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Vail Valley Gets “ACTIVELY GREEN” for 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Vail Valley Gets “ACTIVELY GREEN” for 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Kim Langmaid is VP, Director of Sustainability and Stewardship at Walking Mountains Science Center

How can the world’s largest alpine ski race lead to sustainable tourism? During February 2-15, 2015 the Vail Valley will be hosting the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, showcasing athletes from over 70 nations with an estimated 750 million television viewers. In preparation for the event many community committees and volunteers are playing an active role. Committees have been asked by the event organizer, the Vail Valley Foundation, to consider how this incredible ski race can help spawn local innovation and leave a long-term legacy that benefits the community. This is how the “Actively Green 2015” sustainable destination initiative was born.

“Actively Green 2015” is a project of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in collaboration with local governments, businesses, and organizations to adopt sustainability best-practices at the grassroots level. The global nonprofit Sustainable Travel International is also a partner, providing expertise and a framework to establish and sustain the “Actively Green 2015” program into the future. The goal is to train and certify 100 businesses and organizations before February 2015; and beyond that to work toward becoming a recognized sustainable destination under the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s new destination level standards.

Sustainable tourism will be an outcome of “Actively Green 2015”. Adopting sustainability best-practices into organizational and community culture creates economic benefits. These benefits include: saving money through conserving energy and water and reducing waste, increasing positive employee engagement and leadership, increasing marketing potential and appealing to socially and environmentally responsible travelers and a younger demographic, being recognized as a community leader, contributing to local environmental stewardship, and collectively working together to help fuel economic development in a way that is compatible with the fragile mountain environment and existing natural resources.

In order to become certified through the “Actively Green 2015” program there is an initial training and then there are a minimum of 20 baseline criteria that each participating business or organization must accomplish. The framework is based on Sustainable Travel International’s STEP program which includes a sustainability management system database each participant uses to create a sustainability action plan, track their data, and monitor their progress. So far, over 70 businesses and organizations have participated and joined the race to be Actively Green by 2015. Sustainability is a journey and the “Actively Green 2015” framework makes it actionable, measurable and verifiable. More information is available at www.activelygreen2015.com

Kim Langmaid is VP, Director of Sustainability and Stewardship at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, CO and a member of the Environment Committee of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. You can reach her at kiml@walkingmountains.org.


 

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