Time for business to get green | VailDaily.com

Time for business to get green

Michael RobinsonVail, CO, Colorado

As a kid growing up, having red hair was not the easiest thing to live with. It seems that a quick jab or joke was always at the ready 364 days a year. The only day I was given a break, it seemed, was St. Patricks Day.So tomorrow, as you search your closet for something green, I invite you to consider how the Vail Valley has embraced a green philosophy and done so 365 days a year. Thanks to the efforts of valley power players including Eagle County, the town of Vail and Vail Resorts, our day-to-day habits are a bit more green. Hop on one of the towns hybrid buses or the valleywide ECO bus and you wont have to worry about wearing green tomorrow.It is to every business owners advantage to incorporate green principles whenever possible. Why? Vail Valley businesses must run with an environmental conscience knowing that it is our natural surroundings that lure guests, and guests directly correlate to success. Since Al Gore took home an Oscar for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, it seems a rush of counterpoints is surfacing to claim going green is just the trend du jour. I disagree, and heres proof: The March issue of Fast Company magazine profiles the Fast 50 profit-driven companies who aid the planet. At No.1 is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last fall, the California governor spearheaded legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, a move that is expected to be felt worldwide. Schwarzenegger is a proponent of using a market-based system to give incentives to corporations conducting green business. So is the day of Milton Friedmans capitalism gone? The old school of capitalism believed the one and only social responsibility of a business was to engage in activities designed to increase profits. Has this free-market manifesto been replaced by a corporate mentality with a halo made of hemp? Like it or not, the environment cannot be ignored, and it needs the backing of corporate America. In fact, I would argue that environmental consciousness is now part of corporate responsibility, and its here to stay. A business that succeeds without adopting a green philosophy is now considered backward. I believe that it will soon be assumed that the business community is actually a partner is protecting our natural resources and no longer Green Enemy No. 1. Resource scarcity is a reality with the potential to impact numerous industries. For that reason, the Partnership applauds Vail Resorts announcement of its EverVail project, predicted to be one of the most ambitious and largest resort development in North America with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Symbolically, it speaks to the resort companys relationship with the environment. In addition to the pack it in, pack it out policy Vail Resorts promotes, its environmental team works to put numbers on its sustainability projects. The 1.73 million gallons of potable water the company saves every year could fill 9.25 Olympic-size swimming pools, or approximately 7,500 cases of beer assuming beer, is 90 percent water. All of the above examples show how eco-tourism, which aims to be both ecologically and socially conscious, is central to the valleys culture. Research shows that green corporations and environmentally conscious vacationers decide where to travel based on a destinations ecological features. Vail captured the attention of Front Range visitors with the Windmill Project, set to debut next week. By converting wind into changing light patterns, the display is an innovative, thought-provoking display that wonderfully complements Vail Resorts efforts to be powered by wind.The Partnership is doing its part by moving into Traer Creek Plaza in Avon, which is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council. Traer Creek used recycled products in construction and non-potable water sources for irrigation, and it has a sod roof for superior insulation and lower energy use. As construction continues on our new space, were taking care to ensure that the environmental focus is as evident inside our office as it is outside. From the lights in our new conference room to our corn carpet, the Vail Valley Partnership is walking the walk.So when you are drinking green beer and eating green bread tomorrow, think of another green act you as an individual or business owner can do. If youre not sure how, take the words of Irish poet W.B. Yeats, who said, Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire. Eaglevalleyalliance.org is a great place to start. Lets all run green together, and Happy St. Patricks Day.

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