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Vail Resorts: Zero Net Operating Footprint by 2030
Vail Resorts Makes an Epic Promise – Commits to Zero Net Operating Footprint by 2030
Zero Net Emissions
Zero Waste to Landfill
Zero Net Operating Impact on Forests & Habitat
BROOMFIELD, Colo. –– Vail Resorts, Inc. announced that the Company will aggressively pursue a comprehensive sustainability commitment, called “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint”. This ambitious undertaking, announced to employees at a companywide event today, commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
“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,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “As a growing global company so deeply connected to the outdoors, we are making a commitment to address our most pressing global environmental challenge and protect our local communities and natural resources. Through improved business practices, capital investment and continued innovation and environmental stewardship, we are setting a goal of achieving a zero net operating footprint by 2030. With our ‘Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint’, Vail Resorts is both doing the right thing for the environment and for our business.”
“It’s the leadership of companies like Vail Resorts that recognize that this is good business and good for the environment that will truly make a difference in the world,” said Carl Pope, co-author of Climate of Hope and former head of the Sierra Club. “We will combat climate change through commitments such as this and others from cities, municipalities and companies across the country.”
Inspired by Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental commitment, the Company intends to go beyond setting a partial emissions reduction target by executing on a more expansive and ambitious plan. “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint” comprises three pillars: emissions, waste, and forests and habitats, with a thoughtful approach to each that was developed in consultation with leading sustainability experts in the industry.
Zero net emissions by 2030
Vail Resorts will achieve net zero emissions in its operations by 2030 through the following initiatives:
- Reducing the Company’s electricity and natural gas use by another 15 percent – in addition to the 19 percent already achieved – by improving operating practices and investing $25 million in innovative, energy-saving projects, such as low-energy snowmaking equipment, green building design and construction, and more efficient grooming practices and equipment.
- Since 2008, Vail Resorts has implemented an aggressive plan to reduce its electricity and natural gas use and has already achieved a 19 percent reduction, after adjusting for acquisitions and new business locations.
- Purchasing 100 percent renewable energy equivalent to Vail Resorts’ total electrical energy use and working with utilities and local, regional and national governments to bring more renewable energy to the grids where the Company operates its resorts.
- The Company is already a member of Ceres Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy as well as RE100, a global collaborative initiative of influential companies committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity.
- Investing in programs such as tree planting to offset the use of other types of energy (e.g., gasoline and diesel).
- Engaging with the Company’s vendors and suppliers to identify and collaborate on opportunities for them to reduce their emissions and environmental impact.
- Providing resort guests with information and opportunities for them to reduce or offset their carbon footprint.
- Sharing the Company’s progress in achieving its “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint” goals in an annual sustainability report following the fiscal year ending July 2018, which will follow the Global Reporting Initiative’s standard.
- Vail Resorts intends to achieve a 50 percent reduction in its net emissions by 2025, based on 2016 levels.
Zero waste to landfill by 2030
Vail Resorts plans to achieve its 2030 goal of “zero waste to landfill” by diverting 100 percent of the waste from its operations to more sustainable pathways. Currently at a 40 percent waste diversion rate across its entire operations, the Company has set its sights on an interim target of diverting 50 percent of its waste by 2020. Vail Resorts plans to achieve this goal by:
- Improving its recycling and composting program.
- Engaging with vendors to reduce packaging and to source recyclable and compostable products.
- Working with local resort communities to increase options for reuse and diversion.
- Increasing awareness and engagement with employees and guests through signage, labeling and training.
Zero net operating impact to forests and wildlife habitat
To protect the spectacular mountain landscapes in which Vail Resorts operates, the Company commits to the following initiatives:
- Minimizing or eliminating the impact of any future resort development.
- 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, resulting in healthier, more resilient forests.
- Continuing and expanding Vail Resorts’ existing commitments to partner with and fund local organizations focused on the health of forests, habitat and wildlife. In 2016, for example, the Company contributed more than $1 million to 50 environmental stewardship projects through direct grants, the Company’s $1 guest donation initiative, and the 1% for the Forest commitment, made in partnership with the National Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
Vail Resorts’ “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint” will enable resort guests – visiting Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan – and its more than 30,000 employees the opportunity to enjoy the natural environment and resources without leaving an impact.
For more information about Vail Resorts’ “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint”, visit www.epicpromise.com/zerofootprint.
What Experts are Saying
• “We applaud Vail Resorts for their bold leadership and commitments that will help safeguard and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. We are also thrilled to welcome Vail Resorts to the Ceres BICEP Network and look forward to working with them as they become a more powerful voice for stronger climate and clean energy policies.” – Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President
• "We’re delighted to welcome Vail Resorts to RE100, as our first member from the tourism industry. Vail Resorts is demonstrating clear leadership in its commitment to source 100% renewable electricity – a key step in helping the company reach net-zero emissions by 2030. We look forward to others following this example.” – Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at the Climate Group
• "Congratulations to Vail Resorts for making such a bold environmental commitment. When companies do right by the planet, they do right by us all. I particularly appreciate their creation of even more demand for renewable energy. Here’s hoping many companies are inspired by Vail Resorts and create their own ambitious commitments. It’s what the world needs now. It also happens to make great business sense." – L. Hunter Lovins, President and Founder, Natural Capitalism Solutions
• "As a partner of Vail Resorts “1% for the Forest” initiative, we commend Vail Resorts for launching “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint. Their commitment to zero net emissions and zero waste to landfills by 2030 and zero operating impact to forests and habitat is a positive step in the right direction. The challenges facing the environment require all of us to do more to protect and preserve our natural world.” – Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director for The Nature Conservancy.
• "Vail Resorts has been a committed partner of the National Forest Foundation for more than a decade. This initiative marks an exciting expansion of our work together and demonstrates Vail Resorts’ commitment to the National Forests where so many of its resorts are located. We commend Vail on its efforts and look forward to improving our shared National Forests together.” – Mary Mitsos, National Forest Foundation President
• “Vail Resorts has once again raised the bar, this time with today’s bold announcement committing to a zero net operating footprint. We are so excited to be working alongside a partner who is willing to create incredible recreation opportunities and protect our environment, both locally and globally. We look forward to expanding our partnership to help Vail Resorts achieve this wonderful promise to our future.” – Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Service Supervisor, White River National Forest, U.S. Forest Service