Nuuk, Greenland Closes in on Being the First Certified Sustainable Capital in the World

20 November 2020

Authentic cultural, social, and environmental experiences are in demand. Tourists from all over the world are seeking out responsible adventures through meetings with new cultures and dazzling nature. Many sustainable destinations around the world have begun treasuring their distinctive traits and possibilities. Nuuk is no different.

Bronze Benchmarking
Recently Nuuk achieved a Bronze Benchmarking, which means that the city has completed the first three steps of a six-step process towards becoming a sustainable destination.

But what makes a destination sustainable? The city has allocated resources and committed itself to working towards a set of sustainability goals. It has also delivered the first set of environmental data, which will serve as a comparative backdrop in yearly audits of the city’s continuous performance. Out of 20 indicators on sustainability, Nuuk has work ahead of it on 4 indicators; including greenhouse gas emissions. On the other end of the spectrum, Nuuk performs excellent on 16 indicators; all of which scores above best practices. Nuuk’s next step is a risk assessment and a multi-year action plan for continuous improvement.

A Sustainable Destination
Nuuk might be the first capital in the world to reach the status of sustainable destination under the EarthCheck Destination Standard. Situated in the Arctic, the Greenlandic capital offers stunning nature experiences and a buzzing culture.

“We want to be the first capital in the world with a sustainability certificate – and we want to attract those who share our vision for a sustainable future”, said Charlotte Ludvigsen, Mayor of the Municipality of Sermersooq.

The EarthCheck program
The municipality of Sermersooq, which Nuuk lies within, has partnered with EarthCheck in its Sustainable Destinations program. This program's goal is to facilitate the development and management of responsible and sustainable tourism for communities. The program provides communities with a framework to benchmark and certify their environmental and social performance and continuously improve their performance.

Visit Greenland is happy to see its capital Nuuk rise up to this opportunity and challenge to become a sustainable tourism destination. "Tourists are becoming more socially aware of their responsibility to the environment and the local communities they visit when they travel. We are proud that our nation's capital is stepping up to this big challenge to become the first certified sustainable capital in the world", says Julia Pars, Managing Director of Visit Greenland.

Environmental issues addressed
“In order to maintain an authentic experience for our future visitors, we are very focused on preserving our community and the environment around it. We want tourism to be an active part in preserving the planet and our community. Sustainability is the way forward”, said Salik Hard, senior project manager.

Nuuk is making commitments to becoming a sustainable tourism destination and addressing key environmental issues facing the planet, including greenhouse gas emissions, environmental regeneration and environmental improvement as well as the conservation of existing heritage assets. The program is designed to empower the local community and help them take ownership of sustainability goals and build on their own local initiatives.

“The EarthCheck Benchmarking Performance Report provides a solid starting place. It not only demonstrates that we are seriously committed to tackling this challenge but information will be visible to both current and potential business partners as well as the growing number of tourists, for whom sustainability is a key issue”, said Mayor Ludvigsen.

“At EarthCheck we are committed to help businesses, communities and governments deliver results that are both good for the planet and good for businesses. We are very impressed with how the Municipality of Sermersooq have remained committed to delivering sustainable results despite being in the midst of a global pandemic. We hope to see others follow suit,” said André Russ, Vice President of Sales, EarthCheck.

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