Socially and environmentally friendly travel and sustainable tourism are at the forefront of the 50 Degrees North philosophy. Our sustainable focus is perfectly matched with the region in which we operate. The area north of the 50th parallel comprises some of the last true wildernesses on earth. We like to call it the last frontier where in some areas the development of sustainable tourism infrastructure is still in its experimental stage. Our aim is to ensure that this development takes a sustainable path.
To create and maintain sustainable business practices that not only provide economic benefits for the local population in destination, but also respect and protect nature, cultural heritage, and local values, with the aim of preserving all of these for future generations.
Our 6 basic principles for Responsible Travel:
Spread wealth by promoting less visited destinations and local places, as well as promoting travel in low season (i.e. as an antidote to overtourism)
Support local people and their businesses to ensure socio-economic benefit and sustainability for local communities (i.e. rather than multinational corporations)
Prefer partnerships with operators who adhere to strict environmental, quality and safety standards set by recognised national certification schemes (where available)
Promote low emission transport options, e.g. the use of trains and other public transport, electric vehicles, and ships with a strong emission reduction strategy
Respect the limitations of the destinations by minimising our impact on local nature, wildlife and culture
Actively contribute to the preservation of local nature, wildlife, cultures and landscapes
We recognise the work done by the Arctic Council, which eight members states are Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, USA, Sweden and Finland. “The Arctic Council was formally established by way of the Ottawa Declaration of 1996 as a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. Read more
As Mark Twain famously wrote, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." We agree that meaningful, authentic travel is a fundamentally eye-opening experience that advances understanding and tolerance of other cultures.
However, when flying long distances to what will hopefully be a once-in-lifetime kind of extraordinary holiday (our specialty), we recommend researching and considering which airlines are the most fuel efficient prior to booking your flights. See for example the Atmosfair Airline Index 2017 for more details.
We also recommend compensating for travel related carbon emissions by making environmental donations (“carbon offsets”) to reputable, usually not-for-profit organisations. Below are some suggestions:
Australia & NZ: Greenfleet
Furthermore, we also recommend public transport or independent drives over flying while in the destination. You get a much deeper understanding of the landscape of a country through the window of a train / ferry / car than you do by flying over it.
50 Degrees North promotes partnerships with local businesses in the destinations we travel rather using international chain hotels or companies. This also means that the people you meet on the ground are locals who know their area better than anyone and can take you deep under the skin of their home country or region. A good example of this is our Beautiful Norway tour, which is motivated by our desire to distribute wealth and employment opportunities more evenly by introducing travellers to areas, hotels, and service providers outside of the traditional and extremely busy routes. And the good news is that the experience is all the more wonderful and authentic for it.
We also aim to source local products and services as part of our daily office procedures. We use local printers and buy locally. We have a ban on single use coffee cups in our Melbourne office with a 50DN Keep Cup fund.