Interview: The Icelandic Association of Whale Watchers

IceWhaleInterview date: 26 August 2014

Interviewed by: Frantisek Borsik

 

Introduction

What do you think – will they be there?

“IceWhale – The Icelandic Association of Whale Watchers is a non profit organization formed by Icelandic whale watching operators in 2003. The aim of the association is to assess the most effective methods of helping the industry grow in a manner that expands economic opportunities and contributes to the conservation of whales.” – Source: http://icewhale.is/about-icewhale/

 

Research Questionnaire

1. Nafn/Name: María Gunnarsdóttir

2. Netfang/Email address: info [at] icewhale.is

3. Sími/Phone number: +354 8241090

4. Starfsheiti þitt innan fyrirtækisins/ Your title in the company:

Verkefnastjóri

Project Manager

5. Nafn fyrirtækis/ Company Name:

Hvalaskoðunarsamtök Íslands (IceWhale)

The Icelandic Association of Whale Watchers / http://icewhale.is/ kt. 410814-0560

6. Iðnaður/ Industry:

Ferþaþjónusta; hvalaskoðun og hvalatend afþreying

Tourism; whale watching and whale related recreation

7. Aldur fyrirtækis/ Company years in operation:

Samstarfið hófst árið 2003 en samtökin voru formlega stofnuð árið 2014

The cooperation begun in 20013 but the association was formally founded in 2014

8. Tegund fyrirtækis/ Type of (legal structure) company (limited company, NGO, foundation, cooperative etc.):

Frjáls félagasamtök

Non Governmental Organisation

9. Hversu margir starfsmenn vinna hjá fyrirtækinu/ How many employees does your company have:

Einn starfsmaður í hlutastarfi (25%)

One part time employee (25%)

10. Árleg velta/ Annual turnover:

Engin hingað til

Non so far

11. Lýsing á fyritæki/ Description of company:

IceWhale er hagsmunasamtök fyrirtækja sem bjóða upp á hvalaskoðunarferðir eða fræðslu um hvali á Íslandi.

IceWhale is an interest group of companies that offer whale watching tours and education about whales in Iceland.

12. Markmið / Company Mission:

Tilgangurinn samtakanna var að búa til sameiginlegan vettvang til að vinna að framgangi greinarinnar og stuðla að verndun hvalastofnanna.

The purpose was to create a mutual ground for discussion to ensure proceeding of the industry and promote whale conservation.

13. Lýsing á samfélagslega/umhverfismarkmiðinu: Description of social / environmental mission:

Eitt helsta baráttumál samtakanna hefur því verið að berjast gegn hvalveiðum á hvalaskoðunarsvæðum en einnig innleiðing reglna um ábyrga hvalskoðun og auknar rannsóknir á lífríki hvala í kringum Ísland.

One of the organisation’s main campaign has therefore been to fight against whaling in whale watching grounds and promoting methods of responsible whale watching.

14. Myndir þú halla þig samfélagslegan frumkvöðul? Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise?

Já Hvalaskoðunarsamtökin eru sjálfsprottin frjáls félagasamtök sem barist hafa fyrir þörfu málefni.

Yes The Whale Watching Association is a non governmental organisation that has been fighting for a needed cause.

15. Hvaða skilning leggur þú í hugtakið samfélagslegt framtak? How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises?

Samfélagaslegt framtak byggir á því að ráðast í verkefni af fúsum og frjálsum vilja fyrir góðan málstað.

Social enterprise builds on the idea to take on a project or cause for the greater good.

Questions related to definition

16. Hefur fyrirtæki þitt skýr samfélagsleg og/eða umhverfisvæn markmið sem sett eru fram í stefnumótun? Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents (legal documents)?

Yes

17. Aflar fyrirtækið tekna að mestu með sölu á vöru og/eða þjónustu? (51% eða meira) Ef ekki, hversu hátt er hlutfallið? Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

Nei ekki beint. Í júlí hófu Hvalaskoðunarsamtökin þó að rukka aðildargjöld frá félögum en fram að þeim tíma höfðu samtökin engar tekjur.

No not directly. The Whale Watching Association started charging membership fees in July. Until that time the association didn’t have any income.

18. Er 51% eða meira af hagnaði fyrirtækisins á ári varið í endurfjárfestingu og/eða áframhaldandi uppbyggingu á samfélagslegum/ umhverfismarkmiðum fyrirtækisins? (51% eða meira) Ef ekki, hversu mikið?

Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above) if not, how much?

