Icelandic nature

Perlan’s Approach to Social & Environmental Responsibility

At Perlan, we focus on creating an environment where everyone can enjoy themselves while learning about the beauty and importance of Icelandic nature. We aim to always operate in a way that is kind to the environment, and we are constantly looking at ways to reduce the museum’s carbon emissions and energy consumption.

Perlan – Wonders of Iceland aims to be a bridge between science and society.  We want to give back to the community by educating guests and employees about Icelandic nature, environmental protection, and sustainability. We wish to be a role model that inspires and leads the way to a healthier and fairer planet. Perlan - Wonders of Iceland’s core values are Education, Entertainment, Awareness, Care, and Respect. As a business, we adhere to sustainable practices and consider environmental and socio- cultural factors when making decisions.

As a museum, Perlan has a unique position between the academic world and the general public to help move humanity onto a sustainable path. At Perlan - Wonders of Iceland, guests are encouraged to look into the Icelandic natural wonders’ past, present, and future. We give access to scientists’ thoughts and provide a venue for critical conversations about the environment. Visitors are inspired to recognise themselves as administrators of today’s natural wonders and embrace the reality that the future of these wonders is in their hands. They are urged to act: “What Kind of World We Have in 2030 - is Our Choice and is in Our Hands.”

At Perlan, we put sustainability at the heart of our strategy. We have integrated the Sustainable Development Goals into our environmental and sustainability work.

UN Global Agenda 2030

Nature (Goals #4, #12, #13, #14, #15)

All Perlan - Wonders of Iceland exhibitions are dedicated to showing our guests the beauty and importance of our natural resources. It‘s a learning laboratory where visitors explore Icelandic nature through science and human perception. Visitors learn about Icelandic glaciers and the geological history of Iceland, get introduced to the county’s flora and fauna, and they will get to feel the powerful forces of Icelandic nature. Still, visitors also learn about the negative impact of climate change on our planet and why we all must take action. We keep a piece of the OK-glacier in our Ice Cave to remind visitors that glaciers are melting away. Through an art installation, we raise awareness about plastic pollution and provide our visitors with ideas on how they can help tackle this issue.

Some specific actions we do:

  • We educate our guests on Icelandic nature and environmental protection.
  • We encourage everyone to care about the environment and take action to preserve it.
  • We reuse and repurpose items as much as possible.
  • Recycle (sort out) our waste. 
  • We have reduced the use of paper significantly.
  • Reduced advertising in print media to almost nothing.
  • Stopped printing brochures for the museum.
  • Replaced single-use packaging with eco-friendly disposable packaging.
  • We use QR codes and the Perlan website to give visitors important information.

Community (Goals #4, #9, #11, #13)

Perlan - Wonders of Iceland seeks to impact the local and global communities positively. We do our best to create partnerships with different entities to promote the sustainability and well-being of nature and people. We invite groups of school kids throughout the year and have a strong relationship with the University of Iceland. We support local events and forest clean-ups.

It is important to us that everyone can learn about the natural wonders and the importance of preserving them. Therefore, Perlan has collaborated with numerous organizations, including Seeds, The Directorate of Immigration, Kraftur, and Help Ukraine.

Other things we do:

  • We host and participate in special events related to the environment, e.g., #storiplokkdagurinn.
  • We host educational events for our employees and the local community.
  • We support social organizations, ICE-SAR rescue teams, and local schools with gift certificates and grants.

Employment (Goals #3, #4, #5, #8, #10)

We rely on a great international team of employees. We always respect their rights and strive to create a healthy and pleasant workplace. We provide:

  • Safety and emergency first response training.
  • Environmental protection and sustainable tourism knowledge.
  • Grants for Icelandic lessons.
  • Grants for courses that can benefit our employees’ work.
  • We pay for meetings at the Icelandic Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders if needed.
  • Healthy food options in the staff kitchen.
  • Our occupational health and safety guidelines address bullying, harassment, and violence.
  • We ensure psychosocial security through routine interviews and effective communication.
  • We encourage continued professional growth by ensuring that junior staff develops the experience, skills, and knowledge required to progress to management roles.

A free flow of ideas is essential to what we do. Perlan has worked with artists and partners across the globe, providing a platform for cross-cultural dialogue, mutual understanding, and respect.

Gender Equality (Goals #5, #10)

Everyone should have equal opportunities to develop their talents, regardless of gender identity.

  • We work towards equal opportunities for all genders.
  • We pay equal wages for the same role for all genders.
  • We encourage all genders to apply for jobs at Perlan.
  • We enable everyone, regardless of gender, to balance family and professional life.

Food Waste (Goal #12)

Food waste is a significant issue that has become increasingly prevalent in modern society. Nearly one-third of all food produced worldwide is estimated to go to waste. This waste has substantial effects on the environment, the economy, and food security around the world.

Some of the things we do:

  • We work towards equal opportunities for all genders.
  • We pay equal wages for the same role for all genders.
  • We encourage guests to take the leftovers home in our eco-friendly packaging.
  • Measuring all food waste in Perlan is a long-term project that is being incorporated into the business's operations.
  • We recycle used cooking oil and grease.
  • We put unsold items in the staff kitchen for our employees to enjoy.

Electricity (Goal #7)

Iceland generates almost 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly geothermal and hydropower. This achievement aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Additionally, Iceland's use of renewable energy helps to meet the SDG 13 target of combating climate change.

What we are doing:

  • We are installing charging stations for our guests in collaboration with On Power and Reykjavík City.
  • Switching to LED lights is a long-term project that has already started.

Water (Goal #6)

Iceland's tap water is considered some of the cleanest in the world and is available to all residents and visitors without any charge. The country's water supply is sourced from glaciers and underground springs and undergoes minimal treatment before distribution, making it safe for consumption straight from the tap.

  • We use products certified for the environment and emit as few chemicals as possible into the wastewater system.
  • We encourage staff and guests to fill reusable bottles with tap water instead of buying water in plastic bottles.

VAKINN Certificate

Vakinn is the official quality and environmental certification for Icelandic tourism. Vakinn is the official quality and environmental label. It can only be used by tourism businesses that keep high standards in all parts of their business and meet Vakinn's comprehensive assessment criteria. When you see a business displaying the Vakinn logo you can be assured that it is trustworthy and professional.

For travellers, Vakinn certification means that:

  • Certified businesses operate in an ethical, professional, and environmentally sustainable way.
  • Certified businesses have required systems and policies for a safe and happy holiday in Iceland.
  • You make a better choice.
  • You can book with confidence.