Inspired by the environmental commitment of Whistler Blackcomb, a recent Vail Resorts (VR) acquisition, VR will aggressively pursue a comprehensive sustainability commitment across all its resorts, called “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.” The pledge commits VR to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030, and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
“We are setting a goal of achieving a zero net operating footprint by 2030,” declared Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts.
“Everything we do at Vail Resorts is driven by the spectacular natural surroundings where our employees, guests and communities live, work and play. The environment is our business, and we have a special obligation to protect it,” Katz said. “We are making a commitment to address our most pressing global environmental challenge.”
VR will pursue its goals through improved business practices, capital investment, and “continued innovation and environmental stewardship,” Katz added.
To achieve its energy goal, VR will pursue the following initiatives:
• Reduce electricity and natural gas use by another 15 percent – in addition to the 19 percent already achieved since 2008 – through improved operating practices and investing $25 million in energy-saving projects, from low-e snowmaking to greener buildings.
• Purchase 100 percent renewable energy equivalent to VR’s total electrical energy use and working with utilities and local, regional and national governments to bring more renewable energy to the grids where VR operates its resorts.
• Invest in programs, such as tree planting, to offset use of other types of energy (e.g., gasoline and diesel).
• Collaborate with vendors and suppliers on opportunities to reduce their emissions and environmental impact.
• Provide resort guests with opportunities to reduce or offset their carbon footprint.
VR’s interim goal is to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by 2025, based on 2016 levels.
To achieve “zero waste to landfill,” VR will divert 100 percent of waste from operations to more sustainable pathways, through:
• improved recycling and composting programs.
• collaboration with vendors to reduce packaging and to source recyclable and compostable products.
• coordination with local resort communities to increase options for reuse and diversion.
• increased awareness and engagement with employees and guests through signage, labeling and training.
To date, VR has achieved a 40 percent waste diversion rate, and has set an interim target of diverting 50 percent of its waste by 2020.
To achieve zero net operating impact to forests and habitat, VR plans to:
• Minimize or eliminate the impact of future resort developments.
• Plant or restore an acre of forest for every acre of forest displaced by VR’s operations, to improve species and age diversity and foster healthier, more resilient forests.
• Expand existing partnerships and fund local organizations focused on the health of forests, habitat and wildlife, such as VR’s contributions of more than $1 million to environmental stewardship projects through direct grants, VR’s $1 guest donation initiative, and its 1% for the Forest commitment to the National Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
For more information, visit www.epicpromise.com/zerofootprint.