Vail Resorts plans to improve its recycling and composting program, engage with vendors to reduce packaging and to source recyclable and compostable products, work with local resort communities to increase options for reuse and diversion, and increase awareness and engagement with employees and guests through signage, labeling and training in order to reach zero waste to landfill by 2030, the company says. The goal is part of its just-announced “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint,” which also includes a commitment to reach zero net emissions by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
Plans to Reach Zero Impact
Though “zero impact” may sound like a near-impossible feat for a ski resort company, Vail says it plans to “minimize or eliminate the impact of any future resort development” by planting or restoring an acre of forest for every acre of forest displaced by the company’s operations, with the goal of achieving improved species and age diversity. The company will also expand on its existing commitments to partner with and fund local organizations focused on the health of forests, habitat and wildlife. In 2016, for example, Vail Resorts contributed more than $1 million to 50 environmental stewardship projects through direct grants, its $1 guest donation initiative, and the 1% for the Forest commitment, made in partnership with the National Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
Energy Savings Initiatives
As part of the company’s zero net emissions goal, Vail Resorts plans to invest $25 million in energy saving projects like low-energy snowmaking equipment, green building design and construction, and more efficient grooming practices and equipment. This will reduce the company’s electricity and natural gas use by 15%, according to Vail.
Vail Resorts will also purchase 100% renewable energy equivalent to its total electrical energy use, and will work with utilities and local governments to bring more renewable energy to the grids where Vail operates its resorts.
The company says it will share its progress in an annual sustainability report following the fiscal year ending July 2018; the report will follow the Global Reporting Initiative’s standard.
I Am Pro Snow…
Last spring, three New York State ski resorts – Belleayre, Gore Mountain, and Whiteface Mountain – pledged to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030. The resorts joined The Climate Reality Project, I Am Pro Snow – 100% Committed, to help stop climate change. The 100% Committed initiative corresponds with Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, launched last August, which requires that half of all electricity used statewide come from renewable sources by 2030.