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Environmental

Travel Guide: 10 businesses that give back while you travel

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The human impact of travel and the tourism industry takes a huge toll on our environment each year. The United Nations Environment Program identified three significant environmental affects of tourism: depletion of natural resources, pollution and the degradation of the communities and ecosystems in the places we travel.

Our planet is beautiful and meant for exploring. We believe that traveling to new places, learning about other cultures and experiencing truly wild places holds the power to educate us all and encourage environmental change. So, we aren’t asking you to stop traveling—but rather, we hope you take the proper precautions when planning your next trip to ensure that your travels are environmentally cautious and cause as little harm as possible to the places you explore.

Sustainable travel can easily be put into practice—whether you’re working with an environmental nonprofit to help you travel responsibly or checking off your packing list of sustainable 1% for the Planet member products.

You can also reduce your travel footprint by choosing tourism businesses, lodging and travel agencies within the 1% for the Planet network. Understanding the environmental implications of human travel, these members joined 1% for the Planet to take responsibility for the impact their business has on the planet.


BUCKEYE TREE LODGE & SEQUOIA VILLAGE INN

📍Sequoia National Park – California

In recent years, our National Parks have seen a huge influx of tourists (thanks, Instagram). Due to underfunding and overcrowding, it’s becoming more and more important to ensure that tourists take steps to protect these public lands from pollution and degradation. While it’s no surprise that everyone wants to capture the natural beauty of these picturesque parks, travelers can reduce their impact by choosing sustainably responsible accommodations when booking their trip.

Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn are located just outside of Sequoia National Park in Three Rivers, California. Not only are these local businesses 1% for the Planet members, but they also implement many environmental and community initiatives into their business model. From solar powered systems and energy efficient appliances to eco-friendly products, your trip to Three Rivers is sure to be as fulfilling as it is environmentally friendly.

No matter what time of year you’re hoping to visit Sequoia National Park, these affordable lodges have activities for every season. So, be sure to put whitewater rafting, fly fishing, high-elevation hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, snow-shoeing, bear watching, and giving back on your bucket list.

Environmental Support:

Every stay at Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn contributes to their commitment to give back to their community and protect the National Parks they call home. Through their 1% for the Planet partnerships, Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn support the Sequoia Parks Conservancy and the Sierra Club.


DISCOVERY BICYCLE TOURS

📍Around the world

There’s no better way to tread lightly (do you get it?) on our world than by traveling by bicycle. Unless of course, it’s biking with a business that actively works to preserve and protect the environment they tread on. Discovery Bicycle Tours is family owned and joined the 1% for the Planet family in 2018 when Scott and Thistle Cone took the reins as co-owners.

Discovery Bicycle Tours offers inn-to-inn bicycle tours around the world. The company aims to provide outstanding bicycle tours, top-notch service and give back to the extraordinary places they love to bike.

With tour offerings in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, you could start your trip at Discovery Bicycle Tours headquarters in Vermont, explore Chile’s lakes and volcanoes, bike Key-to-Key in Florida, visit the world’s happiest country (and biking-mecca) Denmark, or even bask in in some of the most spectacular scenery in Southeast Asia as you adventure through Vietnam.

With Discovery Bicycle Tours, the possibilities are endless and the environmental impact is minimal.

Environmental Support:

In an effort to protect public lands and preserve the outdoor spaces we explore, Discovery Bicycle Tours supports the Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Land Trust, Local Motion, and BikeCentennial—Adventure Cycling Association.


EAGLE WING WHALE & WILDLIFE TOURS

📍Victoria BC, Canada

Eagle Wing Tours was our first whale-watching member and has been a true steward for the environment since day one. With the belief that wildlife viewing can provide educational merit and encourage environmental sustainability, the Eagle Wing Tours team goes to great lengths to ensure that their tours also have positive impact on their community.

Beyond their 1% for the Planet membership, Eagle Wing Tours is 100% carbon neutral and a founding member of the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance. Their boats are energy efficient, clean and quiet to reduce water and air pollution. Oh, and they provide every customer with a whale sighting guarantee.

“The natural world has massive demands placed upon it every day. At Eagle Wing we believe that being a responsible steward means being active, positive contributors to the ecosystem we love and are able to make our living from.” – Brett Soberg, Eagle Wings Tour co-owner

Environmental Support:

Through 1% for the Planet, Eagle Wing Tours supports Cowichan Energy Alternatives, Shaw Center for the Salish Sea, Sierra Club BC, Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Society, Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (SIMRES), Center for Whale Research, Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) and Race Rocks to just name a few! We highly encourage you to take the time to learn more about their environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.


CONSCIOUS ADVENTURIST

📍Around the world

Conscious Adventurist is a global travel organization committed to ethical, sustainable and responsible travel. Conscious Adventurist aims to provide they best customized, mindful travel for any age or experience. From adventure trips for the adrenaline junky to a relaxed trek through a new country, every itinerary is customizable and can accommodate any travelers needs. Every trip is a combination of fulfilling a traveler’s desire to connect with a new place and the obligation to protect the environment for future adventurers.

