Vail Resorts and RockResorts Echo Program
When Laurance S. Rockefeller founded RockResorts in 1956, he created luxury hotels and resorts that respected and celebrated the natural environment, recognizing that the beautiful properties and their unique surroundings must be preserved and protected. In 2007, RockResorts formally announced a commitment to return to its original legacy of leadership in protecting the spectacular natural environment surrounding its iconic resorts. As part of this commitment, the company launched a series of comprehensive sustainability initiatives across the full spectrum of its operations, including those below.
Vail Resorts Echo, the Company’s social responsibility and environmental stewardship program, enables the preservation and care for local communities and the spectacular natural environment that surrounds its resorts. It’s a philosophical approach to how Vail Resorts operates its business, being continually aware of how decisions and actions resonate with five stakeholders: employees, shareholders, guests, communities and the environment. Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: charitable giving, volunteerism and environmental stewardship.
Overall Energy Reduction
The Company launched Target 10% and vowed to reduce its 2008-09 energy use by five percent, another five percent by the end of 2010 and a total of 20 percent by 2020. Having achievd the first 10% savings, work is underway to achieve the second 10% in energy savings. Energy saving measures include using more efficient lighting, new or improved heating and air conditioning systems, reducing vehicle idling time, automated energy systems, and integrating alternative energy sources whenever possible.
Sustainable Local and Organic Cuisine
RockResorts showcases cuisine created with local/regional organic and sustainable ingredients across all resort properties. This includes cuisine served in our restaurants, room service menus and special events hosted at the resorts, such as weddings, reunions, business meetings and conferences. Creating dishes with locally raised, natural meats and poultry in all restaurants with features that include:
- Seasonal and local and regional products
- Offering hormone free dairy products
- Use of sustainable seafood
- Eliminating all artificial Trans Fats
- Serving 100 percent Certified Organic Starbucks coffee and Fair-Trade Café Estima espresso blend
- Offering a minimum of six organic or biodynamic wine choices throughout all RockResorts restaurants
- On-site herb and vegetable gardens
- Food waste composting
Environmentally Engaged Iconic Weddings & Vail Resorts Echo Meetings
RockResorts gives meeting planners the opportunity to arrange events that will incorporate sustainable practices in every facet of a group’s experience. These elements include sustainable food and beverage options, environmentally friendly sustainable decor, recycling, and transportation options to minimize travel impacts. For weddings, RockResorts works with bridal parties to integrate more personal sustainability practices in their special occasion without sacrificing their original vision. These efforts include using indigenous plants as centerpieces, serving organic food and providing access to community-based volunteer projects in the surrounding region for family and guests. www.iconicweddings.com
Water on the Rocks
In 2010, RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality tapped into a new program to eliminate nearly all plastic water bottles in guest operations by replacing them with reusable bottles and refilling stations. Between all RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality properties, an estimated 400,000 plastic water bottles will be saved from the waste stream annually as well as nearly 3,000 barrels of oil that would be required to manufacture and ship the plastic bottles.
Greener Guest Rooms
RockResorts is focused on “greening” guest rooms in each hotel. In 2009, the company introduced a 10-point plus program that included many sustainable elements such as: in-room recycling, towel and linen reuse, recycled content paper products, low toxic and no- or low- odor paints and finishes, safer, environmentally-preferable cleaning products, custom formulated natural, essential oil-based amenities, organic and natural mini bar items, energy efficient lighting and water conserving fixtures.
RockResorts’ parent company, Vail Resorts, operates eight golf courses near RockResorts properties, six of which are currently certified within the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program. The company standard is to bring all resorts into the program. In cooperation with Audubon International and other organizations, the company is constantly looking for other measures that go beyond Audubon standards including community stewardship projects, habitat restoration, integrating green practices into other course facilities, and supporting environmental practices with neighboring courses.
Local Forest and Environmental Conservation
In 2006, all Colorado RockResorts and lodging properties launched an innovative partnership with their guests and the National Forest Foundation through which the Company gives guests the option of donating $1 for each night of their stay to the foundation’s on-the-ground conservation efforts in Colorado’s national forests. The $1 donation is then matched with $.50 from the National Forest Foundation and the entire $1.50 is contributed to local conservation projects in the forest including trail and stream restoration and wildlife habitat enhancement. This initiative is the largest program of its kind in the country. Through this program, more than $2 million has been contributed to date to conservation efforts in the White River National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin in California.
Similar conservation-based voluntary donation programs are in place at all RockResorts outside of Colorado.