A Greenlandic start-up has dreamt up the idea of collecting “untouched” ice from the Arctic and shipping it to Dubai where it can be enjoyed in fancy cocktail bars. How refreshing.
While some might say this sounds like a slow-motion environmental disaster in the making, the company insists its business intends to protect the environment, all while supporting local communities in Greenland.
Known as Arctic Ice, the company claims its ice will be harvested from the “pristine glaciers of Greenland”. Lab tests will then be carried out to certify the ice is safe to consume and of a desired quality – phew, no ancient viruses – before it's "expertly packaged" and sent to Dubai via international transit.
The company says it will opt for carbon-neutral vessels in the future, suggesting that good old-fashioned fossil fuels will be doing the work in the meantime. To justify the shipping, Arctic Ice says Greenland imports more than it exports, so the ice cubes are being transported via "almost empty cargo ships returning to Europe after having delivered goods to Greenland".
Once the ice arrives in the United Arab Emirates, it will apparently be subject to further testing and quality control. Finally, it will be sent out to “A-list bars” and premium restaurants for the sole purpose of chilling drinks.
“Arctic Ice is sourced directly from the natural glaciers in the Arctic which have been in a frozen state for more than 100,000 years. These parts of the ice sheets have not been in contact with any soils or contaminated by pollutants produced by human activities. This makes Arctic Ice the cleanest H20 on Earth,” Arctic Ice said on its website.
The company has produced several slick promotional videos, which have been posted on their social media accounts, to explain their business.
The start-up has already attracted some heat on social media. Redditors on the r/NotTheOnion subreddit were less than welcoming to the company’s plan, with users describing it as “speed running climate change”. Other media reports of the news were met with an array of comments, ranging from "Oh, come on. How's that necessary" to "Our Civilization is doomed."
The shipping industry emits approximately 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that figure is rapidly rising, set to increase by up to 130 percent of their 2008 levels by 2050. Accordingly, people have taken issue with the thought of shipping ice from one part of the world (which is being dramatically impacted by climate change) to another when it can simply be made by, y'know, freezing water.
It's such an outlandish idea that you might be mistaken for thinking it’s a viral marketing stunt, designed to parody how unconstrained capitalism and complacency are fanning the flames of the climate crisis. However, Danish business records suggest the company is legitimate. Arctic Ice has even run LinkedIn posts looking for sales managers in Dubai (applications are accepted until later this month, by the way).
They are also not the first people to entertain this money-making scheme. In the early 19th century, Boston businessman Frederic "The Ice King" Tudor made a fortune by shipping ice from the lakes of New England to the Caribbean for the uber-rich to enjoy in their cocktails.
He eventually ended up masterminding the international ice trade across South America, Europe, and Asia. Needless to say, however, freezers hadn’t been invented yet and humans were oblivious of how industrial activities would perturb the Earth’s natural environment.
IFLScience reached out to Arctic Ice with a few questions, but they did not respond at the time of publishing. We’ll update the article with their comments, if and when they get back to us.