WASHINGTON - Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the country's largest park and resort management company, Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, and World Wildlife Fund today announced Xanterra's commitment to cut its heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions as part of WWF's Climate Savers initiative.
"World Wildlife Fund is excited that approximately 17 million people who visit the parks and resorts where Xanterra's lodges, restaurants and retail operations are located will be able to see and hear about the solutions to global warming," commented Katherine Silverthorne, director, U.S. Climate Change Program, World Wildlife Fund. "Ultimately, the survival of many of our national parks depends on such solutions. It's fitting that Xanterra, as the nation's largest park management company, lead the way in helping to slow global warming and protect wildlife and wild spaces."
As part of the Climate Savers agreement, WWF and Xanterra will work together to educate the public about available solutions to climate change, including on-site education of Xanterra's customers in national parks.
"As a company working in some of the most beautiful places on Earth - national and state parks - Xanterra knows it has a primary responsibility to help protect these natural treasures from global warming while continuing to provide high quality services to guests," said Chris Lane, senior director of environmental affairs, Xanterra Parks & Resorts. "Businesses must integrate economic, human, and ecologic systems, and for us that means making tangible and measurable changes in how we do business - for example, powering our facilities using more renewable energy; heating, cooling, and lighting our buildings with more efficient technologies; serving more sustainable cuisine in our restaurants; selling more recyclable products in our retail stores; transporting our guests with less-polluting vehicles; and creating less waste while doing all of this."
Many of the solutions being implemented by Xanterra mirror steps individuals can take in their daily lives. Some solutions that might be observed by visitors to parks and resorts operated by Xanterra include:
- retrofitting more than 25,000 inefficient incandescent lamps with efficient compact fluorescent lamps that use 70 percent less electricity;
- purchasing more efficient, alternative fuel, and hybrid-electric vehicles;
- purchasing EPA Energy Star® compliant appliances and equipment;
- using more efficient and cleaner burning 4-stroke technology engines in all boats and snowmobiles;
- factoring in the cost of energy efficiency when making decisions about what to purchase and where to invest; and
- using energy efficiency best practices in the design and construction of buildings at park concessions, offices and resort facilities.
Other innovative steps that Xanterra has begun "behind the scenes" include:
- increasing the amount of renewable energy purchases in Xanterra's power portfolio to at least 3 percent of its total purchases by the year 2015;
- implementing its unique "Energy Awareness in Food Service" program in all national park operations;
- designating and implementing a company-wide fuel-efficiency standard for vehicles;
- retrofitting mechanical systems including boilers and air conditioners with cleaner burning and more efficient technologies;
- using alternative and bio-diesel fuels to heat buildings; and
- educating and training employees to reduce and conserve energy in all operations.
Working with World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions, Xanterra will reduce its CO2 emissions 10 percent below its 2000 emissions levels by 2015. This target represents an approximate reduction of 9,308 tons of CO2 by 2015.
"Tackling global warming necessitates actions that reduce our dependency on fossil fuels by cutting consumption and increasing our use of available, innovative technologies, using renewable energy and adopting more efficient energy processes," noted Dr. Joseph Romm, executive director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions. "Companies in Climate Savers are acting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, gain cost savings early on, and set new standards of corporate environmental excellence. Xanterra's commitment also ensues that our national parks will benefit from the cleaner and more energy efficient measures the company will pursue."
Under this agreement, Xanterra becomes the first U.S. hospitality company to commit to an absolute CO2 reduction target and the eighth business to join WWF's Climate Savers initiative. In the Climate Savers initiative, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions work with companies like Sagawa Express, The Collins Companies, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Polaroid, Nike, and Lafarge to develop practical, cost-effective strategies that reduce emissions of CO2 and achieve energy efficiency goals.