Whistler-Blackcomb wins environmental award 

Whistler-Blackcomb has been recognized for its environmental work by Tourism B.C.

The provincial tourism organization presented Whistler-Blackcomb with the Starfish award at its conference in Vancouver last month. The award recognized Whistler-Blackcomb’s comprehensive strategies ranging from conservation to education, noting that "the three Rs are not going to solve the world’s environmental problems."

Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager, Arthur DeJong, agrees.

"We are not an environmentally responsible company. We are on a journey towards environmental responsibility," DeJong says. "By definition, if one is entirely environmentally responsible, then they’re sustainable, and we all have a long way to go before we’re living in a sustainable community, working in a sustainable company at Whistler-Blackcomb."

What impressed the panel of judges most was Whistler-Blackcomb’s extensive Environmental Management Systems, the guide book which pays attention to all the environmental concerns and values within the company. The panel noted that Whistler-Blackcomb is meeting the triple bottom line, with a balanced approach to fulfilling social, environmental and economic needs.

"My hat is also off to the entire community," says DeJong. "I see us as a team, the entire resort. And a team will always move the ball further down the field than any one player."

DeJong and the judges agreed education was the key to tying all these efforts together, with special mention given to the mountains’ efforts to educate tourists. Flora, fauna and geological signage, information centres, bear viewing tours and plans for a world-class mountain ecology centre are the basis of that foundation.

"Looking into the future, a big part of us being a role model and a leader is education. We have people visiting us from all over the world and the more we tell our story of how we are protecting the environment, the more people can walk away with an inspiration to take those ideas home with them," DeJong said.

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