The “green” movement has introduced many new business practices for the Ski industry; however some laggards have been using the hype of this movement to enact minimal efficiency and sustainability measures and claim to be a “green” resort. The issue of green washing is pertinent in every industry; yet the backlash from consumers in the Ski industry could be devastating for the management organizations.
The tourism industry is based purely on selling an experience. The trend shows that consumers will increasingly continue demanding sustainable measures be taken. This point seems to be especially true for the affluent customers who have tendencies of being well educated, thus willing to spend more in order to do their part.
If an organization is discovered as green washing, the backlash can be immense. An organization known as the Ski Area Citizens Coalition is a watchdog in the industry and rates ski areas based upon their environmental impacts and mitigations measures. The organization grades each resort on a series of four categories equaling 230 points. The studies are skewed as an 81.7% is an A and a 61.3% is considered a C. The importance of this organization and the effects it has on the industry cannot be understated.
The organization shows to the public the real environmental grade each resort has. As a skier, I just assumed that Breckenridge would be highly rated on the list as they are a major Colorado Ski area and imaging matters. I was surprised to find that Breckenridge was ranked second to last with a score of 50.1%. As a consumer, I have never skied at Breckenridge, however as I am a Colorado Pass holder, I will choose not to frequent this location. The resort has lost out on business from me until their score improves, and I’m sure I am not the only person who doing this.
Green washing has misled the public, and the backlash may be substantial.
Ski Area Citizens Coalition