A footprint we are proud of

Over the decades, our Captains and crew, Expedition Teams and returning guests have witnessed with their own eyes the impact of climate change on vulnerable polar areas. Because of this, sustainability has come to occupy a place at the heart of who we are and what we do.

Discover Hurtigruten Expedition's Sustainability Commitment

Meet Karin and Tudor in our Expedition Team and hear more about what we're doing to put the environment at the heart of all our operations.

Get 3 tips from us!

Click on each tile to discover some examples of our sustainability measures, and get three tips in each area on how everyone can help out.

Get 3 tips from us!

Click on each tile to discover some examples of our sustainability measures, and get three tips in each area on how everyone can help out.

Food waste

Local communities

Education, research and science programmes

Spreading awareness – creating ambassadors

We want to create a deeper understanding of the areas we explore and the opportunities and challenges they are facing. And so we aim to create ambassadors for every destination on every Expedition Cruise, with guests aided by our highly skilled and experienced Expedition Teams. With fields of expertise ranging from biology and polar survival to the Northern Lights and sustainability, they engage our guests in talks, lectures and discussions about local cultures, wildlife, nature and pollution – such as plastic and microplastics and how this affects the oceans.

Hurtigruten Expeditions Science Programme

With our Science Programme, we add value to the guest experience by collaborating with worldwide scientific institutions enabling them to participate in Citizen Science projects. We have partnered with world-leading institutions to assist their ongoing scientific studies, and in return, they share their knowledge and experience with our guests. We run numerous Citizen Science projects on our Expedition Cruises, and over the last three years this has allowed us to create a solid foundation for the core of our Science Programme.

Our guests can contribute to advancing science on several Citizen Science programmes, including bird observations, seabird surveys, marine mammal monitoring/observations, snow algae studies, a sea leopard project, several whale research and observations studies, cloud observations, phytoplankton studies, identifying sources of plastics, and krill monitoring. We are doing this in collaboration with IAATO, AECO, the Polar Citizen Science Collective, ASI, NASA, Polar Tag, NIVA, UNIS and several other institutions and universities.

Watch a film about our science programme here 


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Educate! When you further your own education you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
  2. Don’t put chemicals into waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals at home and in the office.
  3. Plant a tree. Trees provide oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air and combat climate change.
Science center - MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon

Food waste

Food procurement and service monitoring

When you serve over four million meals a year, even a tiny reduction in food waste can make a huge difference. But for us, tiny is not enough. That’s why we’ve pledged to reduce food waste by up to 30 percent by 2021. We’ve implemented a digital registration and real-time measurement scheme for all stages of our food production to collect the data we need in order to minimise waste, and early results show we can expect a more-than 30 percent reduction.

Making our food systems more sustainable

We have also entered into a partnership with the EAT Foundation, a Sweden-based non-profit dedicated to making the food chain more sustainable and fair for both people and planet. Our partnership aims to explore further initiatives for making our food systems more sustainable and broadening our onboard food offerings.

Food traceability

What we take from the water is just as important as what we put into it. Needless to say, we maintain a ban on all non-sustainably caught seafood, and we demand third party certification of all fish purchased (MSC, ASC or equivalent)

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Don’t buy more than you need and keep track of what you’ve bought and used. We suggest taking a ‘shelfie’–a photo of your fridge and cupboards to remind you of what’s there.
  2. 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.
  3. Only buy what you can use before it expires.
Fredheim - MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon

Local communities

Enhancing local communities and culture

We respect and support indigenous communities’ values, culture and traditions, and maintain very close cooperation with the peoples who make such a huge effort to welcome our guests, wherever we visit. By trading locally and sourcing ingredients from local suppliers, as well as purchasing services such as excursions, we contribute to the livelihoods and welfare of people living in small coastal communities.

Fighting mass tourism

Exploring some of the most spectacular wilderness areas of our planet–and visiting the cultures that call them home–is an important part of every Hurtigruten Expedition Cruise. This obligates us to operate with the utmost respect and sensitivity. We’ve taken the lead in preventing degradation by mass tourism, respecting indigenous communities, and providing experiences where the only trace we leave behind is the positive impression made on all our explorers.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. The best way to support local businesses is to spend money with them.
  2. Tell your friends and family about your favorite local businesses.
  3. Follow and support local businesses on social media and leave positive reviews.
Greenland – Land of the Inuits
Photo: Andrea Klaussner

Hybrid technology & innovation

Science, innovation & technology

As we enter a new era of adventure travel driven by sustainability, we are committed to setting and raising the standards for the industry to follow. Our ultimate goal is to operate our ships completely emissions-free.

