As we all know, resort riding and skiing is an energy intensive recreation. While resorts have generally been a bit slow off the mark to reduce their greenhouse emissions here in Australia, there are some heartening developments happening.
One example of leadership comes from Thredbo resort in NSW.
Thredbo has dedicated a weekend to environmental awareness, sustainability and education from 27 July until 29 July. While this will feature a local launch of Protect Our Winters (POW) check here for details, which include a ‘hike for POW’ to the summit of Kosciuszko and other events with POW ambassador and professional skier Chris Davenport, the resort will also use the event to announce its recent environmental initiatives.
Thredbo say that the initiatives it is highlighting over the weekend ‘are all aimed at protecting winter and the unique snow environments in Australia’.
Energy use. The largest single use of energy in a ski resort will be the lifting operations and the snow making. Thredbo has announced that 100% of its lifting and snowmaking electricity will be offset for winter 2018 ‘thanks to a unique partnership with Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project (ALFA)’.
ALFA is a not-for-profit company owned by Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land who use strategic fire management activities to reduce the extent and severity of destructive late-dry-season wildfires and in doing so reduce the fire-generated emissions of greenhouse gases. Aboriginal ranger groups undertake aerial and ground burning in the early dry season to reduce fuel loads, protect important environmental and cultural sites and to establish a mosaic of low intensity burns around and within the project area. This reduces emissions as the resultant fires are less intense and overall less country is burnt each year.
To date, the fire projects in Arnhem Land have been issued with 1.8 million ACCUs representing an abatement of 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (one ACCU is the equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide). Of the 45.4 million ACCUs issued by the Clean Energy Regulator in Australia across all approved methodologies, the fire projects in Arnhem Land account for 4 % of the total ACCU production. The fire projects in Arnhem Land therefore make a very real contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The purchase of ALFA generated ACCUs supports Aboriginal people in returning to, remaining on and managing their country, the protection of biodiversity, the preservation and transfer of knowledge, the maintenance of Aboriginal languages and the wellbeing of traditional custodians.
Thredbo have purchased 4,700 ACCUs in Thredbo’s name. One ACCU is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 and by purchasing 4,700 ALFA’s ACCU’s Thredbo is offsetting emissions equivalent to those created by the energy consumption used for all snowmaking and lift operations for the 2018 snow season.
It will also support National Tree Day (Sunday 29 July) by encouraging all guests to offset their journey emissions by matching all guest tree purchases / donations over the weekend through Thredbo’s vehicle offset partnership with Greenfleet.
Since 2009 Thredbo have partnered with Greenfleet to offset the carbon emissions from its entire fleet of cars and snow cats. And in 2014, in what was a global first at the time, started a forestry carbon offset program for guests where visitors can offset their car emissions from their journey to Thredbo by purchasing a $4.00 Greenfleet tree on Thredbo’s estore.
Since 2014, Thredbo guests have offset nearly 8,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by planting over 30,000 trees.
Since Thredbo joined POW in July 2017, it “has placed environmental issues at the top of its agenda and implemented a number of initiatives to help reduce the human impact of the environment”.
Over the weekend Thredbo will also be celebrating National Tree Day by promoting its long running partnership with Greenfleet.
Over the weekend, Thredbo resort will be encouraging all guests to purchase a tree and will be matching all donations that guests make throughout the entire weekend.
Education. Resorts need to take a leadership role in educating visitors about climate change, the threat of climate change to winter and snow, and ways that visitors can support good initiatives and reduce their greenhouse impact. In previous years the ‘Keep Winter Cool’ program was supported by most resorts, but this sort of education initiatives have waned in recent times. So the recent affiliation of resorts like Falls Creek and Thredbo with POW is a welcome development.
Over the weekend, Thredbo is hosting a ‘Hike to Kozzie’ and an information night lead by international free-skiing legend and POW board member Chris Davenport.
Other environmental initiatives.
- This winter all Thredbo staff members will be provided a free reusable collapsible coffee cups. This will save in total a huge 42,000 disposable cups from going to landfill over the season. The Thredbo collapsible cups are available to all guests to purchase at any Thredbo outlet or coffee shop.
- Solar Powered Leisure Centre – a large scale solar system was installed on the curved roof of the Thredbo Leisure Centre. With around 290 panels, the system is 20 times the size of one at your average house and is set to supply close to 20% of the centre’s electricity.
- All Thredbo owned food, beverage and retail outlets will remove single use plastic bags, moving to biodegradable and commercially compostable packaging, cutlery and paper straws.
To find out more about Thredbo’s environmental initiatives head over to thredbo.com.au/about-thredbo/environment.