KDS is sponsoring a scientific expedition to measure the impact of global warming on the Arctic region. The team, led by explorer and campaigner Luc Hardy, will travel this summer to some of the most northerly reaches of Greenland to gauge the consequences of rising temperatures for plant and animal life.
During their one month voyage, the six person team of researchers will undertake a range of studies to assess the ways that climate change is altering polar ecosystems.
At Mount Gunnbjorn, which at 3,693 meters is known as the ‘Top of the Arctic’, they will examine the extent to which ice is melting and whether lichens are forming due to higher temperatures.
One hundred kilometres further north, at Camp Ice field, the team will locate, count and survey ivory gull colonies. By equipping the gulls with tiny solar-powered transmitters, the team will determine if the birds are flying further north due to increasing temperatures.
At Kap Morris Jesup/Oodaaq Qeqertaa, the world’s northernmost land mass, the team will use GPS technology to obtain precise coordinates for the most northerly areas of dry land in the Arctic.
In Greenland’s Northeast islands, the team will survey polar bears and attempt to assess the health of the bowhead whale population.
The Sagax Greenland Double Top expedition, which is taking place during the International Polar Year, will support the activities of France’s Arctic Ecology Research Group (‘GREA’), which has been surveying conditions in the region for over 30 years. Its work will produce additional data to verify earlier GREA studies and extend scientific research to locations not previously studied by the Group.
Commenting on the sponsorship, KDS CEO Yves Weisselberger said: “KDS is committed to finding ways to understand and lessen the impact that business travel is making on the environment. Supporting this expedition is a logical extension of the work we are doing ourselves in developing a new generation of green travel management solutions.”
Luc Hardy, who also heads the venture capital firm Sagax, has known KDS for several years and felt the company would be a natural partner for this project. “We knew that KDS had been focused on reducing carbon emissions for quite some time. They hadn’t simply seen the Al Gore film and woken up the next morning deciding to do something. Their financial support is helping us obtain important instruments and materials, and their enthusiasm is a welcome boost as we work to overcome various challenges in the final stages of planning.”
The expedition is made in partnership with Green Cross International (GCI). Founded and chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International (GCI) is one of the few organisations focusing its attention on the crucial nexus between security, poverty, and the environment.
The expedition will take great pains to minimise the environmental impact of its visit, using low intensity modes of transport as well as solar energy to power its equipment. Any waste generated through its presence will be returned to Iceland for recycling or disposed of responsibly at the team’s temporary camp sites.
This will be Luc Hardy’s second polar expedition. In 2003 he led an expedition to Antarctica to highlight the region’s importance as a regulator of global weather systems. That project was supported by various environmental organisations including the influential Cousteau Society, and the books based on the journey served to raise consciousness in business, academic and governmental circles.
As part of its work to help reduce carbon emissions, KDS recently joined with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives to survey opinion globally about global warming and business travel. This study showed that companies have yet to take serious action to minimise the environmental impact of their travel. A mere 32 percent said they have a sustainable travel policy and only 20 percent said that their choice of transportation was influenced by a policy that prioritised vendors with lower carbon emissions or a proper environmental charter. KDS believes that part of the reason for this limited action is a scarcity of appropriate travel management tools. Aiming to fill the gap, KDS demonstrated Proof of Concept for an environmentally friendly Travel & Expense management solution at the London Business Travel Show in February. The solution, which integrates a ‘carbon calculator’ from the CarbonNeutral Company, will be integrated into the KDS Version 6 solution in the second half of 2007.