Cristina Anderson’s two week trip included both itineraries back to back. Here she talks about her amazing experience and shares her thoughts on what each itinerary has to offer
Quark Expeditions’ first annual Sustainability Report, a key deliverable in our Polar Promise strategy, reflects our ongoing commitment to responsible travel in the polar regions,” says Lyndsey Lewis, Operations and Sustainability Manager for Quark Expeditions. “This comprehensive report establishes a baseline—and culture —of accountability in the Arctic and Antarctic. Last April, we unveiled our sustainability strategy under the title ‘Polar Promise,’ which is the most comprehensive and holistic strategy of its kind in the polar expedition industry. As part of this effort, we shared specific, concrete goals which we intend to meet by 2025. This report, in full transparency to our passengers and partners, marks how we’ve been tracking with respect to those goals and clearly outlines our commitment moving forward.”
Quark Expeditions, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, has been on the forefront of sustainability and environmental protection in the polar regions since its inaugural North Pole expedition in 1991. “Sustainability has always part of our DNA,” says Lewis. “We were one of the founding members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), and we’ve been active in the environmental conservation efforts of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) since 2007. This first annual Sustainability Report cements our ongoing role in safeguarding the pristine polar regions for generations to come.”
Quark Expeditions’ sustainability achievements include:
As a long-time supporter of polar research and conservation, including the efforts of organizations such as Polar Bears International, Quark Expeditions enables scientists to access remote locations in both the Arctic and Antarctic and donates the proceeds from our onboard auctions to science and conservation organizations. Quark Expeditions’ onboard charity auctions have raised $686,729 for the citizen science group Penguin Watch since 2012. Since 2014, Quark Expeditions’ onboard auctions have raised $169,924 for the South Georgia Heritage Trust and Friends of South Georgia to support the Habitat Restoration project, whose goal was to restore the sub-Antarctic island to its original status as one of the world’s most important seabird sites. Funds were used for baiting during the eradication phase and to support rodent-detecting dogs for the current monitoring and maintenance phase. In 2017, Quark Expeditions eliminated single use plastics. In 2019, the Quark Expeditions team eliminated 14,000 Individual yogurt containers and 320,000 single use plastic bottles. In 2018-19, Quark Expeditions diverted 103.11 cubic meters of glass, 60.11 cubic meters of plastic and 106.82 cubic meters of cardboard. Historical analysis confirms that Quark Expeditions’ has decreased emissions from its fleet by 28% since 2010. Quark Expeditions’ Polar Promise is based on four main pillars which have been implemented across all sectors of the company:
Planet: Quark Expeditions plans to reduce its footprint and build resilience through best practices and advanced sustainability technologies. Partnerships: To lead change through community engagement, Quark Expeditions will continue supporting scientific conservation and sustainable development in polar communities. Principles: The company will implement sustainable practices throughout the business—in the polar wilderness and in their offices. Positive Impact: Quark Expeditions will continue to demonstrate that the positive benefits of polar exploration will increase awareness of these integral areas and have a positive impact for future generations. “These pillars define our measurable goals,” says Lewis. “For instance, given these robust plans, Quark Expeditions will reduce carbon emissions by roughly 10% per passenger by 2025, by which time we also plan to work exclusively with suppliers, vendors and external partners who share our commitment to sustainability in the polar regions, while continuing to lead change through community engagement, and supporting scientific conservation and sustainable development in polar communities.”
Quark Expeditions will also continue to grow its recently-launched Polar Ambassador Program, which involves the education of polar visitors who, upon returning home, apply their commitment to sustainability and stewardship of the planet wherever they live in the world.
Quark Expeditions’ commitment to sustainability was the driving force in the design and conception of the company’s new ship, the technologically-advanced Ultramarine, which will be launching in 2021. Ultramarine’s advanced sustainability features include: the Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS), which converts waste into energy; four diesel engines to meet fluctuating power needs; a heat recovery system; eco-friendly lighting; and a re-imagined hull and propeller design that ensures the lowest possible resistance (which translates into energy savings).