On the Rocks: Greenland’s Glacial Ice Lands in Dubai’s High-End Bars

3 mins

A company in Greenland is shipping ancient glacier ice to fancy bars in Dubai drawing admiration from rich cocktail lovers… but environmentalists aren’t too thrilled

Ancient glacier ice from Greenland is being shipped to cool drinks served in some of Dubai’s high-end beverage outlets, serving up a cocktail of opinions.

Startup company Arctic Ice, which harvests ice from fjords and transports it by sea to exclusive Dubai venues, exported the first 20 metric tonnes of ice in recent weeks.

The business’ co-founder Malik Rasmussen said the ice, which has been compressed over thousands of years, is completely without bubbles, melts slower than regular ice and is purer than the frozen mineral water usually used in ice cubes.

According to the company’s website: ‘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.’

The project has attracted criticism on social media however. Negative online comments suggest the company should not be exploiting ancient ice flows that are already being devastated by the effects of global warming.

Remarks included: ‘Shouldn’t you be worrying about the effects of global warming, rather than selling glacier water?’

However, the company argues that the product is environmentally friendly as it uses ice broken from large icebergs which would melt anyway.

The Greenland Glacier Extraction Process

Arctic Ice has a specialised ship which patrols Nuup Kangerlua, the fjord around Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, to look for a specific type of ice which has been in contact with neither the bottom nor top of the glacier.

Once a suitable piece is located it is picked up by a crane and placed it in a crate until the boat is full before being transferred to a refrigerated shipping container.

This container is transported to Denmark, which administers Greenland, by the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip and loaded on to another ship that takes it to Dubai.

The first stage of the shipping, Arctic Ice claims, is of low carbon-intensity, as most refrigerated shipping containers that leave Greenland would have been empty, because the country imports more frozen goods than it exports.

The company says it is committed to becoming fully carbon-neutral, and once the supply chain has been established and a carbon footprint calculated, all excess emissions will be calculated and compensated for, either through carbon capture and storage, or through emerging technologies.

‘Helping Greenland in its green transition is actually what I believe I was brought into this world to do,’ Rasmussen said. ‘We do have that agenda running through the company, but we may not have communicated it well enough yet.”

His primary aim, however, is to forge new revenue streams for Greenland, which is heavily financially dependent on Denmark, whose annual grant accounts for 55 per cent of its budget. To gain more independence, politically and economically, he says economic growth is vital.

‘In Greenland, we make all our money from fish and from tourism,’ said Rasmussen. ‘For a long time, I have wanted to find something else that we can profit from.’

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