Sustainable operations, destinations and wildlife

Hurtigruten is a world leader in the fight against unsustainable mass tourism. We work to enhance our destinations and leave behind a footprint we are proud of.

We are advocating strict rules and regulations to impose on ourselves and others in order to improve our industry as a whole. Our guests are explorers who prove the need forquality experiences, learning and increased understanding as a viable path to all-year activity and sustainable growth. We know that protecting and adding long-term value to the waters we sail in, and to the destinations we visit is not just the right thing to do – it is necessary to prevent existential risk to our business.

Hurtigruten is the world’s largest expedition cruise line, operating from pole to pole and across the entire Arctic. We invite our guests to the most spectacular nature and wildlife on our planet, and let them experience 28 UNESCO sites. This leading position comes with great responsibility. That is why we are striving for sustainable operations and destinations through our daily operations, sourcing of supplies, participation in organisations and advocacy for stricter laws and regulations. The footprint we leave behind is one that we are proud of, because we strive to contribute to sustainable development and create positive change through our actions and existence.

Hurtigruten was first founded to be a lifeline for communities and people along the harshest parts of the Norwegian coast in 1893. Since then, we have kept exploring the world’s most challenging waters. This heritage is important to us and we care deeply for the year-round prosperity and long-term development of all the places we visit. Strong local communities are a way to ensure sustainable use of vulnerable areas and authentic experiences. Hurtigruten contributes to the livelihoods and welfare of small coastal societies by trading locally and employing local manpower when possible. It is also very important for us to work on reducing waste, stop littering and contribute in clean-ups.

We strongly encourage all our contractors to focus on sustainable operations, demanding that they operate in line with Hurtigruten’s code of conduct and key Sustainable Development Goals.

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    Fighting mass tourism

    One of Hurtigruten’s most important goals is to fight the exploitation and degradation of sites, nature and local communities by mass tourism. Operations where quantity wins over quality result in poor guest experiences in the short run - and damaged sites and destinations in the longer run. Exploration travel is not about volume, it’s about unique experiences for active guests. We have proven that explorers are willing to pay for quality experiences, learning, understanding and a broadening of their horizons. We need to stop measuring success in more tourists, more ships or more hotel beds. We need to instead measure it in the quality of the guests and the footprints they leave behind.  

    Hurtigruten has called for a stop to mass tourism in pristine areas. We work for stricter regulations, such as size limitations on cruise ships and restricting number of guests allowed on shore. We are already following these guidelines ourselves. Our goal is to develop, encourage and maintain sustainable all-year activity, instead of flooding the valuable sites during peak season and leaving them quiet for the rest of the year. This is key to developing sustainable destinations, thriving communities and unique experiences. There is room to grow, but the growth has to be balanced and sustainable.

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    Enhancing local communities and culture

    Hurtigruten respects and supports indigenous communities, values culture and traditions, and maintains a close cooperation with communities wherever we operate. We have a deep respect for the communities, people and areas we visit, and ensure that any impact left by both guests and crew is only minor and transitory . We will not leave visible or lasting signs from a visit.

    Trading locally and buying services like excursions and sourcing ingredients from local suppliers, Hurtigruten contributes to the livelihoods and welfare of small coastal societies. Hurtigruten respects and supports indigenous communities, values culture and traditions, and maintains a very close cooperation with the communities that make an immense effort to welcome our guests – wherever we visit.

    Hurtigruten has also committed to buying most of our goods and services from local suppliers, and we are by far the largest player in locally sourced food in the Norwegian travel industry.

  • We source our food locally, whether it's from sea or land. Our Norway's Coastal Kitchen also comes with a separate vegan menu.

    Norway’s Coastal kitchen and reducing food waste

    Around 80 percent of the food and drinks we serve comes from Norwegian suppliers, and nearly half of this is delivered directly from farms, fisheries and producers – with as few food miles added as possible. By trading locally, we reduce transportation emissions to a minimum and increase the knowledge and understanding of local food, customs and cultures among our guests. Knowing the source also ensures the well-being of animals and the safe origin of other ingredients.

    Our concept Norway´s Coastal kitchen has changed our onboard food concept, abandoning all industrial processed food and removing endangered species from our menus. Instead, our guests get to experience tasty and healthy food from local suppliers throughout the whole journey. We only serve species approved by WWF’s Seafood Guide and we became MSC-certified in 2018.

    We have committed to reducing food waste by 20 percent by 2021. We have implemented a digital registration and real-time measurement of our food production to minimise food waste. Our early results show more than a 20 percent expected reduction in food waste. 

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    Respecting nature and wildlife

    Exploring some of the most spectacular wildernesses on our planet - and observing theirunique wildlife - is an important part of every Hurtigruten voyage. This comes with an obligation to explore respectfully.

    Observing wild animals and birdlife is done at distance so as not to alter natural behavior and with the utmost respect for their welfare and habitat. Throughout every voyage – and prior to each landing - all guests are briefed and educated in local wildlife guidelines.

    Hurtigruten Expedition Team members are hand-picked, trained and certified annually, ensuring that all preparations, landings and encounters with nature and wildlife happen in accordance with Hurtigruten’s strict policies and guidelines – which surpass all industry standards.

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    Photo: Rinie van Meurs Photo

    Conservation of the environment

    In order to improve our footprint, we need to understand and constantly improve our knowledge of the wildlife we encounter. That is why we participate in and encourage science and research in several ways. We contribute to registration of polar bears on Svalbard, log seawater temperature along the Norwegian coast and conduct oil surveillance and Antarctic research. Our crew and guests also remove metric tons of garbage and litter from shores.

    Hurtigruten is a founding member of AECO, an organisation working for responsible, environmentally-friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. We are also proud members of IAATO, which advocates for and promotes safe and environmentally-responsible travel to the Antarctic. One main focus of these organisations is to promote public awareness and concern for the conservation of the environment and its associated ecosystems.

    In 2015 we established Hurtigruten Foundation, which provides funding to grassrootsorganisations and NGOs working to protect the natural environment and cultural heritage of the areas we sail in.

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    Providing a diversified and safe work environment

    While we work to enhance the destinations we visit, we also continously strive to enhance our own organisation. We are absolutely sure that a diversified working environment is essential for Hurtigruten to succeed. We operate with a zero tolerance for gender-based discrimination and 44 percent of our manager level employees are women. We work to ensure women´s full participation at all levels throughout our company, and we are eagerly waiting for our first female captain to be appointed as one of many in the futuree. Hurtigruten expects all partners and companies to respect equality and give everyone the same opportunity to succeed.

    Hurtigruten’s operations depend on a peaceful environment with democratic and effective institutions, and a stable working environment. We have implemented safeguards and policies to prevent violations of anti-corruption laws. Our organisation has implemented a whistleblower policy. The Hurtigruten ethical rules are known by all employees and the Supplier Code of Conduct is signed by all suppliers. All operations comply with the Modern Slavery Act.

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