Ekki er enn farið að reyna á það en þar sem samtökin eru ekki rekin í hagnaðarskyni verður aðildargjöldunum varið í almennan rekstur félagsins og kynningarstarf á baráttumálum samtakanna.

It’s not yet in effect but since the association is run not for profit the income will be used to for general operation of the association and promoting the cause.

19. Er þitt fyrirtæki í einkaeigm og ekki haldið út á vegum ríkisins? Is your company autonomous of state?

Yes

20. Er fyrirtækið að meirihluta í eigu aðila sem hafa samfélagsleg/ Umhverfismarkmið fyrirtækisins að leiðarljósi í rekstri og ákvarðanatöku?

Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?

Yes

21. Stundar fyrirtækið ábyrgan og gagnsæjan rekstur? Is your company accountable and transparent?  (Transparency corporate actions are observable by outsiders)

Já, hingað til ekki verið beinn rekstur en það er klárlega markmiðið.

Yes, until now there hasn’t been any formal operation but this is clearly the goal.

22. Hver er markhópur ykkar / Who are your clients / focus group?

Hvalaskoðunarfyrirtæki, þeir sem bjóða upp á fræðslu um hvali, stjórnmálamenn auk almennings.

The whale watching operators, those that offer education about whales, politicians and the general public.

23. Hvaða mælikvarða, ef einhverja, notið þið til að meta félagsleg áhrif út frá markmiðum ykkar? / What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission?

Farþegafjöldi í hvalaskoðunarferður hefur verið stærsti mælikvarðinn okkar en einnig höfum við í samvinnu við IFAW fylgst með viðhorfum Íslendinga til hvalveiða sem og viðhorfum ferðamanna til neyslu hvalkjöts.

The passenger numbers on whale watching tours and together with IFAW monitor local attitudes towards whaling as well as tourists attitudes towards eating whale meat.

24. Út frá spurningu 23, hvaða tegundir félagslegs áhrifs hafið þið skapað með vörum/þjónustu ykkar? / As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products/service (e.g. assisted 1,000 access to health care they won’t have other wise)

Hvalaskoðun er núna stærsta afþreyingin í Reykjavík og með þriðju vinsælustu afþreyingunum á landinu öllu. IceWhale hefur átt þátt í þeirri uppbyggingu ekki síst hvað varðar sammvinnufleti og ráðgjöf til nýrri félaga varðandi ábyrga hvalaskoðun. Hvalaskoðun og tengd afþreying er alltaf að skapa fleiri og fleiri störf á víðum vettvangi.

Whale Watching is now the biggest tourist attraction in Reykjavík and the third most popular for the whole of Iceland. IceWhale has been involved in this development, particularly regarding members grounds for cooperation and recommendations for responsible whale watching. The whale watching companies are therefore becoming an important sector for employment.

Social enterprise sector

25. Ef regnhlífarsamtök um samfélagslegra frumkvöðla væru stofnuð hefðu þið áhuga á að fræðast meira um þau og mögulega gerast félagar? Ef já hefðu þið áhuga á að vera skráð á póstlista okkar fyrir fréttir og viðburði? / If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member? If so would you be interested to join our mailing list for news on our activities?

Já við frekari upplýsingum og nei varðandi að vera skráð á póstlistann.

Yes about knowing more and no regarding joining the mailing lists.

26. Hverskonar stuðning myndir þú persónulega leita eftir frá slíkum regnhlífasamtökum og/eða hvernig stuðning telur þú samfélagslega frumkvöðla þurfa á að halda? / What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?

Aðallega andlegum stuðningi við verkefnin.

Mainly moral support at this stage given the nature of our operation.

27. Hvernig sjáið þið fyrir ykkur þróun samfélagslegara frumkvöðla á Íslandi / How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?

Við höfum ekkert sérstaklega velt því fyrir okkur, en samstarfið og samstaðan mætti eflaust vera mun meiri milli ólíkra geira.

Not that we’ve given it a lot of thought but the cooperation and solidarity between the different fields could probably be more.

28. Getur þú bent á fyrirtæki (frjáls félagasamtök) sem er með samfélagslegtog/ Eða umhverfismarkmið? / Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

Já t.d. innan ferðaþjónustunnar Íslenskir fjallaleiðsögumenn

Yes e.g. within tourism the Icelandic Mountain Guides

 

 

 

 

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Interview: Citizen Foundation

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Citizens Foundation

Interview date: 15 July 2014

Interviewed by: Tanja & Haraldur

 

 

Better Reykjavik

Introduction

The story:

The idea is about a new way to connect people together to participate in democracy, politics and civic life was born after Iceland’s economic and trust collapse in 2008. Citizens Foundation developed the online open source e-democracy platform. Your priorities and has used it to promote online, democratic debate and increase citizens’ participation in their community in Iceland and worldwide.

