Κοινωνική Συνεταιριστική Επιχείρηση Ιστία Αιγαίου
The Social Cooperative Enterprise Istia Aigaiou founded in 2019 with the vision of an holistic approach to the protection of the marine environment and the sustainable development of the Aegean islands. Our mission is sailing towards a blue economy that does not depend on polluting fossil fuels.
The ways we attempt it are:
– With the sailing transport of agri-food products in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
– By developing and promoting mild culinary tourism in combination with sailing.
– With research and innovation in maritime transport.
Our two main actions that combine the above are Aegean Cargo Sailing and SailMed.
Aegean Cargo Sailing is the sailing round of 22 islands of the Aegean, during which we transport ecological products to a network of about 60 producers and 20 shops and restaurants. The products of the network are specially marked to highlight their ecological value and are available on special stands at the points of sale. At the same time, guests from all over the world travel with us, who finance the project while experiencing a unique culinary sailing adventure.
Sailmed is about the promotion and transportation of fine Aegean products to Italy in collaboration with the international Slow Food movement and local communities. Some of the products reach as far as Switzerland, France and Germany by electric vehicles.
In the field of innovation, this year we achieved full energy autonomy sailing with the first solar electric cargo sailboat in the Mediterranean with the financing of the Green Fund. In the first test of self-reliance, we went around the Peloponnese, in which we encountered a lot of interest from owners of small boats to convert them to electric. We are already preparing to participate in European programs with the proposal to create a small fleet of electric sailing ships for transport in the Aegean.
The Aegean Cargo Sailing & SailMed actions concern an innovative and pilot application of sailing transport (emission free) in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, of products that have been produced with agroecological methods. The aim is to make a successful application through the implementation of the present and in the medium term to extend it to other island complexes of the country that face a corresponding lack of interconnection between the islands. While abroad this practice has begun to spread and gain ground, both in the transport and tourism sectors, as reflected in International Networks (e.g. the International Windship Association and the Sail Cargo Alliance), in Greece it is the first application.
For our actions, we received three innovation awards in 2021 at the Venture Impact Awards, Climaccelerator & Green Ideas Greece.
Already our team is working on the following ideas for next year:
– The launch of Team Building Sailing tours with a Cause, which we will propose to large companies for their teams as part of their corporate social responsibility.
– Integrating other vessels into the venture is also one of our next goals. Having already received interest from several yacht owners to join our network, we are already doing a preliminary work to develop the strategic plan over the next year. This will include educational actions, development of criteria and terms of cooperation, supervision and evaluation. The inclusion of more vessels will lead us to a more sustainable transport network with more frequent routes, lower vessel maintenance costs and more experienced captains.
In addition, we aim to actively participate in research and innovation in the field of climate change and sustainable development within the framework of European programs that will open in the near future, in collaboration with Greek and foreign universities and other organizations.
With the valuable help of the Co-Fund organization, we were able to overcome the financial difficulties left by the pandemic and move forward with greater confidence and determination towards our goal.