With Conscious Adventurist, you can truly go anywhere in the world— get inspired by 7 Life-Changing Experiences Around the World and 23 Must-Visit American Cities for Outdoor Adventure Travel. Wherever you decide to go, you can travel knowing that your trip helps give back.

Want to learn more about how you too can be a more sustainable traveler? Learn from the experts at Conscious Adventurist about 5 Ways to Give Back When You Travel and 15 Ways to Reduce Waste When You Travel.

Environmental Support:

As a 1% for the Planet member, Conscious Adventurist strives to give back as much as possible by supporting nonprofit organizations like Protect Our Winters. They are an eco-conscious organization that works to build environmental initiatives into their business.

 

RUN THE ALPS

📍France, Italy & Switzerland

There’s no denying that the French, Italian and Swiss mountain ranges are some of the most stunning views in the world. Run The Alps provides the opportunity to explore these incredible mountains by foot. Run The Alps aims to provide the best trail running experience for runners of any level, with guided and self-guided tours.

Whether you’re exploring the Italian Dolomites or running through French, Italy and Switzerland on their most popular tour, Tour Mont-Blanc, Run The Alps always incorporates Leave No Trace principles into their trips. They are committed to responsible travel and work to reduce the impact of their travel, including purchasing carbon offsets and of course, their 1% for the Planet membership.

Environmental Support:

Through their 1% for the Planet membership, Run The Alps works to protect the wild places they run by supporting 1% for the Planet and research in the impact of climate change on high altitude environments through their partnership with The Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems.


ALASKA ALPINE ADVENTURES

📍Alaska

Alaska Alpine Adventures started in 1998 with sustainable roots as they worked to incorporate conservation ethics into every part of their company and travel itineraries since day one. In 2015, they took their commitment to protecting Alaska to the next level by joining 1% for the Planet.

Through Alaska Alpine Adventures, you can explore Alaska’s wildest places via backpacking, hiking, kayaking, rafting or a combination of adventure sports. The hard question isn’t how you’ll explore Alaska, but where will you go. With so many incredible options through Alaska’s national parks, it’s hard to decide on just one trip. We’d suggest starting with Alaska Alpine Adventures’ bread and butter: Lake Clark National Park. This extraordinary trip is where Alaska Alpine Adventures guided their first tour in 1998 and to this day is regarded as their favorite place to explore.

Environmental Support:

Alaska Alpine Adventures supports Alaska Center for the Environment and Trout Unlimited to protect their local environment with, Student Conservation Association to inspire future generations to to the same, and 1% for the Planet to strengthen and grow environmental philanthropy around the world. Additionally, Alaska Alpine Adventures is heavily involved in the ongoing battle to save Bristol Bay.


LVR- Indian Shores Sundeck.jpg

LEGACY VACATION RESORTS

📍Florida, California, Colorado, Nevada

Legacy Vacation Resorts provides experiences for families and friends to create unique moments and lasting memories in a manner that respects the environment, employees and community. As part of their mission, they hope to educate consumers on the importance of supporting conscious businesses as well as the hospitality industry on how to attain sustainable economic development. The company boasts eight locations across four states, delivering a variety of options for travelers of all ages including warm beaches, thrilling mountain adventures, natural settings, iconic attractions and more.

With a core passion for sustainability and using the power of business as a force for good, this 1% For The Planet Member and Certified B Corporation® offers carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction initiatives, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns and green-focused renovation projects. Travelers to each location can not only enjoy their vacation but also know their trips are supporting causes to create positive impact for the environment and the communities in which they visit.

Environmental Support:

Stays at LVR properties contributes to a variety of charities such as the For Good Movement, an organization dedicated to inspiring the spread of conscious business in the State of Florida and beyond. Every single guest who books directly with the resort has their carbon footprint offset on behalf of the company via We are Neutral. Legacy also supports a wide variety of other environmental programs and organizations such as Solar United Neighbors, IDEAS for Us and the Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative at the University of Florida.


GLOBE + TRIBE

📍Around the world

Globe + Tribe is a boutique travel agency with a big goal: purposeful tourism. This company firmly believes that ‘intentional’ travel journeys hold the ability to encourage future environmental stewards and promote community development, sustainable development and conservation efforts in the world’s most wild places.

With these goals in mind, Globe + Tribe specializes in ‘emerging’ and ‘frontier’ destinations such as Andalusia, Cuba, Georgia, Iberia, Mongolia, and more. For the most adventurous travelers who enjoy life off-the beaten-path, they also offer Discovery Journeys where you can join Globe + Tribe on a test-run before they offer trips to the general public.

Already have a destination in mind or do you want expert advice on your next itinerary? Globe + Tribe also offers customizable Bespoke Journeys to fulfill your next travel bucket list.

