Pen Hadow, a world-class explorer focused on the Arctic Ocean, is now dedicated to the United Nations process that will enable protection for the wildlife and ecosystem in the international waters around the North Pole.
Hadow is director of the 90ºNorth Unit, an independent, not-for-profit, which advocates for the creation of a protected area status for the international waters of the Arctic Ocean. In support of this work, he is also director of the annual scientific research and public engagement programme, Arctic Mission.
In 2017 he launched the Arctic Mission programme by sailing two 50’ yachts into the North Pole’s international waters, the first non-icebreaking vessels in history to do so. The voyage demonstrated the increasing accessibility of these waters to surface commercial shipping, fishing, tourism and mineral extraction, and therefore the emerging human threat to the wildlife, already stressed by the reduced sea-ice cover.
Previously, Hadow led the multi-award-winning US$10m international scientific research programme, Catlin Arctic Survey (2007-2012) investigating the rates, causes and impacts of the Arctic’s rapidly melting sea ice. It secured the equivalent of US$112 million worth of public communications about Arctic Ocean’s environmental issues.
He had made his first Arctic expedition in 1989, set up the world’s first guide service to the North Pole in 1995, and co-organised the first all-women expedition to the North Pole (1997).
Hadow’s affinity with the polar regions and its wildlife began through his extraordinary childhood connection with the dying words of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (‘Scott of the Antarctic’) and his son, the world-renown naturalist and WWF founder, Sir Peter Scott.