Earth Day every day with Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten Expeditions are a leader in sustainable cruising. With the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, the world’s largest expedition cruise company focuses 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, with roots back to the Norwegian polar heroes. Exploring some of the most spectacular wilderness on our planet – and visiting the cultures that call them home – is an important part of every Hurtigruten voyage. Just as important is the obligation 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 our explorers.

Actions speak louder than words

Hurtigruten not only talks about the need for sustainable and environmentally conscious choices, but they are also taking steps to do this. This includes:

Building the first-ever hybrid-electric powered expedition cruise ships

The first major travel company to have removed single-use plastic from their entire fleet and hotels

Invest in educating guests and creating ambassadors for every destination on every voyage through actively engaging guests in the cultures Hurtigruten visit, the ecosystems they explore, and the consequences of climate change they observe

With Earth Day fast approaching, Hurtigruten Expeditions is putting the spotlight on how tourism operators and travellers can create a positive impact each and every day. Hurtigruten Asia Pacific Managing Director, Damian Perry, says the environment is central to all of Hurtigruten Expeditions’ operations.

“Our policies are aimed at protecting nature, wildlife and local communities, preventing ocean and atmospheric pollution, and sharing knowledge with our guests,” Mr Perry said.

“Hurtigruten Expeditions has a history of more than 125 years and in more recent decades, our Captains and crew, expedition teams and returning guests have witnessed the impact of climate change on vulnerable polar areas. Because of this, sustainability is now at the heart of who we are and what we do. Everyone can help out this Earth Day, starting with food waste.”

Reducing food waste through innovation

Image: Andrea Klaussner

With Hurtigruten serving more than four million meals in a usual year, even a tiny reduction in food waste can make a huge difference. For Hurtigruten, tiny is not enough. That’s why the cruise line has pledged to reduce food waste by up to 30 percent by 2021. Hurtigruten has implemented a digital registration and real-time measurement scheme for all stages of food production to collect the data needed to minimise waste, and early results show Hurtigruten can expect a more than 30 percent reduction.

Making food systems more sustainable

Hurtigruten has entered into a partnership with the EAT Foundation, a Swedish-based non-profit dedicated to making the food chain more sustainable and fair for both people and planet. The partnership aims to explore further initiatives for making Hurtigruten’s food systems more sustainable and broadening its onboard food offerings.

Food traceability

Hurtigruten maintains a ban on all non-sustainable caught seafood, and demands third-party certification of all fish purchased (MSC, ASC or equivalent).

What can YOU do? Hurtigruten’s top three tips

Don’t buy more than you need when it comes to groceries and keep track of what you’ve bought and used. Hurtigruten suggests taking a ‘shelfie’ – a photo of your fridge and cupboards to remind you of what’s there.

Check the use-by dates of fresh food when you buy it. These are the dates to take notice of, rather than the best-before dates.

Only buy what you can use before it expires.

Hybrid technology & innovation

Image: Andrea Klaussner

As Hurtigruten Expeditions enters a new era of adventure travel driven by sustainability, the company has committed to setting and raising the standards for the industry to follow, with the ultimate goal being to operate all cruise ships completely emission-free.

Fighting climate change through innovation 

In addition to introducing the world’s first hybrid-powered cruise ships, Hurtigruten is testing and powering ships with green biofuel made from organic waste. There are more than 300 cruise ships in the world and the daily emissions from one single vessel operating on heavy fuel oil can be equivalent to one million cars. This needs to change.

Banning heavy fuel oil
Because of the reliance on heavy fuel oil (HFO), the shipping industry is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly SOx, NOx and CO2. Other pollutants, such as particulate matter and black carbon also contribute to global warming in the Arctic and cause environmental damage in other ways. Hurtigruten stopped using HFO over a decade ago and has been encouraging the rest of the industry to do so. With leading environmental partners such as the Clean Arctic Alliance and the European Climate Foundation, Hurtigruten is spearheading the #HFOFreeArctic campaign to ban the use of HFO in Arctic waters.

MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen

Named after legends of the golden age of polar exploration, Hurtigruten’s revolutionary hybrid-powered ships are the standard-bearers of what will be the world’s greenest expedition cruise fleet. They are equipped with large battery packs to significantly cut emissions and are packed with cutting-edge green technology, feature innovative environmental solutions, and have improved hull and bow designs.

What can YOU do? Hurtigruten’s top three tips

Drive less – bike or walk more.

Use long-lasting, energy-efficient light bulbs which help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps to switch off the light when you leave the room.

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Follow the three ‘R’s to conserve natural resources and landfill space.

Banning single-use plastic

Image: Genna Roland

Every minute, 15 metric tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans. If the trend continues, this number will double in the next 10 years and by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

Focused on reducing plastic pollution for years

Hurtigruten was the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from all of its ships, restaurants and hotels. What’s more, the cruise line has constantly improved the way it reduces, recycles and handles waste, and shares everything learned along the way.

Plastic straws have been removed or replaced, and Hurtigruten no longer uses stirrers, or plastic cups wrapped in plastic, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, plastic lids on coffee cups, plastic toothpicks, plastic aprons, single-use packaging of butter and all other single-use plastic items that 500,000 guests and 2,500 employees might normally encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Hurtigruten has removed or replaced plastic packaging with environmentally friendly alternatives made of paper, metal or other biodegradable and sustainable materials. Most importantly, this has led to a huge cut in single-use items altogether.

But the solution to the plastic crisis depends on more than just one company. Hurtigruten actively shares its expertise and engages with guests, allies, competitors, local communities, authorities and anyone else who wants to join in the fight. Hurtigruten has also implemented stricter sustainability demands on suppliers, challenging them to reduce or stop their use of single-use plastic.

What can YOU do?  Hurtigruten’s top three tips

Give up plastic bags; take your own reusable ones to the store.

Skip straws unless you have medical needs, and even then, you could use paper ones. And while you’re at it, give up plastic plates and cups.

Pass up plastic bottles; invest in a refillable water bottle.

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Feature Image: Werner Kruse

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself but the world around her. This has inspired Kate to translate those moments and share them through her storytelling. A dedicated David Attenborough and Jane Goodall fan, Kate has delved into the world of wildlife and conservation travel to bring awareness.