Environmental Support:

Globe + Tribe is a new member to our network. While they currently support 1% for the Planet, they’re working closely with our membership team to choose their nonprofit partners that align with their mission.


WANDERWELL

📍Everywhere you travel

Okay, so you’ve reached this far in our blog and you may have already decided where you want to go next. Beyond incredible travel destinations, our network also offers incredible services that ensure your travel plan goes smoothly. Let us take this time to introduce you to Wanderwell.

Wanderwell is a social enterprise masquerading as a travel insurance company. Their tag line is “you go, we give” and they mean it. When they joined 1% for the Planet, they pledged to not only meet their 1% commitment but bumped it up to 10%—because as a member and BCorp Certified business, they’re serious about environmental conservation and sustainable business practices.

So, whether you’re looking for a single-trip protection, medical, corporate, study abroad, or even ex-pat plans, Wanderwell has coverage types for every traveler looking to give back.

“The more we travel the clearer our lenses become to view how interconnected the beings and elements of our planet are to each other. We discover the need to conserve, contribute, and sustain, and our responsibility to act in such a way expands. Traveling breeds environmental consciousness.” – Wanderwell

Environmental Support:

Wanderwell may donate directly to 1% for the Planet, but they’ve chosen to donate a little bit more—with 10% of their annual sales going back to the planet.


CARBON CREDIT CAPITAL

📍Anywhere you go

As we mentioned, travel can increase our negative environmental impact. Luckily, there are companies like Carbon Credit Capital that help off-set the carbon emissions we produce when we fly, drive, eat and basically do anything as humans.

Carbon Credit Capital aims to increase our understanding of carbon emissions and ways that businesses, organizations and individuals can work to reduce (and reverse) their impact. To start, we’d suggest reading through their Carbon Cutting Tips to better understand the ways your travel and everyday actions play a role in climate change. Then, consider how your travel plans can be mitigated and altered to decrease your impact. Finally, consider purchasing a carbon off-set plan from Carbon Credit Capital for your travels. With the carbon off-set credits, Carbon Credit Capital supports projects that reduce, avoid and destroy harmful greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Environmental Support:

Carbon Credit Capital understand the importance of strengthening the systems that grow environmental giving, which is why they chose to support 1% for the Planet as their primary nonprofit partner.

High school is billed as Florida’s first public K-12 net-zero energy campus

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The Osceola County district is opening NeoCity Academy, a STEM-themed campus, in a high-tech corridor in Kissimmee.

Mike Kennedy, EC&M | Aug 08, 2019

The Osceola County (Fla.) district is ready to open a new high school campus that is being touted as the state’s first net-zero-energy K-12 public school.

The Osceola News-Gazette reports that NeoCity Academy, a partnership between the district, the University of Central Florida and BRIDG, an area high-tech facility, will open its new campus next week in KIssimmee, Fla.

The school, situated in Osceola County’s high-tech NeoCity corridor, will focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects and provide an immersive learning environment in advanced manufacturing and engineering, biomedical engineering, and cybersecurity.

NeoCity Academy has been designed to use 76 percent less energy than a regular school; savings are expected to exceed $115,000 a year on energy costs. With 650 self-ballasted solar panels on the roof of the school, the campus will generate more power than it consumes on an annual bases.

Design elements geared toward enhancing student performance include air purification technology, enhanced lighting, daylighting, collaboration laboratories and breakout spaces.

In lieu of a kitchen or cafeteria, the school incorporates a food cantina truck that reduces operational costs.

Most of the students who applied to NeoCity, which is a magnet program open to youngsters from across Osceola County, have excelled in math in middle school and want something more in depth for high school, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

“I think they were looking for something that was different,” says Principal Michael Meechin says. “I think they’re looking for a challenge.”

The academy opened last year in space on Gateway High School’s campus.

“I think they were looking for something that was different,” Meechin said. “I think they’re looking for a challenge.”

The school will have about 230 students, with just ninth and 10th graders enrolled this year. It is expected to grow to 500 in two years, when it has all high school grades.

The architect for NeoCIty Academy is Little.

Tupperware Unveils Vision to Reduce Plastic, Food Waste by 2025

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The company is now a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment to help create a circular economy for plastic.

Waste360 Staff | Jun 07, 2019

Tupperware Brands announced its “No Time to Waste” vision to significantly reduce plastic and food waste by 2025. Through “No Time to Waste,” the company and its global network of 3 million sales force, 12,000 associates and suppliers are unified in their approach to reduce—and eventually eliminate—waste.

At the start of the plastic revolution nearly 70 years ago, Tupperware said it introduced reusable, long-lasting plastic in the home. Now, Tupperware Brands said it continues to design products that are durable and made to keep food fresher, longer and to be reused for years to come. “From the start, these designs have been rooted in sustainability—from Earl S. Tupper’s signature seal that was uniquely designed to lock in freshness, to today’s modern Eco Water Bottle, which replaces single-use plastic bottles,” according to the company.

