Beyond Green - Our Commitment to Responsible Tourism
Magnetic North Travel believes that holidays have the power to transform people through developing knowledge and experience of nature. Our policy is therefore based on this simple idea whereby we take responsibility for the company’s impact while creating the opportunities for our customers to experience natural settings through local people and traditions. The aim is to help people develop a deepened respect for nature and their place on the planet which extends beyond their time away. This is often done in a subtle way, where we create experiences that are first and foremost enjoyable for our customers.
In each of our destinations, local people represent Magnetic North as guides and leaders. They will each have different skills – we work with outdoor leaders (e.g. kayakers, walkers, cross country skiers) and craftspeople (e.g. felt makers, foragers, fishermen). They are employed directly by us and therefore receive a fair payment as a result. We also support independent accommodation providers as much as possible, often owned by families. Similarly they work with suppliers of food and other provisions that are local to them and provide wonderful flavours of the region for our guests. Altogether this helps to create economic prosperity within our destination communities and Magnetic North Travel will continue to support this.
At Magnetic North Travel, our philosophy is based on the Norwegian idea of 'Friluftsliv'. Translated literally as 'Free air living', it inspires people to value their outdoor life through learning from traditions and seeking enjoyment in nature. It’s a simple but powerful philosophy that originates in the Magnetic North, and Norway in particular. It’s helped generations of families to explore their surroundings and to breath and live with nature – together. Our landscapes are home to communities – some have come and gone – but they all provide endless tales that capture the imaginations of our guests, young and old alike. We weave these stories into our holidays and use traditional ways to explore nature – at nature’s pace.
Like many philosophies and ways of thinking, friluftsliv takes on different meanings to different people. And we at Magnetic North Travel aim to be as faithful as we can to its original significance. There are many friluftsliv elements that come together within our tours. The many regions of the Magnetic North also add their own local flavours, characters and settings.
Our holidays are based on a deep synthesis between nature and people. We immerse our guests in awe-inspiring environments with the cultural guidance of local people. They lead our guests in learning about how their traditions from the past and present sustain them into the future.
We want our guests to see, experience, feel and change through visiting our Magnetic North. We don’t prescribe exactly how this’ll happen. But what we do insist is that our place in nature is one of respect and learning. We give our guests space to re-assess what’s important to them and perhaps return home thinking or feeling more positively about their place on the planet. This is as much their story as ours, after all.
We pick our suppliers and activities carefully to ensure that our holidays retain a high standard of environmental responsibility. We never use motorised transport in fragile ecosystems and offer activities such as walking, snow-shoeing and cross country skiing rather than 4x4 and skidoo trips, for instance. Our guides are all trained to understand the outdoors and how to respect areas of outstanding natural beauty. They follow the local guidelines on using public space and ensure that their groups leave absolutely no trace.
Energy and water consumption is an important factor when choosing accommodation providers. We ensure that hotels, cabins and guesthouses operate a rigorous environmental policy with regard to energy and water consumption. We support providers which use renewable forms of energy such as wind and sustainably harvested bio-fuel. We communicate these efforts to our guests wherever we can and advise on how they too can make a difference. With each booking, we offer guidance on the destination and how best to reduce their environmental impact such as offering suggestions on how to reduce water consumption and how to protect local wildlife. We also offer guidance on how to support local communities by visiting locally owned businesses.
We help people to choose the best journey to their destination. This gives us flexibility to research travel by land and sea and offer a lower carbon journey. Our groups are all small in size of between 2 and 12 people. We think that travelling in small numbers helps to create a better experience for our guests and to minimise their impact on communities and the environment.
Our aim is to ensure that our company operates in an environmentally sound way. Magnetic North Travel is based in the Sir Colin Campbell Building (pictured right) on the University of Nottingham's Innovation Park (UNIP). Set on a 12 acre site next to the Jubilee campus, the Innovation Park opened in 2008 with the aim to encourage innovation by providing the bridge between the corporate and academic worlds. It’s also one of the greenest buildings around which is why we chose to be based here.
Here are some of the building’s green credentials:
• Artificial heating and cooling is provided by a closed loop system which extracts embodied energy from the nearby lake. Heat exchangers submerged in the lake reject or absorb the embodied energy stored within the water; this energy is then routed to a series of reversible heat pumps which provide heating and cooling to air handling units within the building, thereby replacing the need for conventional gas-fired boilers and air-cooled chillers. Run-off water is collected and fed back into the lake.
• Exposed concrete columns and slab soffits provide the thermal mass to regulate internal temperatures and aid night-time cooling and air quality is maintained via a sophisticated displacement system which is quieter and more energy efficient than conventional systems. Pressurised floor plenums deliver fresh air, cooled or heated as required, to interior spaces; stale, warm air is then extracted via grilles located above doorways and ducted back to air handling units for heat recovery.
• Within the triple height reception space, additional ventilation is provided by four bespoke roof-mounted ‘wind catchers’. These top down ventilation systems draw fresh air down into the building using a series of external louvres; an array of motorised dampers allow return air to be passed to the air handling units for heat recovery during the winter, or vent the air directly into the atmosphere during peak cooling periods.
• In addition to ventilating the space, the wind catcher elements incorporate centrally-mounted sun pipes. These highly reflective tubes draw natural light into the interior without adding to solar gain, and reduce the amount of artificial lighting required.
• There are recycling facilities throughout the building and all paper is used minimally.
Landscapes and people aren’t just the backdrop to our trips, but are integral to the experience. We encourage guests to connect to the landscapes they travel within and to learn stories of how people – past and present - lived and survived there. Our guides promote ‘landfull’ experiences which encourage engagement with the physical and cultural properties of the land.
Our holidays aim to help people return home with fresh perspectives on nature. Each of our holidays provides a unique insight into the destinations and we believe that it’s important to draw distinctions between them so as to preserve traditions and ways of life – in particular ones which have always respected nature. Wherever possible, we integrate experiences that will provide guests with further cultural insight, by, for example, visiting local events, festivals and families. We also offer opportunities to learn traditional skills such as bread baking, felt making, and wild food foraging. We advise guests on any cultural norms or traditions that need to be respected.