In November 2022 we have received Travelife Partner award as a recognition of our commitment towards social and environmental sustainability. To receive Travelife Partner level a company has to comply with more than 100 criteria, related to office management, product range, international business partners and customer information.
Travelife is a certification system, dedicated to achieving sustainable practices within the tourism industry. It provides companies with realistic sustainability goals, tools and solutions to implement positive change within their businesses and supply chains.
Read more about Travelife here.
We offer tourists a range of products in harmony with Finnish nature. We are privileged to live and operate in an area where we can still find pristine, unpolluted nature. The air is amongst the cleanest in the world and there is no plastic pollution in our waters. We continuously work in diminishing our business’s environmental impact. We want to be a responsible employer and partner to our numerous subcontractors and stakeholders. We wish our subcontractors and partners to consider their sustainability and environmental footprint. We also encourage clients to make ecologically friendly choices by providing some tips prior to their arrival.
Our targets 2023-2024
We aim to develop the sustainability of our business eg. with the following means:
- 25 % of diesel that is used for work purposes will be renewable diesel.
- The amount of vegetarian food will be increased so that all groups will have at least two vegetarian lunches and dinners during the week.
- 75 % of tea and coffee will be Fairtrade tea and coffee.
- Occasionally we organise lunch and coffee services for groups outdoors. Disposable dishes won’t be used when there are less than 50 participants at a private event.
We also want to promote the sustainability of of our outgoing tours (kunnonlomat.com). Our goal is to start the process in the Travelife-program by 2024 at the latest.
Out and about
We hike, ski, snowshoe, cycle and canoe avoiding unnecessary noise, without disturbing wildlife and leaving no trace. We are specialists in small group tours, a typical group size being 12-16 passengers.
Clients are given information about local environment and culture, seasons, every-mans-rights etc with a focus on regional characteristics. Several of our groups visit prehistoric rock paintings, in which case it is the guide’s responsibility to make sure that everyone knows not to touch the paintings.
When selecting cross-country ski routes, special attention is paid to the terrain to reduce maintenance costs. We ski on Hossa National Park’s maintained tracks as well as on tracks that are made especially for our groups. In summer, we use only marked hiking trails.
Picnic lunches around open fires are an essential part of our tours. We only use official fire places maintained by Metsähallitus (Finnish forest and park services) to whom we pay a set fee per participant. The guide is responsible for not making the fire any bigger than necessary and taking adequate measures for putting out the fire. Open fires are not permitted during forest fire alerts.
Whilst outdoors in the woods, composting toilets are preferred. If these are not available, we ensure not to contaminate water supplies. Paper is buried deep under the soil and when the ground is frozen, it can be burnt.
Huskies and reindeer
We buy the vast majority of the husky safaris and reindeer farm visits from our partners who have a Green Activities certificate as proof of responsible operations.
We practice catch and release, unless the fish will be prepared as food.
Our programmes never include motorised activities, e.g. snowmobiles or quad bikes.
Some groups have the option of booking snowmobile safaris for an additional fee. We primarily recommend short safaris of a couple of hours instead of longer ones where two people share the sled.
During summer hiking trips our customers can participate in a bear watching and photography excursions for an additional fee, during which it is possible to take photos and watch the animals from a hide. The organisers of the bear-watching trips follow the laws and guidelines and carry out the trips in such a way that their effects on the natural ecosystem are minimized, e.g. the bears are only fed during the filming season.
We sub-contract our accommodations and most of our meals. All our accommodation choices offer locally produced food and food from nature (berries, mushroom, game, fish, etc.). It is not unusual to have freshly baked bread made from local grain. There is limited availability of imported fruit.
Ourselves we are in charge of picnics for ski tours, occasionally some other meals. We only purchase Finnish meat, milk products and bread. Wherever possible, for whatever merchandise, Finnish products are always a primary choice. The amount of food is calculated according to the size of the group, therefore minimising the amount of waste. Excess food is always used for the next group. Any fresh produce likely to perish are given to the staff. Food waste is composted.
Some of our tours include overnights in wilderness cabins. There is no running water, electricity or central heating. Cabins, as well as saunas, are heated with wood burning stoves. The guide is responsible for not burning more wood than is necessary. There is no waste disposal at the cabins so all discarded waste, except biodegradable, is brought back to base to be recycled.
We recommend our fresh tap water for drinking. We advise our clients to bring a reusable drinks bottle which can be refilled daily. Bottled water is not accessible most days. For cooking, only tap water is used.