Research Questionnaire

1. Name: Gunnar Grímsson

2. Email address: gunnar [at] citizens.is

3. Phone number: +345 8978229

4. Your title in the company: CEO

5. Company Name: Citizens Foundation / http://www.citizens.is/ Kt 601210-1260

6. Industry: Participative democracy

7. Company years in operation: Informally in 2008, incorporated in 2010. E-democracy project in 1997-1998.

8. Type of company: Foundation (“Sjálfseignarstofnun” – Ses.)

9. How many employees does your foundation have:

No full-time paid employees. 7-8 members in the team currently with 2 of them interns in the summer.

10. Annual turnover:

Better Reykjavik project (City of Reykjavik): 250K ISK per month to cover the running costs.

City of Reykjavik, Contract work for the daily running improvements and updates of Better Reykjavik to the system: 500K – 2M ISK per annum

D-cent (EU Project): Grant

Better Neighbourhood project every year: 3 phases – get paid for stage 1 + 3.

NHS UK: NHS Citizen project / Demstock partner (demo phase)

11. Description of the foundation:

“Our main goal is to help citizens get their voices heard and to encourage citizens participation in governance. The idea about a new way to connect people together to participate in democracy, politics and civic life was born after Iceland’s economic and trust collapse in 2008. Citizens Foundation developed the online open source e-democracy platform Your Priorities and has used it to promote online, democratic debate and increase citizens’ participation in their community in Iceland and worldwide.

Improve democracy through consulting, solutions provider, with the use of open source software as part of their business offering.

They currently have contracts with EU D-cent, Better Neighbourhoods, NHS UK, Better Reykjavik and Estonian and Polish organizations.”  Source: http://www.citizens.is/about/

12. Foundation Mission:

Our mission is to bring people together to debate and prioritize innovative ideas to improve their communities. We believe that without participation there is no democracy.

13. Description of social / environmental mission:

Same as above.

Particularly interested in reaching the youth in being involved in the democratic system, as the old ways no longer seem effective. Their aim is to lower costs and time in the process and increase participation.

14. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise?

“I think so, yes. We have used the term: social enterprise to describe the organization.”

15. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises?

The mission of the organization is to make society better, as opposed to damaging society.

Questions related to the definition

16. Does your foundation have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents?

Yes the mission of the organization is clearly stated in the founding documents.

17. Does your foundation generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

Grants : Income

33% : 67%

Income is based on services provided via consulting / software use.

18. Does your foundation reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much? 100%

19. Is your foundation autonomous of state? Yes

20. Is your foundation majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?

The board, a self-appointed board, is run democratically. Robert and Gunnar make most of the day to day decisions. “Yes decisions are made in alignment with the foundations mission. There may be disputes on how you interpret the goal, but ultimately, decisions are based on the initial stated mission.”

21. Is your foundation accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders)

Results are not published online on a regular basis but as needed at any given time. This is mainly due to lack of human resources issues. We submit all our paperwork required as per law. The information is obviously available.

22. Who are you clients / focus group?

Clients: City of Reykjavik, NHS, Better Neighbourhood

Target group: Young citizens, up to 30+, all citizens

23. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (E.g. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.)

Participation numbers analysis are our most important meter. Over 500.000 individuals have participated in the websites that they run.

24. As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products /services (e.g. assisted 1,000 people access to health care they won’t have otherwise).

Not the participation numbers themselves but more what was the results/ actions, from the platforms. For example: In Estonia for example they have had 103 laws proposed and 2 already are Estonian law, those came from Your Priorities platform originally accepted by parliament due to the “your priorities” platform. And in Reykjavik a number of hundreds of projects have been initiated from the ideas generated on Better Reykjavik and Better Neighborhoods.

Social enterprise sector

25. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member? Yes

26. What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?

Working with the EU and other grantees, and knowing the best way to present ourselves, clear guidance on knowing how to approach the grant application process.

Sharing of experiences by members.

Forum for communication between members.

27. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?

Create a volunteer field. “People want to do something, but feel there is no point.” People want to help but need incentives. MTo make it easier to match people with projects.

Co-operation

28. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

Samtök um bíllausan lífstíl / Association for a carless lifestyle

 

Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.

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