Is Our Thirst For Adventure Threatening Our Environment?
Climate change is a serious issue facing the international community and it is no longer a problem for future generations, but one that we must all address and find solutions for now. Global tourism and travel play a part in the changes we see happening around us and while they have an undeniable impact, experiencing the natural environment goes a long way in helping people develop an appreciation for it, which in turn helps people to care for it on a more fundamental level.
At Whistler Blackcomb, all of our employees live and play in these beautiful mountains. All of us appreciate the benefits of being outside in nature and we also see firsthand the impact of climate change. Whistler Blackcomb is consistently recognized for its environmental efforts because we have been working for three decades to fight the changes that we’ve seen coming. We have a Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource team that is dedicated to making sure when we are planning expansion, environmental impacts are studied and reduced. We endeavor to build recreational experiences inside ecosystems rather than change them, which is the challenge of enlightened development. While we acknowledge that there is still much work to be done, Whistler Blackcomb is uniquely positioned to address the effects of climate change and be an industry leader in helping to mitigate them. We aim to inspire others by setting a bench mark, a challenge to global tourism on footprint reduction. By demonstrating significant reductions are possible, we hope that others will follow suit and then we can all make a real impact.
Zero Operating Footprint
Whistler Blackcomb currently employs the 4 R’s with regards to waste (reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose) with an emphasis on the recycling component. Since 2000, Whistler Blackcomb has reduced our waste by more than 70%. The food and beverage department, by nature of their operations, contributes nearly 72% to the Whistler Blackcomb waste stream and are therefore a priority in ensuring successful waste management. In 2009, retrofits were made to the 3 major food and beverage locations to increase diversion through improved sorting efficiency, along with the addition of a compostable stream. This has been successful in improving diversion to 60%, but there is still 25% more diversion that can be achieved via optimal sorting based on results from the 2016 waste audit. If we purchase with the end in mind, reduce packaging, disposables, recycle and compost, we can reach zero waste.
In 2010, a micro hydro renewable energy plant, situated in the middle of Whistler Blackcomb underneath the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, began production. The project, built through a partnership with BC Hydro and Innergex, returns to the grid the equivalent of Whistler Blackcomb's annual demand. Not only is a Zero Operating Footprint possible, it represents good business. Today, our sustainability programs return over $1,000,000 annually in savings to our bottom line and help to improve efficiency and employee and guest satisfaction.
Key Result Areas
Whistler Blackcomb is committed to minimizing our consumption of fuel and electricity through behavioral changes, retrofits and clean technologies with a focus on assisting guest and resort community reductions.
2. Mountain Ecosystems
By identifying and protecting special places on the mountains, Whistler Blackcomb encourages a respectful relationship between the experiences of our guests with the health of the mountain ecosystem. We will continue to move beyond mitigation to take a restorative role with our mountain ecosystems by improving our operating procedures and design of projects.
Through responsible purchasing, innovative waste solutions, reuse and recycling, Whistler Blackcomb will strive for zero waste
4. Awareness and Education
Whistler Blackcomb strives to provide as many opportunities as possible for our staff and our guests to learn about sustainability and engage in our process.
5. Social Involvement
We see Whistler Blackcomb as a community within a community. As such, we try to be active partners and ensure open communication and cooperation while working to have a positive impact on the world around us.
6. Environmental Awards
At Whistler Blackcomb, we are grateful for the recognition we have received acknowledging our efforts toward sustainability.
7. Environmental Team
Meet the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental team.
8. Mountain Drinking Water
Water resources are managed by highly trained Staff experienced in water delivery.