Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of June 7, 2016


Svalbard finally an official ‘sustainable destination’
After many years, Svalbard has finally been officially classified as a “sustainable destination” by Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The classification established by Innovation Norway is  is based on international criteria demanding destinations meet a wide range of requirements to reduce their environmental and climatic footprint. Such destinations also need to show they are working hard for good conservation of nature and culture, in close cooperation of the local community, and a healthy economy in tourism.

Culture and foreign ministers, U.S. secretary of state making visits
Two heads of Norway’s ministries are visiting Longyearbyen during the next week as part of tours that include international officials. Norwegian Minister of Culture Linda Hofstad Helleland is scheduled to visit Saturday for the debut of Olav Christopher Jenssen’s art exhibition at Kunsthall Svalbard. “I’m going to have with me a little novelty in the suitcase,” the minister said, declining to provide any hints. Foreign Minister Børge Brende will accompany U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday focusing on climate change and polar research. Specifics of the latter visit have not yet been made public.

Former Store Norske worker loses lawsuit disputing layoff
Terje Carlsen, Store Norske’s former communications director, has lost a lawsuit claiming his termination from the company earlier this year was illegal. Carlsen, 58, said the dismissal failed to confine to labor union regulations, and asserted he was ineligible for a pension because he was under 60 years of ago and had worked for the company for less than 20 years. The lawsuit heard in Nord-Troms District Court sought pension eligibility despite working only 12 years for the company. But the court found the dismissal was legal and ordered Carlsen to pay 88,475 kroner to Store Norske for court costs. Store Norske has undergone drastic downsizing during the past year due to a coal mining crisis, with only 100 workers set to remain this year.