Protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources have been among the most important corporate objectives of Weisse Arena Gruppe (WAG) for many years. Reto Fry helps to make the vision a reality.
Reto Fry, as environmental officer at WAG, you are responsible for everything to do with the environment and sustainability, or for the responsible use of resources. Why is environmental responsibility important for WAG?
For one, we want to offer sustainable holidays for our guests. In addition to this, there are also economic reasons for our environmental commitment. By saving energy, you also save money. It’s about climate protection above all else, which is an important issue for us. We rely on winter, our natural world and our landscape. They are the basis of our business. There is no reason not to do this, as it can only be good for everyone. Overall, we are trying to leave the smallest possible ecological footprint from our business activities.
When it comes to the environment and sustainability, the term ‘Greenstyle’ keeps coming up at WAG. What is the idea behind this?
Sustainability has been a key part of our company philosophy for a long time. We drew up a concrete environmental and energy concept under the title of ‘Greenstyle’ around six years ago. This covers issues such as renewable energies, energy efficiency, renewable transport and recycling. It’s also about the preservation of habitats for our native wildlife. And about the whole area of shopping and dining. We also try to promote regional values where it is practical to do so. Greenstyle also includes communication with the outside world. All based on the motto: do good things and talk about them. We want to highlight what we’re doing and inspire people to give us their support.
Where are you aiming to go with the green path that WAG is taking?
Our Greenstyle concept is based on a vision. We aim to make LAAX the world’s first self-sufficient winter sports destination. However, this vision is not limited to our company, but should be implemented as part of a practical regional framework. Our energy demands are already covered entirely by hydroelectric power and by our own solar facilities at lift stations. The Swiss and European Solar Prizes which we recently won confirm that we are on the right path. Our aim is that one day no more fossil fuels will be used. All the energy we need should come exclusively from renewable energy sources, while all operations should exhibit maximum energy efficiency. Thanks to the long hours of sunshine we get, there is great potential for our solar facilities. In theory, with all the WAG buildings, we have the potential to cover 25 per cent of total power consumption for our company through solar energy. The wind farm project on the Vorab Glacier is also still being examined. But we need some more time for this.
You also mentioned the significance of climate protection at the beginning.
Climate protection is one of the most important issues for us. Together with other destinations such as Arosa Lenzerheide and Aspen in the USA, we support the international campaign ‘I am pro snow – 100% committed’. Those involved in the campaign pledge to cover their entire energy demands with renewable sources by 2020. Ultimately, we want to preserve our snow. Another goal is to reduce the use of heating oil where possible. We want to manage entirely without heating oil in a few years. This is a realistic goal and we want to take on a leading role in this.
What is the role of the Greenstyle Foundation which was established during the past year?
The Greenstyle Foundation aims to pool resources in the region and also implement the aspirations and goals of Greenstyle outside of WAG. The foundation is based on the principle of crowdsourcing, where as many people as possible join forces to finance non-profit projects. Employees, guests and locals – everybody can contribute to this.
In LAAX, we have set ourselves the goal of trying to leave the world in a better condition than how we found it. As a result, in all of our endeavours to make your holiday as eventful as possible, we always show respect for nature and do everything we can to treat our world in the right way. Learn more about our Greenstyle initiatives here.