“Our company’s purpose has always centered on the belief that our products and the opportunities we present through our business have the power to change lives for the better,” said Tricia Stitzel, chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands, in a statement. “Through ‘No Time to Waste,’ we are deepening that purpose by making changes in our products, operations, recycling and partnerships to increase the longevity of our planet, our people and the communities in which we live and work.

Tupperware Brands has set a series of goals and strategies to help ensure that its impacts reflect the needs of a circular economy:

Engage

Partnerships: In order to help advance global solutions to key areas of waste pollution, Tupperware has strategically aligned itself with two partners:

  • Advancing global progress of circular economy: Tupperware has signed on to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, committing to a set of concrete 2025 targets and to report progress against these, with the aim to, together with the more than 350 other signatories, help create a circular economy for plastic.
  • Advancing service in disaster relief sites and reducing waste: Tupperware recently announced a partnership with World Central Kitchen, a global nonprofit founded by world-renowned Chef José Andrés, centered on reducing the impact of single-use plastic waste in disaster relief efforts by providing in-kind reusable Tupperware products and logistical support for unforeseen disasters around the globe.

Design

  • Material innovation: In collaboration with supplier SABIC, Tupperware Brands is one of four companies to introduce a revolutionary new material, certified circular polymers, made from mixed plastic waste. Beginning in summer, Tupperware will introduce the certified circular polymers in new products that will be designed to aid in the reduction of single-use plastic products.
  • Product design: All Tupperware products are designed to be used again and again, reducing the single-use plastic that is heavily responsible for harming the environment and minimizing food waste. Products will continue to be designed for increased reusability and will be marketed and demonstrated in a way that increases users’ sustainable practices.

Produce

  • Packaging: By 2025, Tupperware will eliminate the use of single-use plastic packaging when delivering products to consumers by utilizing alternatives, such as packaging made of compostable material.
  • Operations: Tupperware is reducing waste, increasing renewable energy and limiting the amount of water used to operate. Across all manufacturing facilities, Tupperware is targeting zero waste to landfill by 2025.

Reuse

  • Consumption: Tupperware is committed to making products that make it easier for consumers to reduce their own waste by offering single-use plastic alternatives. Through marketing and communication with its sales force, Tupperware said it will continue to educate and inspire consumers to use products in this way.
  • Recycling: Tupperware is enhancing the return process for all its products with the goal that by 2025, 90 percent of returned products will be recycled and repurposed.

“Through our products, operations and our supply chain, we are integrating sustainable practices into all we do,” said Mark Shamley, vice president of global social impact at Tupperware Brands, in a statement. “‘No Time to Waste’ is a reflection of our heritage of reusability and product innovation and takes us into the future as a responsible corporate citizen, dedicated to making a difference in the world around us.”

Orlando bans single-use plastics and polystyrene at venues and parks, including Amway Center, Camping World Stadium and Dr. Phillips Center

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So long, single-use plastics and polystyrenes.

No longer will Orlando or its contractors use items such as plastic straws, bags, cutlery and Styrofoam food containers and cups at city parks and venues.

Citing environmental benefits including the reduction of millions of pieces of trash flowing into landfills and the waterways, commissioners Monday unanimously signed off on the policy.

The policy has been in the works since it was a popular inclusion in the city’s Community Sustainability Action Plan last year.

Plastic straws will be available upon request for customers with disabilities, and gatherings like family reunions and birthday parties with fewer than 100 participants will be exempt, though encouraged to comply.

The move was applauded by supporters at City Hall.

Orlando says it’s the state’s first city to ban all three of plastic bags, straws and polystyrene, though other cities have banned some of the products.

“It’s one of these areas that as a city we strive to lead in, so other governments follow,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

Last month, Sierra Club lobbyist Jen Hensley called the proposed policy “pretty innovative” in that the city was regulating itself but said she found the most effective crackdown across the nation included a fee imposed on plastic usage.

A United Nations study estimates 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually, and the nonprofit Eco-cycle estimates 500 million straws are used in the U.S. each day.

The true cost to the policy is unknown, as some of the products have alternatives that cost the same while others cost about 6 cents more apiece.

The policy takes effect Oct. 1.

Have a news tip? You can call Ryan at 407-420-5002, email him at rygillespie@orlandosentinel.com, follow him on Twitter @byryangillespie and like his coverage on Facebook @byryangillespie.

Legacy Vacation Resorts All In with Business for Good Approach

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In March, Orlando, Fla.-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) announced that it had officially achieved Certified B Corporation status. Clean the World, also in Orlando, is another organization that has achieved the B Corporation designation. If you do a search on Hospitality on the B Corporation site, you will find just 15 businesses listed. Among them: Taos Ski Valley, Inc., Qbic Hotels, and the Sleeping Lady Resort. Other hospitality-related businesses can be found under other categories such as Catering & Meeting/Event Management and Travel & Leisure. There are currently more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 50 countries. One of the most well-known companies: Patagonia, Inc.

