Sustainable tourism has become more popular worldwide in the past years, as it is based on fulfilling today’s needs without threatening future possibilities. Reykjavik Whale Watching has decided to take part in a sustainable development with an environmental policy. To develop and implement our policy and to manage our environmental aspects, we use Environmental Management Systems. We are now a member of the EarthCheck and of the Blue Flag.
EarthCheck is an independent company operating its own benchmarking and certification standard which has been built to meet the new reporting and compliance standards demanded of a carbon constrained world. Exclusively owned by EC3 Global, EarthCheck is now trusted by more than 1000 organizations in over 60 countries and used by some of the biggest names in the travel business. EarthCheck reports are verified by an international network of independent auditors and the EarthCheck remains the only program that has more than a decade of industry-specific benchmarking data that lets businesses compare their performance. Read more about EarthCheck on their website: www.earthcheck.org
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized eco-label certificate for Beaches, Marinas and Whale Watching Boats. The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and other services. For further information about the Blue Flag visit their website: www.blueflag.org
Elding Whale Watching is a family-owned company and the leading whale watching operator in Reykjavík, Iceland. Elding is committed to provide high quality tours in a way that minimizes the environmental impact and pollution caused by its activities while allowing visitors to enjoy nature without disturbing its inhabitants.
Special emphasis is put on striving to find less-polluting energy sources to run our operations and minimizing the production of waste and improving recycling.
SMART-H2 Project: This project involved an experiment on board our flagship, Elding, from 2007 to 2010, where the generator was replaced by an Auxiliary Power Unit i.e. a fuel cell and battery unit that runs on hydrogen. The idea was that the Auxiliary Power Unit would provide energy on board for navigation, light and various other modules that run on electricity. The intention was to shut down the main engine when the boat was around whales and be able to hear and experience the animals more intimately than before. A hydrogen filling device was therefore designed on the pier where the Elding is docked between tours. This project was a very important step to test hydrogen technology in marine conditions, which are damp, shaky, wavy and wet. Even though the experiment is now over but has been an inspiration for finding less-polluting energy sources to run our operations and we will do our best to continue these researches in the future.
The SMART-H2 project also involves testing alternative fuels for other vehicles and now one of the company cars has been replaced by a hydrogen-electricity car, Ford Focus FCV . We participate in test driving a car with this fuel combination and hold a record over the pros and cons of this type of car, in order to assist with making Iceland the first country in the world with an oil free car fleet.
- We trade only with companies marked with the Nordic Ecolabel in Printed Matter, regarding the printing of our brochures and tickets. With this we hope to minimize the impact on nature in this field.
- We comply with all relevant environmental, public, and occupational health and safety, hygiene and employment legislation and regulations, as well as the IceWhale guidelines for responsible whale watching.
- Consideration will be given to employing and empowering local staff, but also supporting international co-operation with researchers and providing work opportunities for foreign trainees.
- We give preference to environmentally safe products and services of local origin that do not adversely affect the organization’s operational activities, viability and environmental and social impacts.
- We provide regular environmental and safety training to our staff and encourage them to present our policy to our guests, suppliers and customers. We aspire to educate our visitors about the sea and the guidelines for responsible whale watching.
Elding believes that making optimal use of environmental resources is a key element in tourism development to maintain essential ecological processes and help to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity. Elding’s goal is to operate on sustainability principles, which refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development. A suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
We will continuously seek to improve environmental and socio-cultural performance and the policy will be annually reviewed in accordance with the requirements of the EarthCheck standards.
General Manager / Owner / EarthCheck Co-orderator