism in Iceland has been subjecting this fragile environment to an unprecedented level of strain. The Arctic Adventures family is committed to sharing its love and respect for Icelandic nature with each of our guests, while maintaining a high standard of environmental awareness and practices in our operations.
We’ve worked hard to achieve certification from Vakinn, the official quality and environmental evaluation system of Icelandic tourism. We are proud to be an officially recognized sustainable tour operator, and constantly look for new ways to improve on sustainability and set new standards in Iceland’s young adventure tourism industry. Together, we can keep our fragile wilderness areas intact for future generations to enjoy.
Declaration of Sustainability
Although Arctic Adventures has achieved official recognition as a sustainable tour company we still strive to find improvements. We believe that any tour company wishes to thrive in the future, we must work closely in harmony with nature, local communities and the people living in them. We aim to purchase local goods where possible, to reduce long-distance procurement and to abolish the use of goods made by companies who fail to recognize environmental guidelines or their worker´s rights. Arctic Adventures undertakes voluntary work with local communities and landowners in the areas where tours are operated. We make donations to organizations and support charities in various ways.
For press on our recent green efforts, check out our Media page.
Leave No Trace
Arctic Adventures is one of the largest tour operators in Iceland, as such, we are very aware of our obligation to protect and conserve the environment to the best of our ability. To not do so would, of course, be socially irresponsible and reckless. It would also be counterproductive and destructive to our business. The main demographic of Arctic Adventures clientele is focused on enjoying the Icelandic natural environment in its most pristine form. This is one of the factors which motivates Arctic Adventures to adhere strictly to a “leave no trace policy.”
Our staff is required to:
- Remove all waste and refuse from Arctic Adventures tour areas of operation; “we carry out, what we carry in.” Additionally, staff must also dispose of any waste found in the area, even when that waste is not connected to the operation of their tour.
- Properly dispose of all waste, for example, to recycle all recyclable materials. This applies to areas in the field of operation, not just the facilities of Arctic Adventures.
- Inform clients of the “leave no trace policy” and explain how it applies to them.
- Discourage the taking of natural ‘souvenirs’: take only photographs.
- Ensure all participants minimize their environmental impact by keeping to marked paths and trails whenever possible
- Ensure no contaminants enter water sources or systems.
- Ensure campsites and resting areas are left in a condition which is at least as good as the condition in which they were found.
Our Green Commitment – The Importance of Green Thinking
“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time”
Only a few places are found in the world where people are living but nature is still left as untouched it is in Iceland. This is something we take great pride in and are focused on preserving. In all of our operations, actions and thoughts we think green, we think of eco-friendly ways to go about and we want to make an impact.
The Arctic Adventures family is always looking for new and better ways in sustainable tourism and we are not afraid to swim against the current to do so.
Supporting and Respecting Local Living
- We like to use local food products to support small local farmers and producers. This also decreases the carbon dioxide release.
- Constant monitoring, re-focusing, re-thinking and adapting to changes both environmental and cultural to ensure a perfect balance between limits and usage.
- Thinking long term in all of our plans and actions.
No printing – Limited Paper use
- We made the decision to quit printing brochures or buy advertising in printed mediums. This step was taken to decrease the usage of toxic chemicals used to break down ingredients for paper production and ink, as inks used in industrial printing affects the environment in various harmful ways.
- We accept e-vouchers – no printing needed 🙂
- We use online documents for all contracts and file keeping.
- We recycle all paper at the office.
- In 2016 we decided to have all of our Laugavegur trail participants join to use the public transport system to get to Skógar or Þórsmörk. This was done to decrease carbon dioxide release and increase fuel efficiency.
- Arctic Adventures made a deal with Strætó (The official Public Transport) so our team could buy yearly cards at a better rate to encourage the use of public transport.
- We have showers at the office to encourage people to walk, run or bike to work and back.
- Joining a tour is a more eco-friendly way of exploring and traveling. Even on small group tours like we offer, the fact stays the same, with more people sharing each vehicle less carbon dioxide gets released and fuel efficiency better.
Recycling and leaving no trace
- We recycle all waste, paper, plastic, and bottles at the office and encourage our team to do so out on the field as well.
- We use multipurpose culinary on our tours and are extra careful with not using disposable cups for hot chocolate and coffee when served on snorkeling and northern lights tours.
- We bring zip lock bags on all of our highland expeditions to make sure nothing gets left behind, food, waste or toilet paper.
Arctic Adventures has recently signed a contract with Kolviður Fund to plant 10.000 trees in their forests here in Iceland! This is equal to offsetting 46% of our CO2 emissions in 2018. The contract will take us closer to becoming a carbon neutral tour operator and preserving the beautiful nature we enjoy every day, together with efforts to cut down emissions such as electric vehicles, less idling, eco-driving, reducing waste, increasing recycling and composting.
Preserving our beautiful nature is a joint effort. Therefore we offer our customers to join us in this project by offering them to carbon offset their tour with us. For each customer that chooses to carbon offset their trip with us one tree will be planted in the Kolviður forests here in Iceland. Through this joined effort we hope to become 100% carbon neutral in 2020.
The mission of the Kolvidur Fund is first and foremost to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by increasing carbon sequestration of forest ecosystems and to increase public awareness in regard to greenhouse gas emissions. The founders of the fund are two Icelandic non-profit organizations, the Icelandic Forestry Association (Skógræktarfélag Íslands) and the Icelandic Environment Association (Landvernd).
How does carbon offsetting work?
You can select to carbon offset your tour at the time of booking. Kolviður Fund is the oldest, most respected carbon offsetting program in Iceland. With your support, one tree will be planted in special Kolviður forests in Iceland to carbon offset your tour with us. Kolviður forests are strategically planted to absorb the maximum amount of CO2 and the forests are protected for a minimum of 60 years. During their lifetime the trees absorb carbon and store it in their root system, trunk and branches. Trees also prevent soil erosion and maintain storage of carbon in the soil.