by Natasha Wolff | January 29, 2024 11:21 am
For 25 years, Aspen One, the parent company of Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen Hospitality and AspenX, has questioned the status quo of environmentalism and led the industry in sustainability action and advocacy. Recently, it launched its Sustainability Report, “25 Years of Questions,” and challenged how environmentalism is being approached by not only the rest of the ski industry but by other businesses. The report not only rejects the conventional sustainable business practices of chronicling carbon offsets or operational greening, but considers those approaches to be complicit in the larger issue of fossil fuels and global warming. The report instead asks: what if businesses used their power, money and voice to drive political and systemic change? What if the outdoor industry carried as much political clout as the NRA? What if we spent less time tracking carbon offsets and more time lobbying for a carbon tax? The report showcases examples of how Aspen One is tackling these problems and modeling solutions to the industry (a no-new-gas building policy, or the recent passing of the largest climate bill in history). The report boldly rejects conventional sustainable business practices like carbon offsets, net zero promises and an exclusive focus on tracking operational greening, calling those actions complicit with the fossil fuel industry. The company aims to promote movement building, and to convene next-generation thinkers to double down on the fight against climate change. “Net zero, offsets, carbon targets, carbon neutrality. Those aren’t real climate solutions,” says Aspen One SVP of Sustainability, Auden Schendler. “As more companies than ever jump on the sustainability train, planet-cooking emissions continue to rise. What if businesses used influence, voice, and money to drive political change?” Aspen One’s sustainability strategy is focused on using the company’s unique influence to drive political and systemic change. Tactics to this end include pressuring partners and trade groups, changing the national conversation on carbon taxation and natural gas use, and mobilizing the outdoor community and beyond for lobbying power. “Our heritage as a leader in promoting environmental solutions continues beyond the report’s 25th year—and now with the expanded reach and resources of Aspen One and its three business units,” says Aspen One CEO Dave Tanner. “Our new sustainability strategy is intentionally provocative, focusing not on just incremental operational greening, but on driving the broader systemic change that is needed to overcome the greatest challenge of our age.”
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