This past week I had an opportunity to meet with Jared Meyers, Co-Owner of LVR. Jared is very passionate about the Certified B Corporation program and is doing everything he can to spread the word about it. Jared co-founded the Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources and events to facilitate the spread of business for good and the Certified B Corporation program. Since its inception, LVR has donated more than $50,000 to Florida for Good’s charitable endeavors, with Meyers also dedicating a significant amount of his personal time and income to its growth.

“B Corporation looks at the entire business and how it treats the environment, community, employees and governance,” Meyers says. Participants first complete the free B Impact Assessment. While using the Assessment, one can set goals for improvement, compare one’s performance to similar companies, and learn best practices pulled straight from the Certified B Corp community. The assessment is evaluated by B Lab. Participants are asked to supply supporting documentation. As one example, Meyers says LVR had to submit proof, by county, that it pays its employees a living wage.

A Reasonable Annual Fee

Once the Assessment and supporting documentation is validated (a minimum score must be met), a business can become a B Corporation. There is a reasonable annual fee scaled to the size of the business. Fees start at $500 a year. Companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales will pay $50,000 or more. Participants must recertify every three years. There is no initial onsite audit, but one can occur over time. Representatives of B Corporations gather annually at a Champions Retreat. There are also regional gatherings.

In addition to its Certified B Corporation Status, LVR is a member of 1% for the Planet and donates 1 percent of sales to charitable causes. LVR also offsets the carbon footprint of the stay of each guest who books through the LVR website. LVR offers an option for guests to donate 5 percent of their reservation to a charity of their choice and has a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025. The company is doing that through retrofits as it renovates its properties—LED lighting, water-saving fixtures, insulation, occupancy sensors and more. The company is also a partner of Conscious Capitalism International, an organization that maintains a philosophy based on a simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity.

“With these various internal changes, partnerships and our B Corp certification, I sincerely believe we will experience company growth, as well as an additional type of traveler at our properties,” said Meyers in a press release announcing the B Corp certification. “These new travelers will share our values and place importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable travel when it comes to selecting their accommodations. I am looking forward to the relaunch of the brand and the many ways in which the company will contribute to the greater good for years to come.”

Legacy Vacation Resorts becomes first B corporation certified multi-state hospitality company in the US

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA – Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) has officially achieved Certified B Corporation Status, becoming the first multi-state hotel and vacation ownership company in the country to secure the prestigious designation. Administered by the non-profit, B Lab, Certified B Corporations are businesses that voluntarily meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party review. The certification for LVR comes on the heels of a year-long process to align every aspect of the company with B Lab’s requirements. In that time, LVR has introduced multiple efforts towards a more sustainable business model, including carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, green-focused renovation projects and a living wage initiative for employees in its eight locations across four states.

Certified B Corporations, or ‘Certified B Corps’ are accelerating a global culture shift by building a more inclusive and sustainable economy through a redefinition of success in business. Certified B Corps use profits and growth as a means to achieve positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. In order to secure the designation, Certified B Corps must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous appraisal of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment, that will ultimately be made public on their website for complete transparency. Furthermore, the certification does not simply prove where a company currently excels, but actually amends legal governing documents for the business, committing ownership to consider stakeholder impact and the balance of profit and purpose for the long term.

“At the start of this journey, I simply began researching ways that I could utilize my resources and abilities to improve society. Through that process, I learned of others directing the prosperity of their businesses towards the greater good,” said Jared Meyers, Co-Owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts. “The most credible businesses doing so were Certified B Corporations. They stood out to me because of their wholistic view of the business, the rigorous verification of business practices, and their values aligned with mine. I am beyond excited to be part of the team that achieved this distinguished certification for Legacy Vacation Resorts.” 

Hoping to inspire other organizations to follow a similar path, Meyers co-founded the Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources and events to facilitate the spread of business for good and Certified B Corps. Since its inception, LVR has donated more than $50,000 to the group’s charitable endeavors, with Meyers also dedicating a significant amount of his personal time and income to its growth. As part of their missions, LVR and Florida for Good encourage companies to take the free impact assessment so they can learn how they measure up against other businesses and learn about the areas in which they can most improve.

Each of the new initiatives introduced as part of the certification process led to the debut of a shift for LVR toward a more sustainable legacy. As part of these efforts, travelers can now offset 100% of the carbon footprint from their stay when booking directly through the resort. In addition, the company offers an option for guests to donate 5% of their reservation to a charity of their choice. Furthermore, they have forged a partnership with Clean the World, another Certified B Corp, that recycles their used hygiene products and repurposes them back to vulnerable communities around the globe. They are also working on their existing buildings to create green renovations by utilizing eco-friendly materials and energy star appliances and fixtures, and they supply electric vehicle chargers at each property, further encouraging the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Internally, they are creating a culture of sustainability with employees by encouraging them to make sustainable choices in their daily lives, making a commitment to spend $300,000 annually on raises to ensure each employee is paid a living wage and offering opportunities to receive paid time off in pursuit of volunteer activities as part of their “Day of Hope” campaign launched in 2018.

