In time for Earth Day, Mediacorp Canada named Whistler Blackcomb as one of Canada's Greenest Employers, while also recognizing the efforts of the resort's employees in taking the initiative.
This is the third year for the Canada's Greenest Employers competition, the results of which will be published in Maclean's magazine.
"This recognition could only have happened through the commitment of each one of our staff, to whom I am profoundly grateful," said Arthur DeJong, manger of mountain planning and environmental resources for Whistler Blackcomb. "The road to becoming truly sustainable will be long and difficult, however the growing commitment and action at all levels of our company inspire me to believe this is possible."
In recent years Whistler Blackcomb has left no stone unturned, partnering with B.C. Hydro's PowerSmart program and Sempa Power to improve energy efficiency, while continuing to ramp up environmental programs like waste reduction and recycling. For the past 11 years Whistler Blackcomb has sponsored a Habitat Improvement Team that takes on clean-up and restoration projects.
The judges at Mediacorp also recognized Whistler Blackcomb's largest environmental initiative to date, the run of river power project on Fitzsimmons Creek. The $32 million power project should be complete by the end of 2009, and will produce 33.5 gigawatt hours of hydro electricity each year, enough to completely offset Whistler Blackcomb's entire operations through winter and summer seasons.
Since 2005 Whistler Blackcomb has reduced waste by 50 per cent, and the food and beverage department now recycles more than 80 per cent of beverage containers. One example could be the recent move to reusable cups at water stations.
In terms of energy consumption, Whistler Blackcomb has managed to cut its energy use by 16 per cent annually through retrofits, behavioral changes and new energy efficient fixtures and timers.
The employees themselves donate to a Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Environmental Fund, $2 per paycheque, which goes to projects in the valley.