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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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ASPEN – Green Supply Chain

Do I think ASC is serious about reducing its environmental impact? I do, however I believe a giant like ASC can be doing more. By ‘more', I mean its stakeholders need to see the long-term benefits to these investments, and make them a priority, comparable to customer-facing opportunities like new chairlifts and snowmobiles. ASC's Sundeck restaurant initiative, its Snowmass Golf Clubhouse; which was heated and cooled through coils in the water, and its adherence to EMS standards, are signs that ASC had the right intentions. I like Schendler's persistence and vision on the long-term benefits of implementing florescent light bulbs to reduce electricity consumption. Their controversial plans to expand their slopes to Burnt Mountain deemed to be an environmental challenge, however ASC put steps in place to adhere to environmental rules and regulations and was flexible in its tree removal approach, ultimately reducing its negative impact on the environment. ASC's Environmental Foundation which employees voluntarily donated to and the Aspen Community Foundation which was established to promote philanthropy in the community, are excellent initiatives that show ASC's seriousness about being green. Schendler's belief that “corporations should disclose their environmental impacts” is a testament to his corporate transparency. My priorities as the next director of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company would be to reduce their carbon footprint through green and lean practices. I would do my best to decrease ASC's carbon footprint by finding renewable options to provide energy and electricity to my resort. I would invest in solar panels, for the purpose of placing them on the roofs of the resort. I would invest in Tesla's new Powerwall technology ( Arden Homes, an Australian homebuilder is planning to implement Tesla's new environmentally friendly technology as a standard feature in its building projects ( This project is currently in the beginning stages and is set up for residential homes and small businesses. Just like the micro-hydroelectric project implemented by Schendler; with the right time and financial investment, ASC could be the market leader to integrating this solar technology on a large scale. These solar panels would aid in the generation of energy needed to keep the lights on in the resort, generate power for the HVAC units, power the ski lifts and power the artificial snow making practice. By implementing this renewable energy solution ski resorts could lessen the 65% of electricity consumption and 20% operating costs going towards the artificial snow making and utilize the money saved for better use. I would also invest in correcting small or major problems from its origin, I would emphasize correcting issues early on and completely. I would not promote placing Band-Aids on issues like equipment and machinery malfunctions as these quick fixes would prove exponentially costlier and damaging in the long run.

Also in an effort to become more lean, I would adopt a more “just-in-time” process to procurement of materials, recourses and food for the restaurants. Reducing waste will greatly influence ASC's profitability and lessening its carbon footprint by avoiding pollution caused by destruction of expired product, reducing the need to produce new materials and decrease greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. The added value by implementing these lean principles; aimed at cutting costs, tackling potential impediments and most importantly eliminating waste (Muda), would benefit ASC's bottom line. Greater margins, means happy stakeholders and also creates trust in business, which helps to get stakeholder buy in when making long-term investments. Muda is any activity in your procedure that adds no value, by following this philosophy ACS would be better able to pinpoint areas of the business that are not adding value, and for lack of a better term; ‘trim the fat'.

Based on the revenue trend shifting from majorly; lift ticket sales, to more food and lodging, I too would shift my business focus. From this case, I understood that ASC had already lost about a month of ski season due to climate change, and it is expected to swell 6 degrees warmer by the year 2100. I would invest into state of the art lodging architecture, shift the marketing strategy slightly to target the stunning scenery of Aspen and open restaurants which are word of mouth worthy. This would attract people from all over the world and give them more reasons, than just skiing, to visit ASC during the winter season. Although this is not the answer to supporting an environmental solution or enhancing ASC's green supply chain, I would invest into this solution to mitigate future financial risk.

ASC was concerned at how the media and its customers would react to them boycotting one of their suppliers. ASC was not exactly the model “green” corporation, it had plans to expand its ski resort, which was being challenged by wildlife advocates. ASC was a big name in the ski industry and by boycotting a large supplier, Schendler was worried it would bring negative media attention and distraction at a time when ASC was working to decrease their carbon footprint. ASC was incorporated in 1946 and had made a name for itself as one of the world's premier skiing locations. 61% of ASCs electricity is produced through coal, which is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. Coal is chemically complex and produces sulfur dioxide gases when combined with oxygen and this has a major negative environmental impact. stem from energy-intensive snow making technology, which enable them to; extend their ski seasons and alleviate irregular weather risks. Ski lift operations is another carbon footprint enlarger and not to mention location; transportation to reach these ski resorts are the result of increased greenhouse gases. A ski resorts environmental impact does not end at energy used for operational activities, or deforestation and displacement of wildlife. There are other factors that must be taken into account, like the roads that are needed to create access to their customers. These activities cause deforestation, the displacement of soil, wildlife and could have an extremely negative impact through land degradation and sedimentation of waterways, which further push away wildlife. 140,000 gallons of water is required for artificial snow making, it is used to enhance skiing conditions and to keep the slopes open when snowy conditions were not attainable. Global warming is shrinking the skiing period due to irregular weather conditions and overall warmer climates. Thus Ski resorts rely on techniques to keep the slopes filled with snow and keep customers coming. In an effort to maintain environmentally friendly operations, ski resorts are looking for ways to provide a sustained water supply. One example is of these efforts are Vail resorts example of stockpiling one billion gallons of water from nearby bodies of water throughout the warmer seasons.

The two demands by Greenpeace and the NRDC was the Kimberly-Clarke allow itself to be audited, the investigation targeting its procurement activities and its sources. Is Kimberly-Clarke knowingly sourcing wood fiber from coastal temperate rainforests or does it plead ignorance to its tier 2 suppliers. The Kleercut campaigns goal was to have Kimberly-Clarke establish a timeline and set goals to increase its utilization of recycled and more responsibly-produced fiber which only constituted of 19% of North American tissue products. ASC had rewarded companies in the past for their environmental awareness and green supply chain efforts, by providing them with lucrative business contracts, however it was not sure if penalizing one of its suppliers for the contrary would be appropriate.


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