“This brand relaunch showcases our commitment to a more sustainable future,” said Tony Picciano President & Chief Operating Officer. “We are so pleased to have been officially awarded our B CorpTM Certification and look forward to the continued implementation of sustainability efforts throughout each of our properties. Our mission at Legacy Vacation Resorts is to help families and friends create unique and lasting memories on their travels in a way that is respectful to the environment, employees and the communities where they are found, and we feel that we will now be able to deliver on that mission better than ever before.”

In addition to becoming a Certified B Corporation, LVR is the only multi-state hotel company to be a member of 1% For The Planet, a network of more than 1,500 member businesses, numerous individuals, and thousands of nonprofit partners in more than 40 countries. The organization is fostering a global movement, inspiring businesses to support environmental solutions by making a simple commitment to donate 1% of their revenue sales to various charities working in one of six core focus areas including climate, food, land, pollution, water, and wildlife. The company is also a proud partner of Conscious Capitalism International, an organization that maintains a philosophy based on a simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity.

“With these various internal changes, partnerships and our B CorpTM certification, I sincerely believe we will experience company growth, as well as an additional type of traveler at our properties,” said Meyers. “These new travelers will share our values and place importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable travel when it comes to selecting their accommodations. I am looking forward to the relaunch of the brand and the many ways in which the company will contribute to the greater good for years to come.”

Lake Nona Brings First Autonomous Shuttles to Orange County this Spring

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Beep, a new Florida-based company that provides autonomous mobility solutions, announced an exclusive dealer arrangement for the state of Florida, with NAVYA, the global leader in the autonomous vehicle (AV) market and smart and shared mobility solutions. In addition, the companies announced their innovative development partnership for shared mobility and AV research through which Beep will lead testing and pilot deployments of NAVYA’s driverless and fully electric AUTONOM Shuttle in the state of Florida.

Headquartered in Lake Nona, a smart community within the City of Orlando and Orange County, Beep is collaborating with the innovative master-planned community to bring the first autonomous shuttles to Central Florida with service expected to begin this spring.

“Lake Nona continues to be a model of what a smart and connected community can accomplish,” Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said. “Bringing the first all-electric autonomous shuttles to Central Florida is a defining moment for the future of transportation in our region and will help position Orange County as a place to demonstrate new, innovative technology.”

Beep was founded by experienced fleet managers and technology entrepreneurs and offers the next generation of services for passenger mobility to fleet operators in planned communities and low-speed environments across the public and private sector. From route planning to on-board interactive services, Beep’s autonomous mobility platform provides safe, efficient movement of passengers between defined locations on private and public roads.

“The interest in our autonomous mobility solutions from transportation hubs, medical and university campuses, airports, town centers, and other similar use cases has been overwhelming,” said Kevin Reid, Beep’s co-founder and a technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in innovations that have driven successful startups that have reached more than a $1 billion valuation. “Our suite of services and solutions, underpinned by NAVYA’s cutting edge technology, will further Lake Nona’s smart city vision by providing an innovative, green and intelligent mobility solution to its residents and visitors.”

The introduction of NAVYA’s AUTONOM Shuttle in Lake Nona will be the first step toward integrating new mobility technology into the region. Autonomous shuttle service in Lake Nona will begin this spring and will feature two shuttles each with a dedicated operator on board. The AUTONOM Shuttle can hold up to 15 people and will travel on fixed routes within the Lake Nona community at speeds of up to 16 mph. The shuttle is designed to improve productivity and ease road congestion in urban centers while also optimizing navigation and passenger safety. All of Beep’s autonomous vehicles deployed in the U.S. will be monitored by the company’s state-of-the-art operations center headquartered in Lake Nona.

​”Tavistock’s continued efforts to bring new and innovative solutions to Lake Nona is part of our mission to create an enriching environment that ensures residents, businesses and visitors have an incredible experience,” said Jim Zboril, president of Tavistock Development Company, the developer behind Lake Nona. “NAVYA’s driverless shuttles and Beep’s autonomous mobility solutions provide an intelligent, fluid, and environmentally-friendly transportation option. We look forward to integrating this new shuttle service into our larger Move Nona transportation plan to make it easy for people to explore Lake Nona.”

Founded by the international investment organization Tavistock Group, Lake Nona is a nationally-recognized forward-thinking, smart city within the City of Orlando. By prioritizing revolutionary technology, strategic partnerships, education and wellbeing, Lake Nona is dedicated to finding solutions that improve the lives of its employees, residents and visitors. Lake Nona also serves as a living lab and model for the future of communities. Lake Nona’s multimodal transportation strategy – Move Nona – creates a seamless, efficient mobility network throughout the 17-square-mile community providing a variety of ways to get around.

