Last week, a group of local businesses and organizations gathered at the Antlers Lodge to kick off an innovative and collaborative sustainability initiative for the Vail Valley, leading up to the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
An initiative of the 2015 Environmental Committee, the program is called “Actively Green 2015” and, over the next 16 months, the goal is to train and certify 100 Vail Valley businesses in sustainability best practices. This program is a partnership between the globally recognized nonprofit Sustainable Travel International, the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, the town of Vail and the Vail Valley Foundation.
I’d like to recognize the businesses and organizations leading the way who participated in the first of a series of trainings: Alpine Bank, Antlers Lodge, Christie Lodge, Colorado Mountain College, EcoPreserve, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Four Seasons, Inn and Suites at Riverwalk, Lions Square Lodge, Nova Guides, Pan for Hire Catering, The Sebastian, Tivoli Lodge, town of Vail, Vail Mountain Haus, Vail Resorts and The Wren/East West Resorts.
Over the next several months, these businesses and organizations will incorporate sustainability systems into their operations and apply for eco-certification. The Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability and Sustainable Travel International are providing technical expertise, resources and data tracking to help measure the valley’s progress along the way to becoming a sustainable travel destination, with a second training session scheduled to be offered in early November.
In addition to the two-day training, the Sonnenalp Hotel hosted a group of local stakeholders, representing government, businesses and other organizations, allowing them to share their ideas about supporting the 2015 Actively Green initiative and creating valley-wide sustainability goals. Some of the goals discussed include reducing the use of plastic water bottles and bags, reducing electric energy use 15 percent by 2015 and increasing annual waste diversion from 19 to 25 percent by 2015.
Transforming the Vail Valley into a globally recognized sustainable destination will take more than “a village.” It will take all of this community’s governmental entities, businesses, districts and other supporting organizations in not only sharing a vision, but collaborating together.
Thanks to our sponsors: Antlers at Vail, Sonnenalp Hotel, town of Vail, the Vail Valley Foundation and the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee, as well as to everyone else who attended last week to help kick off this exciting new legacy project for the Vail Valley.
President and CEO, Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability; member of the 2015 FIS World Ski Championships Environmental Committee