We encourage everyone to use water sparingly in shower etc. Dishes shouldn’t be washed under the running water. To wilderness huts drinking water is carried in cans and water for washing and dish washing is taken from the lake.
When shopping, the volume of waste is minimized by ‘bulk’ buying. We almost never buy plastic carrier bags. For our picnic lunches, we use reusable plastic dishes and cutlery. We advise our clients to bring an own lunch box instead of using our paper bags for lunch sandwiches. Disposable plates and cups are only used if it is necessary for some reason.
We abide by a strict environmental, “leave no trace” policy. All litter is removed. Only easily biodegradable waste, such as coffee grounds, are composted or disposed of by means of “distributed composting”. Back at base camp the waste is sorted and recycled (plastic, metal, glass, carton, bottles, batteries, medicines, etc.). We advise our clients to sort and dispose all waste correctly.
Landfill waste in our operations is mainly generated from broken and irreparable equipment. Equipment removed from customer use, but still usable (skis, snowshoes, winter boots) is sold at second-hand markets or flea markets. Unusable textiles (e.g. winter overalls) are delivered to textile recycling collection points. Sheets and towels are donated for reuse.
We do not allow the purchase of souvenirs containing threatened flora and fauna species, any illegally obtained historic/archaeological artefacts, drugs or illegal substances, and abide by local and international laws in place to prevent this.
At our small home-office, with two fulltime employees, ecologically sound choices are made throughout daily operations. The office is heated by wood pellets and to save energy the room temperature is adjusted.
We sort all the possible waste, in addition to all things previously mentioned, we recycle all office waste, e.g. inks and bulbs. We use environmentally friendly paper and print only what is necessary, double sided to save paper. All brochures and programmes are online and invoicing is done by email.
Some sheets and towels are washed at our office premises. We use ecolabel detergents and wash only full loads. In the future we only purchase ecolabel cleaning materials.
ECONOMICAL SUSTAINABILITY – sustainable choices
- We are committed to purchasing locally produced products whenever possible.
- We purchase high-quality, long-lasting products that can be repaired.
- We favour local stores instead of online stores. When some items can’t be bought locally, we endeavour to buy in bulk to minimize transportation and packaging costs.
- Ecolabel and sustainably produced products are favoured.
SOCIO-CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY – close co-operation locally
- We employ local guides whenever possible. All guides are trained in our sustainability policy and we require them to implement it in their work.
- All our operations are based on the co-operation of a local partner network. We benefit local economies by using small, mostly family-owned accommodations, restaurants, transportation companies, etc that are operating on the remote countryside.
- If a contracted partner has been found to break laws or ethical norms, this may justify termination of the contract without warning.
ETHIC SUSTAINABILITY – fair and equal
- We are fair and flexible partners and we adhere by our contracts.
- We make sure our partner companies and staff get paid fairly.
- We commit to comply with all local laws and official regulations.
- We are committed to the equal treatment of all people, regardless of nationality, religion, language, sexual orientation or any other personal reasons.
- We do not accept the use of forced labour or child labour, children’s sexual exploitation or any other violations of human rights.
- Most of our tours are activity holidays that are not suitable for people with reduced mobility. On request, we will tailor tours for special needs groups if we have enough professionalism for the specific group.
SAFETY – for client’s and personels benefit
- Safety is a main priority throughout the implementation of a tour.
- For each tour, we prepare a safety plan according to official instructions. Guides must study the plan thoroughly prior to a tour.
- All guides need to have a valid first aid certificate (Level 2)
- We will make sure guides have been briefed in detail for the upcoming work, and that they have all the necessary equipment and gear.
10 sustainability tips for your holidays
All human activities impact on the environment. Tourism is no exception. Take small acts for nature’s sake before and during your holidays and easily reduce your holiday’s impact on the environment. Thank you for your co-operation!
Before you travel
If public transport to the airport is available, consider leaving your car at home. It is usually a far cheaper alternative, e.g. no car parking or fuel. Preferably book a direct flight to Helsinki, where a change is necessary unless you are travelling from a few destinations from where it is possible to book a direct charter flight to Kuusamo. From Helsinki, you can also take a train and/or bus to your destination. We are happy to help find you the best connections. If you want you can offset the emissions of your flight. Most airlines offer that possibility at the time of ticket purchase.
Extra transfers add to your cost and have an impact on the environment.
Pack only what is needed. Extra – just in case – items just weigh you down. Lightening your luggage reduces your carbon footprint as all extra weight adds to your flight’s fuel consumption. However, when travelling in winter, do bring enough warm clothes. Check our gear list for guidance.