Lake Nona is already home to miles of paved and unpaved trails, electric vehicle charging stations, bike share programs, community shuttles and a car share program featuring Tesla Model 3s for its latest multi-family development, Pixon, set to open in 2019. Specifics regarding the inaugural routes and launch date for Lake Nona’s autonomous shuttle will be announced soon.

Photo Caption: [R-L] Beep Co-Founder Mark Reid, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, Orange County District 4 Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero and Tavistock Development Company President Jim Zboril join Beep, NAVYA and Lake Nona to announce their innovative development partnership, Move Nona, the first all-electric autonomous shuttles in Central Florida.

The Magic Kingdom Is Going Green

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By Bruce Horovitz

The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough renewable solar energy to fully power two of its four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida.

Before the end of 2018, Disney will flip the switch on a sprawling 50-megawatt solar power facility composed of more than a half-million solar panels, just outside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The move is aimed, in part, at helping Disney achieve its larger plan to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent worldwide by 2020, compared to 2012.

“At our sites around the world, we’re investing in hidden magic to continually reduce our environmental footprint,” Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, said.

The soon-to-open Disney World solar facility, spread along a 270-acre designated renewable energy area, will produce enough energy to supply 10,000 homes annually and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons per year, according to Disney’s estimates. That is the annual equivalent of removing roughly 9,300 automobiles from the roads, the company says.

The energy will not actually go to Disney’s theme parks, but rather into the local power grid. Nonetheless, with one eye on its global reputation and another on its customers’ increasing focus on sustainability, Disney is emerging as a renewable energy force.

Disney’s move toward cleaner energy comes when brand image for global giants goes far beyond, say, merely a ride on Space Mountain — particularly among free-spending but environmentally sensitive millennials. Indeed, some 79 percent of consumers say they seek out products that are socially or environmentally responsible, according to a 2017 study by Cone Communications.

“Our guests tell us the environment is important, so it’s a big deal for us,” said Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment. Since it’s a big deal to guests, it is also a huge deal to Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney, who has repeatedly said that he wants Disney to be the most admired company in the world, “Not just for creating incredible content, but for being a responsible citizen of the world,” says Dr. Penning, who is a veterinarian.

Disney’s solar and renewable efforts are not limited to Florida. In Tokyo, Disneyland’s electrical parade light show is fueled by solar panels from eight building rooftops, which generate more than 600 kilowatts of power. In Europe, Disneyland Paris uses geothermal energy to power two of its theme parks and a hotel.

At Shanghai’s Disney Resort, a combined cooling and heating plant reduces emissions by 60 percent — partially by converting waste heat into energy. Disney also is building three new cruise ships that will be run on clean-burning liquefied natural gas when they head out to sea in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

But going green hasn’t always worked perfectly at Disney. For example, in 2015, when it first tried to “green” its bus fleet, executives thought the solution might be electric buses. But they discovered that electric buses failed to reduce carbon emission as much as using renewable fuels made with used cooking oil and non-consumable food waste.

While some renewable energy advocates would like Disney to do even more to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, Disney’s leadership in this area is likely to encourage others. “What Disney is doing is an important part of the trend that’s changing the nation’s grid,” says Gregory Wetstone, chief executive of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Just five years ago, very few companies were actively producing their own renewable powers, Mr. Wetstone said. But now, he said, “the most sophisticated companies are learning how to go out on their own and do it.” Of course, none can accomplish this without enlisting energy partners. Disney’s new facility in central Florida, for example, is a collaboration with the Reedy Creek Improvement District and solar project developer Origis Energy USA. Disney officials declined to discuss the financials of their renewable energy projects.

Also in central Florida, Disney — with the help of Duke Energy — opened a solar facility in 2016 that’s famously shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. The five-megawatt solar facility on 22 acres near Epcot is made of 48,000 solar panels. Duke Energy sells the resulting alternative energy — enough to power 1,000 homes — to Reedy Creek.

In some cases, Disney park customers can already see solar at work.

At the flagship Disneyland Resort, solar panels sit atop the Radiator Springs Racers ride in Cars Land. The system — which opened in 2016 — generates electricity for the Disney California Adventure Park. The 40,000-square-foot operation features more than 1,400 high-efficiency solar panels and generates enough energy to annually power 100 Anaheim homes.

Could Walt Disney have imagined all of this renewable energy in his parks?

“I’m not sure if he could dream of this,” Dr. Penning said. “But his dreams did result in Epcot, which was meant to be the first sustainable development.”

Indeed, a sustainable lifestyle has become part of Dr. Penning’s daily routine. He has rid himself of single-use plastics — and instead of driving a car, he prefers to use a motorcycle. “Except when it’s pouring rain,” he said.

Some of Disney’s environmental actions sound almost like fairy tales. Take the Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. Its holiday display of 170,000 lights has been painstakingly switched to LED lighting. Since that change, the energy to power that eye-popping display has been reduced to an amount needed to power just four coffee pots.

