Dixville Notch, N.H. (February 15, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts leaders gathered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to focus on their important role in preserving Yosemite National Park and the other national treasures at which the company provides various hospitality services.
It was easy for them to get in the mode for the annual general managers conference, themed “Stewardship in Special Places.” The conference was held at The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, a historic and newly green-certified luxury hotel that Delaware North operates. The meeting also featured plenty of environmentally friendly, or “green” practices, including sustainable meals.
Green business. Green site. Green meeting.
“As a company committed to setting and meeting high environmental standards at all of our properties, we felt it equally important to conduct our meeting in a manner that is environmentally friendly,” said Kevin Kelly, president of the parks and resorts subsidiary of global hospitality and food service provider Delaware North Companies.
“Paying attention to the details was one small way the company could further support our larger environmental efforts known as GreenPath®, an environmental management system developed and implemented by the company at our parks and resorts sites eight years ago,” Kelly said.
Among the green meeting practices at The Balsams:
Resort management highlighted the recently completed multi-million dollar restoration of the resort’s grand lobby and public areas, as well as the talents and skills of the culinary team that earned the resort the a spot on Conde Nast Magazine's 2007 Gold List.
Chefs prepared meals full of New England specialties. Meals were prepared with organic, sustainable, local and in-season items. Examples include: freshly made bacon using all-natural farm-raised pork, artisanal regional cheeses from New England dairies, and seafood from the Portland and Boston markets.
The final event of the week was an awards dinner showcasing an array of ice carvings. The grand finale for the evening was a duplication of the dessert recently prepared and presented at the James Beard House Christmas in New Hampshire event: Chocolate Chestnut Bread Pudding with Red Currant Sauce and Egg Nog Ice Cream.
Kelly said the conference’s location this year could not be more appropriate. In September, The Balsams earned ISO 14001 registration after an independent auditor concluded the property was meeting or exceeding the standards for environmental management systems put forth by the International Organization for Standardization. The markedly stringent process assesses a company’s ability to conform to and maintain a set of environmental standards driven by compliance with environmental laws and management programs designed to mitigate environmental impacts.
“While there is a formal, documented environmental plan in place at The Balsams, many recent changes are applicable to any business or residence,” said Uwe Roggenthien, the resort’s general manager. “Replacing incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lighting, upgrading appliances with Energy Star models, replacing lighted signs with LED models and installing energy-efficient lighting and timers in outdoor areas are things anyone can do,” he said.
Water conservation has been improved by low-flow showerheads; guests participating in a towel and linen reuse program; watering the landscape less and when necessary, only in the mornings; and purchasing an efficient pressure washer.
Waste has been reduced thanks to composting, recycling, reusable dinnerware, purchasing bulk items rather than single-serving containers, double-sided printing and copying, providing newspapers on request at the front desk rather than to each room, refurbishing and donating used furniture, and participating annually in a roadside cleanup.
Hazardous waste has been reduced through the use of eco-friendly cleaning supplies and laundry detergents, through proper disposal of fluorescent lighting, recycling of portable rechargeable batteries and cell phones, and the cleanup of refuse left in the valley. The Balsams has also developed inventories of the hazardous chemicals that are used and developed controls for managing them.
Roggenthien said The Balsams puts a great deal of effort into employee training and sharing environmental information with guests and the community.
“We train our employees throughout the year in environmental procedures, we publish a newsletter -- the Greenpath® Chronicles -- and we organize Earth Day celebrations annually. Last September, to celebrate our ISO registration, we even held a GreenPath® Expo with various demonstrations, exhibits, and site tours for our guests and the community,” he said.
EDITORS NOTE: Photographs from the conference are available by contacting: