High Altitude Society column: Actively Green sustainable businesses awarded certifications | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society column: Actively Green sustainable businesses awarded certifications

The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail hosted the Actively Green Sustainable Business Certification awards event recently honoring those businesses that have made sustainability actionable in day-to-day operations and created action plans to drive success.

The Actively Green training and certification helps businesses save money, engage employees, practice environmental stewardship and model community leadership. The driving force and exemplary community leader behind Actively Green is Kim Langmaid, who is the founder and vice president of Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon.

Langmaid greeted the crowd and thanked the collaborative efforts of the founding program sponsors, including the town of Vail, Sustainable Travel International, Vail Valley Foundation and, of course, Walking Mountains, where her current role is director of sustainability and stewardship programs. Langmaid was sure to thank her Walking Mountains sustainability team members, Melissa Kirr and Kira Koppel.

"In addition, I want to thank the town of Vail. … They see Actively Green as a great economic development strategy in the community," Landmaid said. "It is really important to have that support from the town of Vail. We also have support from Eagle County. I want to thank Jill Ryan, who is one of our county commissioners and a champion of sustainability."

'Efforts Add Up'

Ryan took to the podium and addressed the group.

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"I am thankful to be here tonight to honor all of you who participate in the Actively Green program," she said. "I understand that we have 53 businesses that have earned their certification. Congratulations to you all.

"Eagle County government has made climate action a top priority. We feel it is paramount to sustain the environment that sustains us economically, physically and spiritually. … One of our strategies is to support the Actively Green program because it helps engage businesses and county residents in sustainable, earth-friendly practices, and it is a good investment, many times resulting in a direct monetary return on investment from energy savings."

Ryan closed by saying, "Our individual efforts do add up. So, please keep doing what you are doing."

Sam Hummel, of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, talked about the remarkable engagement of our local business community.

"I am envious of the opportunities that you have and the collaboration that you already have … and I hope that you will continue to leverage them. When you do the work of trying to figure out what is the most sustainable thing to do from a social, environmental and economic perspective, you are doing the hard work that we have to do to get to a future in which our world is truly sustainable. It is the rubber meets the road.

"It is a privilege for me to be here, hearing about how so many of you are doing the work. I really enjoyed hearing about it, and I am inspired by it. … Actively Green has stepped up to the plate. You have a lot going for you, and I think that you can be a real example for many."

Langmaid presented certifications to 18 newly certified businesses this year. You will recognize many of these reputable businesses, including R.A. Nelson, Manor Vail Lodge, Poste Montane Lodge, Beaver Divers, Antlers at Vail, The Bookworm of Edwards, iTrip Vacations Vail/Beaver Creek, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, American Plumbing, Heating and Solar and Inn and Suites at Riverwalk.

For more information, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/actively-green-certified-business.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.