Even for Disney, renewable energy requires more than pixie dust.

Do right by the Wekiva River and take another look at the plan to save it

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The Wekiva River’s water still runs clear — mostly. It remains one of the most peaceful and unspoiled places in Central Florida — for now.

But a careful eye can spot the signs of decline.

A wide lagoon just past the Wekiva’s springhead is choked with slender hydrilla stalks. Farther downstream you begin to see the thin strands of dark brown algae in the water, undulating with the current like the hair on a swimmer’s head.

I’ve seen it while paddling a kayak on the river. I just didn’t know until recently what I was seeing.

The hydrilla and algae are gorging on nitrogen, a natural nutrient with an unnaturally large presence in many Florida waterways.

Too much hydrilla and algae chokes out underwater plants like eelgrass. When eelgrass dies, the microscopic nutrients that fish feed on have nothing to cling to. That means fewer fish, which means less food for birds.

A natural cycle is disrupted, and the river declines.

That’s why the state needs to revisit its plan to stem the amount of nitrogen entering the Wekiva.

I know what you’re thinking right about now: “Ugh. Nitrogen. So boring.”

Fair point.

But the Wekiva means a lot to this region. It’s a tourist attraction. It’s an escape for locals. It’s a jewel worth preserving.

And nitrogen could ruin it.

Nitrogen is one of the ingredients in the fertilizer we use. It makes our St. Augustine lawns, soccer field grass and food crops grow. Some of the nitrogen gets absorbed by the grass. But some of it seeps into the groundwater.

Nitrogen is in human waste, too. So when someone flushes a toilet and sends that waste into a septic tank, some nitrogen again will journey through the soil, into the aquifer and out through a spring and deposited into a river.

The state estimates that a teardrop-shaped area that includes Lake Apopka, Winter Garden, Ocoee and parts of Altamonte Springs — about 183,000 acres, or about six times the size of Walt Disney World — generates about 1 million pounds of nitrogen each year that ends up in the groundwater.

After flowing through an underground network of rivers and caverns, about 275,000 pounds re-emerges each year at Wekiwa Springs and Rock Springs.

Wekiwa Springs has about three times more nitrogen in the water than it should have. Rock Springs has about four times what it should. I’ll spare you the numbers because that really is boring.

Under a mandate from the Legislature, the state developed a plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen in the state’s springs.

But on Friday, member of the Florida Springs Council challenged the state’s nitrogen-reduction plans for five different plans covering various springs, including Wekiva Springs, Rock Springs and Blue Spring in Volusia County.

Full disclosure: After leaving the Orlando Sentinel in 2015 I served as a board member for Friends of the Wekiva, a group that works to protect the springs and the river and one of the groups challenging the state’s cleanup plan.

I did research for the group related to Seminole County’s fertilizer ordinance, which took effect in early 2017. The ordinance was a modest step toward getting less nitrogen on the ground in the first place.

I learned a lot about the Wekiva during my time on the board, and I resigned from that position before returning to the Sentinel in mid-December.

In a complex legal filing, Friends of the Wekiva is mounting a variety of legal challenges but one of the central points is that the state is engaged in a lot of wishful or hopeful thinking.

It wishes farmers would adopt better fertilizer practices, but it’s not going to make them. It hopes local governments will hook up more septic tanks to sewer systems, even though they don’t have to.

Friends of the Wekiva and other environmental groups want a hearing so they can convince a judge that the state’s plans don’t meet the legal requirements to stem the decline of Florida’s clear, spring-fed rivers.

We should all hope they succeed. Sure, the Wekiva River is still pretty clear. But so was the Indian River Lagoon not that long ago. And today, thanks to benign neglect, it’s filthy. It’s dying.

The state can’t afford to get this one wrong. Once we lose the Wekiva, there’s no getting it back.

mlafferty@orlandosentinel.com or 407-650-6514

Orlando, Florida, offers free trees to residents.

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A tree sapling is delivered right to the door.

 

Yards in Orlando, Florida, are getting greener and shadier – thanks to the city.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, Orlando offers free trees to every city resident. People select a species that is native to Florida – such as bald cypresses, red maples, and persimmons.

Castro: “We deliver them a tree to their door in a box, that’s a sapling about three to four feet tall.”

Chris Castro is director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience. He says trees can make neighborhoods more beautiful and even improve public safety.

Castro: “They have so many benefits … lowering of crime in neighborhoods with healthy tree canopies, lowering speeds for people who drive down roads with tree canopies.”

He says planting trees is especially important as the climate changes. They absorb and store carbon, slow storm water runoff, and provide shade during Orlando’s hot summer months.

Castro says with this and other programs, the city’s goal is to increase Orlando’s tree canopy to 40 percent, up from 25 percent two years ago.

Castro: “It’s not an easy thing, but we feel that we can engage our residents unlike ever before and truly help achieve these goals.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Michael Adams on Wikimedia (cropped).