FESTA – Icelandic Center for Corporate Social Responsibility is dedicated to raise awareness of CSR and Sustainability among Icelandic businesses and the public, as well as supporting its member organizations in implementing sustainability and CSR into their strategy and day to day operations. The vision of FESTA is that Icelandic organizations will be known for creating value for the society in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Their mission is to support Icelandic organizations who want to be responsible by : • organizing training, dialogue events, conferences and workshops on Sustainability and CSR.
• publishing news and information on the development of CSR for Icelandic business.
• acting as change agents to mobilize organizations and authorities on strategic issues of CSR and Sustainability.
Institut Français d’ Appreciative Inquiry
Iceland has become an enormous popular tourist attraction, an island which inhabits only 320.000 individuals. In 2016, tourism, had become the largest industry in Iceland, attracting 2,3 million travelers each year. The increasing numbers of tourists coming to Iceland has in five years gone from 500.000 each year (2010) to 2.3 million (2017). This is of course something that the Icelandic people appreciate, it has had a positive impact on our economy. At the same time the growing numbers have brought some social and environmental challenges. From there came the innovation from FESTA on responsible tourism, meaning that the companies involved should take full responsibility for the consequences that their businesses have on the environment as well as the society. There was a strong yearning in the field of Icelandic tourism to do better and that was answered by building a network of knowledge sharing and best practices regarding responsible tourism. In 2016, FESTA (Ketill Berg Magnússon) and the Iceland Tourism Cluster formed the idea of a program called Responsible Tourism. On 10th of January 2017, 260 leaders of tourism companies in Iceland signed a pledge for Responsible Tourism and demonstrated it with a handshake with the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who is a patron of the program. Today in total 340 companies have signed the declaration on responsible tourism. The purpose of the program is to maintain Iceland ‘s status as an optimal future destination for tourists by supporting sustainability for future generations of the nation. In February 2018 an academic research was launched, by the University of Reykjavik, where the effect of this innovation is being measured and best practices are being collected.
When asked about the inspiration for this innovation, K.B. Magnússon (personal communication 17th of September, 2018) said, “The inspiration for this innovation comes from the need of bringing onboard all stakeholders to take responsibility for the challenges that we face in tourism in Iceland“ adding that "it was important to increase their believe that they could have a positive effect by supporting the UN Development Goals and that Iceland could even become an educational venue for climate changes in the world, that the tourists could actually both see and feel the climate change followed by increased awareness and a deep need to act on this challenge we are facing,“ adding "my own personal inspiration comes from an old dream of mine to combine business, ethics and philosophy, I truly believe that corporations can be both ethical and prosperous. We Icelanders are proud of presenting our geothermically wonders, unspoiled nature and glaciers, it´s time to find a way to do that in a responsible way.”
The overall impact of FESTA´s innovation can be seen in a "butterfly effect” in the Icelandic tourism and in overall society. Here are some examples of the impact the program of Responsible Tourism has had: 1. At the 10th of September 2018 the Icelandic government signed an action plan until 2030 regarding climate change. The plan has 34 goals and two main focus areas: energy change in transport and capturing CO2 or Carbon offsetting. This is to be done Wetland Restoration, Soil Conservation and Forestry. This action plan will be followed by regulations, economic input and funding’s of projects by the Icelandic government. 2. Through this program, all stakeholders and policymakers have a common vision of Iceland as a sustainable tourism destination. 3. Tourism companies in Iceland have a common goal and tools to implement sustainability strategies and change their day to day operations to become more responsible. 4. More than 20 conferences and workshops have been organized to find solutions to sustainability challenges in tourism in Iceland. These include: Reducing CO2 emission, rights of workers, financial benefits of tourism on local community, sustainability reporting, cruise ships arriving in Iceland, safety for tourists, infrastructure capacity, innovation and more… 5. Companies in Iceland have started to connect their business strategy to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). They do that by emerging them into their "DNA” by asking questions like: What is the core idea of our existence, what is the purpose of our business, who in the end will be affected by our decisions, how will we add value in a sustainable way and contribute to our society? This has been shown as one of the best ways to get the employees engaged, proud and more interested because it appeals to their higher purpose in life.
"There is an urge in our society for doing good and having a good business strategy“ states K.B. Magnússon (personal communication 17th of September, 2018) saying that "the companies that participate in the project "Responsible Tourism“ are recognized in the society to care for both nature and people and that does shine a positive light on those companies and can also attract tourists that are environmentally engaged. But it is important to note that this should not be a way for companies to "greenwash” their business. When signing the pledge your company commits to expose their goals on their website, to make a realistic action plan, to measure their successes and share it publicly.” Besides, this initiative will attract more companies to join FESTA and thereby support FESTA´s economic stability, spread out the importance of common good, increase positive role models of social responsibility and get more people onboard to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This innovation benefits both society and the environment. It benefits society/people in three different ways: • Ensuring the safety of guests and treat them courteously. • Respecting the rights of employees. • Having a positive impact on the local community. When it comes to environmental benefit it can be directly attached to the first promise of the pledge: • Demonstrating exemplary behavior and respect for nature. "It´s so important to give all stakeholders a voice“ states K.B. Magnússon (personal communication 17th of September, 2018) saying that "one of the main functions of FESTA is to create the right venue, secure a trustworthy atmosphere and aim for common goals“ adding that "by giving voice to the people that are involved and encourage them to use their autonomy, create ownership of solutions, we hope that the best examples will be the new norm,“ adding "when it comes to both environmental and social responsibility we encourage the companies go through the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ask themselves: where can we contribute as well as do good business, how can adapt those goals locally?“
Ketill Berg Magnússon, former managing Director of FESTA
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Reykjavík , 101, IS
Business Website: https://festasamfelagsabyrgd.is/
Year Founded: 2011
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
FESTA – Icelandic Center for Corporate Social Responsibility is dedicated to raise awareness of CSR and Sustainability among Icelandic businesses and the public, as well as supporting its member organizations in implementing sustainability and CSR into their strategy and day to day operations. The vision of FESTA is that Icelandic organizations will be known for creating value for the society in a responsible and sustainable manner. Festa was founded in 2017 by six companies in Iceland: Íslandsbanka, Landsbankanum, Landsvirkjun, Rio Tinto Alcan, Símanum og Össuri, each of them paid 5,1 ISK million krona (42.478 USD) as a start capital. Each member pays a early fee, ranging from 333 USD to 3165 USD, depending on the number of employees.