The National Park Service recently honored Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts as a 2014 recipient of its annual Environmental Achievement Award for their comprehensive approach to sustainability through GreenPath®. GreenPath® is integrated throughout the Yellowstone operation and aligns closely with Federal Executive Order (EO) 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, and EO 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
Delaware North operates the retail concessions at twelve general stores in Yellowstone National Park. These stores provide retail, grocery and food and beverage service to millions of visitors in Yellowstone.
Their commitment to the environment through GreenPath® demonstrates a whole package approach towards environmental sustainability. GreenPath® has a deep commitment to environmental, energy and economic performance that coincides with EO 13514 and is integrated into all operations.
GreenPath, a formal Environmental Management System, has been registered to ISO 14001 standards and verified by a third party since 2003. Leadership and actions support positive improvements by reducing environmental impacts and supports the goals of EO 13514. We conserve natural resources (energy, water, and air), effectively manage waste (hazardous and non-hazardous), prevent pollution, and provide interpretation/education to associates and visitors of Yellowstone.
In 2013, DNC’s accomplishments directly support EO 13514 and continual improvement.
- A full lighting retrofit at the West Yellowstone Warehouse reduced energy intensity by reducing electricity use by 30%. This project focused on converting T12 and incandescent bulbs with efficient bulbs (CFL’s and T8 and T5 technologies). Operational systems were updated by installing motion sensors. Also, light switches in the back of the house were labeled with “Turn it Off” stickers to promote energy conservation. The project cost ~ $20,000; incentive programs contributed toward a 2.7 year return on investment saving 22,640 kw/hr and an average of $300/month. At the Grant Dormitory, solar thermal technology renewable energy and contributed to saving ~400 gallons of propane in 2013. Overall, the operation reduced electricity use 9% (182,990 kw/hr) and 2.8% reduction in propane (259,698 gal) in 2013.
- Fleet management efforts (carpooling, procurement, no-idling policy, optimization of use) were key to reducing unleaded fuel consumption 6% (1,561 gallons). To date, 16% of DNC’s fleet use alternative fueled vehicles/hybrid technologies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, 200 passes were provided to employees so that they were able to access a regional public transportation system.
- Potable water consumption is reduced through the use of efficient technology and behavior (serve water upon request and educational messages). Potable water is NOT used for landscaping and an Integrated Pest Management Program prohibits the use of chemicals to protect water quality. A 25% reduction in water consumption (2,560,100 gallons) in 2013 was
attributed to a leak detected and repaired in 2012. The purchase of highly efficient cleaning carts also reduces water consumption and chemicals.
- An Environmental Preferable Purchasing Policy (EPP) was updated in 2013 and considers sustainability factors, manufacturing processes, pollution prevention, minimizing toxic and hazardous substances, price, performance, and other selection criteria. To promote the program and direct visitors to products that have a reduced environmental impact, Delaware North provides labels/messaging that include Local, Organic, Environmentally Preferable, Made in the USA, and made of Post Consumer Content. Improvements of the EPP program supports sustainable food including: 22% of all products offered in grocery were local to Yellowstone, 50% of the entrees on food service menus were “Park Healthy Options”. Nearly 40% of all food ingredients are derived locally (within 500 miles). And, 100% of disposable dishware is compostable; all of which is converted to compost at the local facility.
- In May 2013, two additional water filling stations were installed at Fishing Bridge and Old Faithful Basin stores. With seven stores having designated water filling stations, Delaware North is leading the way in waste reduction and education regarding the impacts of single use plastic bottles and the importance of hydration. Messages were expanded beyond the filling stations to the coolers where single use bottled water is sold beside empty reusable beverage containers at similar price points.
- In 2013, Delaware North diverted 56% of their solid waste from the landfill; a 0.2% reduction from 2012 due to a number of factors including changes in the waste stream (plastic reduction), the composting facility shutdown and lack of a source for wood recycling, and sequestration (park closure). Waste management advanced with the installation of attractive and
interpretive bear proof recycling bins for public spaces and the continued education of associates. The public recycling bins located at each store were wrapped with historic Yellowstone photos and recycling decals to attract visitors.
- Community involvement is a part of GreenPath; an investment in employees and the communities where we live and operate is an important part of the business. Associates are highly engaged in the local communities and lend support to many organizations and events. Annually, Delaware North hosts the largest Earth Day Celebration in the Yellowstone region. We provide annual GreenPath training to ~ 800 associates annually. Annual community contributions to the Yellowstone area exceeded $40,000 and thousands of volunteer hours to local events and organizations. The 4th annual Earth Day educates over 200 children and adults about Leave No Trace, sustainability, wildlife safety, and more. Lastly, the Pathways to Yellowstone provides an opportunity for local businesses to showcase their products in the Park; seventeen artists appeared at 167 events in 2013.
- Received the 2013 Montana State EcoStar Award, the seventh time, for pollution prevention and waste reduction efforts.
DNC’s sustainability achievements in 2013 clearly demonstrate leadership, commitment and continual environmental improvement.