Eskimos is incorporating sustainable and responsible business practices as well as promoting conscious and sustainable travel.

We've compiled a Q&A regarding our efforts, accomplishments, and sustainability initiatives, as well as how we can embrace tourism to the fullest extent possible while also considering the planet's future. Eskimos prides itself on cherishing Iceland as a travel destination, including its ecosystems, local natural resources, and cultural assets. We embrace and recognize Iceland´s identity as a travel destination and will gladly share our local knowledge and uniqueness. Eskimos aims to mitigate its impact, both on the climate and local communities and ecosystems. We hope that our involvement will set an example and serve as an inspiration for more environmentally friendly travel practices in Iceland.

How does Eskimo feel about the affect tourism has on our planet?

Eskimos views tourism as an opportunity to provide our visitors with unforgettable experiences in our unique setting.

This entails creating a connection between the guest and allowing them to fully experience Iceland and fostering a bond to what Iceland is all about.

Climate change has an impact on all of us. We believe that a shift in the way we travel is necessary and we want to bring about this transformation together with our guests and clients. We are approaching our business from a broad perspective and look at our company holistically. We are striving to enhance the services we offer and improve the environmental and social impact of our business operations as well as the overall impact of our guests’ stay. 

Eskimos is committed to promoting and operating according to sustainable travel principles.

Eskimos is committed to accepting accountability for the effects that travel has on our communities and the environment and is committed to move towards more social as well as environmental sustainability. Eskimos is striving to reduce its carbon footprint and improve sustainability across the board in accordance with the Icelandic government's commitment to the Paris Agreement (International Treaty on Climate Change). Eskimos has calculated basic CO2 emissions for the year 2022 to serve as a benchmark towards future improvements. These comprised Scope 3 emissions across the value chain which comprise indirect and hard to control emissions such as staff commutes, domestic and international business trips, landfilled and composted waste, and the fuel used in office cars. The calculations also included Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, which are the direct and indirect emissions we caused by operating our business. In the future, Eskimos aims to incorporate further aspects from Scope 3.

What are the main issues Iceland is currently facing as a result of climate change?

The main issues affecting Iceland currently are all regarding its fragile ecosystems. Scientists estimate that almost all of Iceland's glaciers might completely vanish over the course of the next 100 to 200 years as they are retreating. Climate change also leads to hazards for small coastal villages in the East- and Westfjords. More frequent and intense rainfall, and the melting of permafrost in the steep mountains around the fjords, lead to an increased risk of landslides like the one we saw in Seyðisfjörður in 2020.

The Langjökull glacier receded 150 meters between 2020 and 2024.

In comparison to the south of the globe, ocean acidification is occurring more quickly in the waters surrounding Iceland. The rate at which ocean acidification is occurring now is more than ten times faster than it has been in the previous 55 million years. Due to the fact that fish for export and consumption reproduce on these coral reefs, it is seriously harming the southern coral reefs and will have a severe effect on Iceland's economy.

What are Eskimos reactions?

In line with our vision and commitment to sustainable travel, these are the main actions we have already completed or are in the process of final implementation of the following steps.

Environmental sustainability:

  • Our goal is to have 25% of our car fleet covered with electric vehicles and will increase that percentage once the technology and infrastructure.
  • To reduce our CO2 emissions from employee commuting, we are offering management and employees an environmental transport to work contract and support the use of home office.
  • Whenever possible, we prioritise meeting options online
  • We are recycling and composting into eight categories and managed to recycle approximately 20% more than in 2022.
  • Eskimos places an emphasis on replacing single-use items with multi-use ones. We no longer use plastic single-use water bottles on our tours and encourage clients to use refillable bottles instead and drink Iceland´s pristine water, which is readily available around the nation.
  • We reduced food waste and eliminated unnecessary plastic-wrapped snacks by introducing a bulk snack section where snacks can be packed into cardboard boxes freshly each day and according to individual tastes.
  • Even in a country, where 90% of its energy and water comes from renewable sources, we raise awareness about the need to save water and energy.
  • We communicate with our suppliers about our sustainability goals and encourage them to work on theirs as well.
  • We prioritize working with suppliers that share similar sustainability standards.
  • We do our best to avoid empty legs when planning tours and prioritize guides staying in the same hotels as guests in order to avoid additional driving.

