Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty, with dramatic waterfalls, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, and spectacular glaciers. Preserving this landscape, its communities, and their way of life is essential for locals and visitors alike.
Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone's responsibility. Enjoying nature and the outdoors is considered a national pastime, and this is reflected in our attitude towards the preservation and use of the wilderness.
In practical terms, this means that even though large parts of mainland Norway consists of national parks and other protected areas, Norway's right of access makes sure you can enjoy nature more or less as you wish – even in these sensitive and vulnerable regions.
Originally an age-old tradition based on sustainable principles, long before anybody had ever heard the term, this has since been set down in law. Even today, it is still based on a long-term respect for nature and wilderness that is prevalent in Norway.
Today, knowledge of ecology and nature is much greater than it once was, but so is the wear and tear on both the landscape and the people. In order to protect both nature and community, landscape and businesses, we try to take the long view: What we enjoy experiencing today will be even more enjoyable to future generations, and it’s our job to make sure it’s still there when their turn comes.
The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International year of Sustainable Tourism and Development. The aim is to raise awareness of the contribution sustainable tourism makes on decision makers and the public, and also to mobilize all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change. Read more about the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Many places follow sustainable principles, but being certified as a sustainable destination is an honour few qualify for. It takes years of work demonstrating their lasting commitment to providing the best possible experiences for their guests, while keeping the negative impact of tourism to a minimum. In addition, the destination must work to continually improve its business practices and relations with the local community, following principles of sustainability.
Becoming a sustainable destination takes years of work, with the whole local community working together. These are the next in line, and are expected to be certified in the year to come:
“The tussock”/Green Travel is a common navigation to all qualified environmental schemes used among tourism enterprises in Norway. The symbol helps you find environmentally certified activities and accommodations when planning your trip to Norway. Every time you see a tuft of grass on Visitnorway's pages, you know that the associated products and offers are a part of the scheme. This makes it easier for you to go green.
These certifications fall under Green Travel: Ecotourism Norway, The ecolabel Nordic Swan, Eco-Lighthouse, The Green Key, ISO 14001 and Blue Flag. Individually and collectively they guarantee that the labelled experiences follow strict rules and guidelines for the production and management of waste, energy, transport, use of chemicals and demands for subcontractors. These measures go beyond what the Norwegian law requires.
Make sure your holiday has the smallest footprint possible by looking for these labels and logos.
This national certification is awarded to businesses and operators that hold a high international level in ecotourism. Over 100 strict criteria on environmental performance, host-role, local community integration and purchasing must be met and often improved. The certificate is renewed every three years.
More than 5000 products in Norway are certified with Nordic Swan, which indicates that they satisfy strict demands within energy efficiency, materials, and chemicals, all the way from raw materials to end product and waste management.
The Eco-Lighthouse certification places demands on energy use, waste disposal, transportation, procurement and work environment. Over 5000 businesses in Norway are certified with this, which must be renewed every three years.
Global ecolabel, recognized by GSTC, for hotels, small accommodations, campsites and attractions. Certified businesses must meet strict criteria within waste, energy, water, procurement, green areas, CSR and staff involvement. High standards are maintained through annual certificate renewal, rigorous application process, documentation and frequent audits.
ISO 14001 is given to enterprises that have a high-quality environmental managing system for organizational performance.
Global, prestigious award based on a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access related criteria to be met and maintained, aimed at beaches and marinas. More than 4100 sites in 49 countries are awarded with the Blue Flag.
To find sustainable products, click on "Filter your search" below and select "Green Travel - Eco-certified providers".