Fighting climate change through innovation

By introducing the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ships, we are taking steps that we hope will lead the whole industry. We are also 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 such vessel operating on heavy fuel oil can be equivalent to a million cars. This needs to change.

MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen

Named after legends of the golden age of polar exploration, our 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.

Watch a film about the technology we use here
Take a guided tour of our ships here

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. What’s more, other pollutants, such as particulate matter and black carbon also contribute to global warming in the Arctic and cause environmental damage in other ways. We stopped using heavy fuel oil over a decade ago and encourage the rest of the industry to do so as well. With leading environmental partners such as the Clean Arctic Alliance and the European Climate Foundation, we are spearheading the #HFOFreeArctic campaign - a campaign to ban the use of HFO in Arctic waters.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Drive less – bike or walk more
  2. 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.
  3. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Follow the three R’s to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
MS Roald Amundsen - Antarctica
Photo: Dan & Zora Avila

Banning single-use plastic

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.

We’ve focused on reducing plastic pollution for years

We were the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from all of our ships, restaurants and hotels. What’s more, we’re constantly improving how we reduce, recycle and handle our waste, and are sharing everything we learn along the way. Plastic straws have been removed or replaced, and we no longer use 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 our 500,000 guests and 2,500 employees might normally encounter on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, we’ve 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. We actively share our experiences from our plastic reduction programme and engage with our guests, allies, competitors, local communities, authorities and anyone else who wants to join in the fight. We’ve also implemented stricter sustainability demands on our suppliers, challenging them to reduce or stop their use of single-use plastic.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Give up plastic bags. Take your own reusable ones to the store.
  2. 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.
  3. Pass up plastic bottles. Invest in a refillable water bottle.
Unnecessary disposable plastic is replaced
Photo: Ole Martin Wold

Caring for wildlife

Respecting and protecting wildlife

Exploring some of the most spectacular wilderness regions of our planet – and observing the unique wildlife found there – is an important part of every Hurtigruten voyage. This comes with an obligation to explore in a low impact manner. Observing wild animals and birdlife is done at a distance so as not to alter natural behaviour, and we show the utmost respect for their welfare and habitats. Throughout every voyage – and prior to each landing – all guests are briefed and educated about 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 our strict policies and guidelines, which all surpass industry standards.

Better together

We need to understand and constantly improve our knowledge of the wildlife we encounter and the fragile regions they live in. Because of this, we are members of the Association of Artic Expedition Cruise Operators – AECO – an organisation working for responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. We are also proud members of International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators – 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 wider environment as well as local ecosystems.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. If you have a balcony or a garden, plant native species of flowers, trees and bushes. This gives insects, birds and wild animals food, shelter and a place to thrive.
  2. Stand up for wildlife – your voice matters!
  3. Be an educated consumer. Choose products that don’t harm wild animals or their habitats.
Polar bear - Svalbard
Photo: Chase Dekker

Beach cleanups

Plastic, pollution and cleaner oceans

Plastic pollution is the single largest threat to our oceans. By 2050 there will be more plastic waste than fish in the seas, yet we are determined to be part of the solution to this problem. Having operated in some of the world’s most pristine areas for more than 125 years, we have seen first-hand how pollution, discharge and litter directly affects nature, wildlife and local communities.

Beach cleanups whenever we can

The most important everyday task of our crews and guests is to reduce or stop waste before it goes into the oceans. But sometimes we need to do some first aid as well. Every day, the Hurtigruten Expedition Teams take guests on excursions and hikes to truly spectacular places. On every landing at every destination, we encourage our guests to take part in cleaning up the waste they find. In addition, Hurtigruten Expedition Teams arrange larger beach cleanups in carefully selected spots, resulting in the removal of several metric tonnes of trash every year.

We spread awareness about pollution in every way we can. We also engage in strategic partnerships, work with relevant organisations, and conduct research and real-time monitoring of the oceans. As the largest Expedition Cruise company in the world, and the most important player in both the Arctic and Antarctica, we feel the responsibility to lead by example and move the industry forward.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Avoid plastic packaging. Buy bar soap instead of liquid. Avoid products sheathed in plastic and recycle what you can.
  2. Using a washing bag is the most effective hands-on solution against microplastic pollution from clothes washing.
  3. Don’t litter. Worldwide, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic: cigarette filters, bottles and caps, food wrappers, grocery bags and polystyrene containers.
Beach cleaning at Kap Bruun
Photo: Stefan Dall