Social sustainability:

  • Eskimos prides itself on offering a flexible and inclusive work environment to help staff retain a balance between work and family commitments as well as leisure time.
  • Eskimos makes travel to Iceland inclusive for everyone; any age, inclusive of any gender, sexuality and tailored to physical ability, cultural, or religious needs. We really want all our guests to feel welcome and fully enjoy Iceland. For example, Eskimos can organise culturally and religiously adequate diets, car seats for children of all ages, various walking helps (walking sticks or rollators), and if we don't have something in storage we'll be happy to organise it.
  • Eskimos is currently collecting ideas on local projects to endorse, of both social and environmental nature.
  • We take the time to thoroughly investigate and compile data on current sustainability challenges and share them with our office staff in inspiring posts.

Does Eskimos work with sustainable suppliers?

We are happy to assist you in selecting the best option from our list of the most sustainable options in Iceland.

We are always working with the best suppliers available in the specific location we are working in. We are informing our suppliers about our dedication to sustainability as well as our quality requirements. Many of our suppliers are achieving high standards in the field of sustainable tourism and we are always choosing the ones who do best when it is possible.

Does Eskimos offer sustainable travel?

Eskimos offers a number of tours that can be taken in a more environmentally conscious manner. Making travel more sustainable can include driving an electric vehicle, booking accommodations and restaurants with high sustainability standards and values, extending your stay in one particular area instead of moving around frequently, and choosing low-impact activities like biking, hiking, horseback riding, electric boat whale watching, etc. We would be pleased to recommend a customized package to you. We are gradually working on making all tour types more sustainable.

How can I travel in a more sustainable way?

For further benefits, check out our list below for ideas on how to combine sustainable travel practices with your holiday and make the most of your time in Iceland.

Slow down, observe, ask questions, and enjoy!
  • Use approved carbon sequestration initiatives in Iceland to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from your journey. Here are some suggestions: Kolviður for individuals and one-time users, Carbfix via Climeworks and Running Tide as prescription models.
  • Make the most of your trip by staying longer and focusing on a single area
  • Choose our electric vehicles for transportation, and for short trips, opt for walking or using one of the numerous electric scooters available in Reykjavík's downtown or in other villages around the country.
  • Pack lightly and think about renting warm clothing locally, especially if you are traveling from a destination with a hot climate.
  • Take part in cultural events and activities that foster connections between you and the people and places you are visiting.
  • Choose low-impact activities like hiking, horseback riding, biking, zip lining, etc.
  • Select locally produced food and treats.
  • Buy souvenirs from local shops and support local designers and craftspeople.
  • Opt for fresh tap water instead of plastic bottles.
  • Select a few vegetarian or vegan meals while visiting.
  • Whales and puffins are best enjoyed in their natural habitat, not on a plate.
  • Do not drive off-road.
  • Take photos and sketches of natural artifacts rather than bringing them with you

How can I, as a travel agent, lower my impact when working with Eskimos?

We have compiled a short list of how we can work together in making travel more sustainable.

Every effort counts!
  • Consider low impact activities for your clients such as hiking, horse riding, rafting, kayaking, bike or food tours, or visits to one of our many spas.
  • Recommend local food and local produce to the guests.
  • Recommend to use reusable bottles and mugs when traveling.
  • Choose the most environmentally friendly options from our list of hotels and restaurants. Our Travel Advisors will gladly help you.
  • Opt to conduct the tour in an electric vehicle.
  • Encourage guests to stay in fewer areas but enjoy them to the fullest and to avoid domestic flights.
  • Advocate for packing lightly and rent equipment like clothing locally in destination.
  • Avoid empty legs during tours and plan with one vehicle category, so the same guide can stay with the guests throughout.

Q&A with Tamara Kocan, our Project Manager for Sustainability.

What do I do personally to be more sustainable?

I don‘t drive and in a country where the car is king, its a challenge, especially in winter. But walking to the bus, through snow and storms can be very refreshing and soothing after a days work. My family and I embrace a minimal lifestyle. For example we use what we have as long as possible and almost only buy second-hand clothes and toys for the kids and ourselves. We consciously decided to live in an apartment near public transport and services so that everything we need is accessible by foot in 15 minutes. I almost only drink tap water (and coffee and wine!). 

Why is living consciously important for me?

For me, its about leaving a place better than it was when I arrived. It is about having deep respect for the planet we are part of and being able to live on it in a way that makes it thrive.

When traveling, I love to take it slow, discover one particular region at a time and see what is on offer there.

If you have any questions about any of the actions Eskimos is taking or want to have a chat about our efforts, feel free to send Tamara a message at tamara (AT) eskimos.is. 

 

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