Dreaming of escaping to a wild island, eating off the land and soaking in 360degree views from your own private cabin? Now you can make this dream a reality, all the while knowing that you’re contributing to a sustainability revolution looking to change how we approach vacations. Neste, the world’s leading renewable energy company has launched the first ever carbon neutral island escape, named Zero Island, in order to shed light on some of the issues faced in finding sustainable ways to move towards a fossil fuel-free future.
Zero Island can be found nestled in the Swedish archipelago around 2h30m north of the Stockholm capital. Sweden is currently a world leader in sustainability practises, aiming to become completely carbon neutral by 2045 (a huge leap ahead of most other countries). Given that the most recent report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said we may have less than twelve years to tackle climate change before the effects are irreversible, this sustainability project has never been more pertinent.
Turning the small, unassuming island of Lido into Zero Island required a few helping hands; from implementing solar panels and switching to fossil-free electricity sources, to using renewable diesel in all vehicles (including the 10 minute ferry to and from the mainland). Carl Nyberg, Neste’s Executive VP believes that “the Zero Island project proves that if we work together as institutions, companies and individuals, we can change the world a lot quicker than we think.” In fact, the island’s carbon emissions were reduced by a staggering 78%, demonstrating how a shared vision of sustainability can be achieved in small communities without a big upheaval to amenities or costs.
“Zero Island inspires us to rethink the way we are used to travelling and tangibly demonstrates how emissions can be reduced in several areas,” says Ossian Matthiesen from Klimatanalytiker Tricorona, an environmental consultancy behind the project’s emission calculations.
How does this work in practise though? Can Zero Island become a destination that eco-conscious travellers will really want to visit? For that we need to look to Finland, where the team behind Zero Island has already set up a luxurious ‘Zero Cabin’, named Nolla, which can be booked via Airbnb. This preview into future Zero projects is set in the similarly idyllic Island archipelago off the coast of Helsinki, and will let visitors experience climate neutral living without compromising on clean aesthetics, modern, minimalist decor, and luxurious soft furnishings. The sustainable Zero Menu created for the few guests welcomed, will give a taste of local ingredients through a farm-to-table set up, for just a quarter of the average carbon footprint of an equivalent meal. “With Zero Island we want to make sure our children will be able to enjoy the archipelago as we have, but we also want to show people that making responsible choices doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your holiday experience, but that simplicity and purity can actually make the experience stronger.” Olle Tejle and Hugo Olofsson, the entrepreneurs running Lidö explain.
With all the success already achieved, thankfully, the team behind Island Zero are looking to bigger and better iterations in the future. As the team believe that a sustainable future also requires changes in our everyday lives and in our mindset, Zero Island will continue to educate people about climate neutral solutions and make it easier for people to make sustainable choices. Look out for Zero Vacations, the future of the all-inclusive vacation, where everything from accommodation to food is designed to produce as little emissions as possible. Summer 2020 will also see the Island’s first climate neutral Zero Weddings, designed to marry a minimalist-chic ceremony, with the best sustainable practices currently available in a naturally beautiful environment.