When one thinks of the landscape in Scandinavian country Norway, it is almost certain that the stunning fjords, carved through steep banks of rock along the Norwegian coast, will immediately spring to mind.
Not only are the fjords beautiful structures of natural engineering, however, but they are also some of the most ecologically responsible tourist destinations in Europe, if not the world. Norway has made a significant effort to ensure that people can enjoy the nation’s landscape in a sustainable manner, which has led to the practice of eco-business certification.
This means that visitors to the nation are able to appreciate the delights that the fjords have to offer, whether active sports, walking tours or simply wistfully taking in the scenery, whilst also being discerning about the ecological impact of the companies that they choose to use.
The mostly widely used scheme for ecological certification in Norway is Eco-Lighthouse, which judges businesses based on a variety of stringent category that are tailored to the specific needs of diverse sectors of the nation’s economy.
Business wanting to gain certification most undergo a rigorous process that lasts between three and six months, during which time it is established whether the business meets a variety of ecological criteria that are set by Eco-Lighthouse.
This process covers businesses throughout Norway, which helps to make it one of the greenest nations in Europe, but it’s at the fjords where this intersects with the tourism industry.
Companies providing tours of locations including Sandefjord and Sognefjord are certified by the scheme, meaning that they ensure tourists are able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and astonishing landscapes without fear of damage to the environment.
For tourism companies, gaining the seal of approval from Eco-Lighthouse requires a daily commitment to minimising the environmental impact of their activities, with a three-year renewal period ensuring that there is no complacency amongst enterprises that have already been designated as ‘Eco-Lighthouses’.
Whilst the main function of the Eco-Lighthouse scheme is to ensure the environmental sustainability of industry in Norway, it can also act as a networking device that offers real benefits to businesses that earn certification. Bringing together a variety of ecologically sound enterprises from different sectors has allowed eco-industry in Norway to flourish thanks to a culture of cooperation and maintaining extremely high standards across the board.
Photos: [all via Bigstockphoto.com].