“For more than 20 years I’ve been interested in ecotourism – about traveling slow with local transportation, getting to know people, customs, languages and places and to support local economy. In 2018 I suddenly realized how bad the travel industry is for the climate, and what problems tourism can cause for the locals if not managed properly. Tourism was my life – both as a professional and as a traveler myself and now suddenly I started questioning everything and thought about quitting. But if I did – I would not be able to change anything. So I came back to continue working with travels – but this time my mission is to make it as sustainable as possible – for the sake of our destination and for the climate.
Please join me on this journey!“
/Linda Staaf, Woods & Water of Sweden
What we are doing today:
- We introduce people to a healthy and sustainable outdoor life
- We educate about nature and wildlife and their importance
- We contribute to maintaining our cultural heritage
- We involve both staff and partners in sustainability
- We arrange workshops for local companies about sustainable tourism
- We educate students about sustainable tourism and travels.
- We work closely to local and regional DMO’s and take part in the development.
- We invite the public and the industry to workshops about tourism within our destination
- If asked by journalists and travel writers about visiting us we ask them not to write about us during high-season.
- In 2020 we started a national initiative called Let’s Meet & Talk with the ambition to start more dialogues about sustainable tourism and outdoor life
- We don’t do any marketing overseas and we do not work with buyers and retailers overseas.
- We’re not doing pick-ups from airports, we want our customers to arrive by train or car.
- We use local guides
- We inform about the Right to roam and other codes of conduct.
- 10% of our yearly profit is donated to local NGO’s (5%) and reforestation (5%).
- We recycle and reuse and show our foreign guests how it can be done while staying at the hotels.
- We buy clothes and equipment from Scandinavian companies working with sustainability
- We don’t geo-tag specific spots – we’ll show you these IRL instead…
- Zero-waste?* Is that even possible? Don’t think so, but – we do not have any waste during our tours – everything is recycled. No single-use plastics, of course.
- Only small groups – to not disturb wildlife or other people and we choose paths where we’re not disturbing.
- Calculate our carbon footprint – per activity and in total
- Marketing the off-season with better prices and/or unique products.
What we’re going to do next:
- Only work with partners that reach at least 75% of GSTC criteria.
- We buy brand new clothes for our guides and new equipment when needed, we can do a lot more when it comes to buying stuff like office equipment, spare parts and other stuff. The re-use and repair is something we will focus on during 2021-2022.
Our biggest challenges – what we wished we did – but don’t do – yet.
- Carbon neutral transportation.
This one is a huge, huge problem. We work within a region with a really bad network of local transportation – either we walk or hike the 50km to and from the woods – or we go by car. This is by far the biggest carbon footprint we make – approx 0,735 tons of CO2 each year – which is 1/3 of a persons budget according to the CO2-budget in the Paris Agreement.
We’ve looked at projects to find ways for carbon free transportation in our destination.
Next time we buy a car it will be one with renewable fuel.
- So far the bikes we’ve bought for our rental station has been brand new. This has been done for efficiency regarding maintainance, spare parts, as well as making it easy for us and the guests to communicate about the bikes and how they all work. We’ve been thinking a lot about this, would it be better to buy only second-hand bikes? But our conclusion has so far been, no. We use the bikes for years, as long as we can maintain them properly to suit our needs.
Also, by allowing others to rent our bikes instead of buying och bringing their own we can still spare the worlds some extra carbon emissions… But dunno, it doesn’t feel completely OK, want to change something here…
What we’ll never ever do
- Defend our actions without first thinking about if we can change our actions.
- Continue as though someone else is to blame for the problem to climate change – we’ll continue to act.
- Compensate for our carbon emissions and be happy about it – we don’t believe compensating by paying money is the key – but to act is. Sure, compensate for what can not be reduced at the moment – but we don’t brag about it and we don’t use it as a marketing tool or to feel better about the emissions we’ve made.
- Arrange a tour with flights included – we only use trains and buses and cars for shorter distances.
Want to know more about our sustainability work? Or do you have any tips on how we can improve – please contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org