People / Planet
June 17, 2019

RESPECT FOR FINLAND: Will you take the ‘Sustainable Finland’ Pledge for good?

Words by Matt Leedham
Image: Visit Finland

If you’re travelling to Finland or just have an innate desire to show your respect for this beautiful land, you can now take the ‘Sustainable Finland Pledge’ to commit yourself 100% to the land of the midnight sun.

Following in the footsteps of pioneering Tourism New Zealand and their recent ‘Tiaki Promise’, Finland has launched its own sustainable pledge to help educate and ensure travellers to the Nordic country arrive with the same respect in mind.

In fact, if you check out their gorgeous website, you’ll soon realise that the concept of living a sustainable life is cleverly weaved into pretty much every aspect on the site.

According to Finland Tourism, “the site introduces you to the Finnish way of living ethically and sustainably. It will guide you to make all the best choices as an enlightened traveller in Finland.”

What’s the challenge?

Put simply, the challenge is to retain Finland’s idyllic beauty and heritage for future generations to enjoy and pass on.

While Finland hasn’t (yet) suffered like its neighbour Iceland (Iceland also has a pledge) in terms of popularity and over tourism, it is now firmly on the list as a trending destination to visit in the war against over tourism.

It’s important to note that Iceland itself was a similar ‘trending destination’ only around five years ago. Thanks to Insta and TV series fame, the speed today at which a destination can now literally ‘blow up’ is frightening, as Iceland sadly knows all too well.

Finland is a stunning pristine country with approximately 188,000 lakes – about 10% of the country and more than anywhere else in Europe and a similar number of gorgeous islands. In the northernmost part of the country, the Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and midnight sun in the summer. And then there’s Santa Claus in Lapland…

So while Finland Tourism, like every tourism board, is banking on more visitors, they want to safeguard that those that do come, leave the place in a better state than when they arrived.

What’s the solution?

To change people’s mindsets and implant some seeds of good, Finland Tourism has integrated a sustainable message into its entire site, culminating with a visually stunning poem that forms the pledge.

It begins with…

“Nature has taken care of us for millions of years and now it’s time for us to take care of it in return. By taking the Sustainable Finland Pledge you make a promise to respect and treasure the Finnish nature, its inhabitants and culture during your visit.”

Finland Tourism

The one-pager then guides you on a poetic journey that ends with this note when you complete the pledge.

“By taking the Sustainable Finland Pledge I have committed myself for sustainable travelling. I love and respect nature and show it by taking care of it during my visit. I will also honour the local culture and be thankful for my hosts.”

What will the positive impact be?

A sceptic might say “What’s the point? It’s only a pledge and we all make promises we don’t keep.”

The point though surely is, that every little bit helps, and if the opposite is to do nothing, then even if just a small group of people take the pledge and inspire others to do the same, it’ll have been worthwhile.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Find out more:

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.