XANTERRA PARKS & RESORTS’ FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: YELLOWSTONE GIFTS IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK RECEIVES RETAIL SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
Yellowstone’s newest gift store – “For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts” – has received a special sustainability award from the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) in the category “Consumer Education & Outreach.”
A.R.E. is a non-profit trade association representing the retail environments industry. More than 800 member companies include store fixture suppliers, retail design firms, suppliers of visual merchandising products, and suppliers of materials and equipment for the retail environments industry.
Conceived, designed and operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the store opened in 2009 and was dedicated in January, 2010. Xanterra converted an existing gift shop in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel into an interpretive facility dedicated to informing park visitors about climate change and offering environmentally friendly products.
“Our sole purpose in opening this store is to inspire visitors to help protect national parks,” said Beth Pratt, director of environmental affairs for Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations and the driving force behind the store. “In addition, informing people how factors like climate change affect the plant life and wildlife in our parks helps them to understand how our environmental choices affect the whole planet.”
Materials used in the remodeling of the store were reclaimed, recycled or sourced from sustainable operations. Shelving was constructed out of reclaimed wood, some of it from buildings in the park, including flooring from the Old Faithful Inn and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The new floor was constructed of Tamarac harvested from a sustainable forest in the Rocky Mountain Region. Lighting comes from energy-efficient, minimum-impact LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) bulbs.
Displays include information on the threats climate change poses to our national parks, what the various entities in the park are doing to minimize their environmental impacts and what techniques visitors can use at home. The displays will also change over time based upon new data as well as feedback from park visitors and company employees.
Products in the facility are accompanied by “sustainability scorecards” that provide comprehensive information on the impact the retail items have on the environment. This transparency allows consumers to better quantify the product’s environmental impact and to make informed choices when purchasing items. Xanterra believes the scorecard concept is the first of its kind for a retail operation.
Each product scorecard score measures the sustainable practice of the company and environmental attributes of the product. The 16 attributes – or categories – include organic, recycled content, recyclable, rapidly renewable materials, biodegradable, compostable, locally made, made in the USA, made with renewable energy, sustainable packaging, cruelty free, fair trade certified, socially responsible practices, supports non-profit organizations, conventional and other sustainable attribute.
In addition to the product attributes and product origination information, the scorecard rates the product’s environmental impact on a scale of one to 10. The scorecards also include additional information about the product’s manufacturer.
Xanterra’s environmental program, called Ecologix, is widespread. Last year the company diverted 73 percent of its solid waste from landfills into other areas such as recycling, reusing and composting. Over the past nine years the company has reduced its overall energy use by 14 percent and its water usage by 25 percent. Xanterra recently began using amenities such as cruelty-free shampoo, conditioner and amenities bottles made of corn starch that are compostable. This single initiative will divert more than 280,000 plastic bottles – or nine tons – annually from the waste stream.
For more information on Xanterra’s environmental initiatives in Yellowstone, visit www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/Future-Generations-5655.html.
General reservations for accommodations, tours and activities can be made by calling Xanterra’s Yellowstone reservations at 307-344-7311, toll-free at 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375).