OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – Park City, Utah (Apr. 28, 2008) – For Backcountry.com, the message is clear. Everyone is saying it: “Go Green.” Customers follow that with “or we’ll go spend our money someplace else;” employees with “or we’ll go work for Patagonia.” While the high-end outdoor gear e-tailer takes these threats seriously, more concerning to the company is the strain that inaction puts on the planet, and specifically, on its outdoor playgrounds. In the words of the company’s president, John Bresee, “That’s just not cool.”
So, Backcountry.com is taking action from the inside out. In 2008, the company will offset 100 percent of its electricity use by purchasing 1,500,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy credits (RECs) from Boulder, Colo.-based Renewable Choice Energy.
This move (which, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculators, cancels out the same amount of CO2 emissions produced by 190 cars during the course of a year) was initiated by a group of Backcountry employees who have volunteered to serve on the company’s Green Team – an environmental task force charged with identifying and implementing policies and solutions to reduce the company’s Goliath-sized carbon footprint.
The Green Team – made up of some with fancy enviro degrees and others with nothing more than a burning desire to fix the planet – not only negotiated the purchase of wind power RECs on behalf of Backcountry.com, but also:
*Facilitated a third-party energy audit of all Backcountry facilities and actualized recommended energy consumption reduction solutions;
* Implemented an internal recycling program 300% more thorough and effective than the one previously in place;
*Established a three-van commuter-pool in cooperation with the Utah Transportation Authority, accommodating 40 employees who commute to the Park City, Utah headquarters from Salt Lake City (and taking 37 vehicles off the road in the process).
“These guys rock,” said Bresee of the Backcountry Green Team. “Holland (CEO) and I are stoked to have employees who are passionate enough about protecting the places they play and passionate enough about Backcountry.com to lead our green charge.”
The eco-operations initiatives build on Backcountry.com’s year-old Green Goat program. The Green Goat is a shop within the site featuring the brands that refuse to compromise their environmentally oriented principles in pursuit of the next great piece of gear. Companies are given Green Goat status if their products are made of organic materials and renewable resources, or if they implement sustainable, environmentally sound production techniques.
“It’s taken us a while, but we had to do this right, on way more than just a marketing level,” said Bresee. “What we’re doing isn’t greenwashing. We’re taking deliberate action, focusing on our business operations first. Giving props on the Green Goat to our eco-conscious vendors doesn’t make us green – and we’re not about to say we’re green if we’re not – so we rallied and made it happen.”
How RECs work:
More than 70 percent of U.S. electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and gas. But burning fossil fuels to generate electricity emits harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Wind-generated electricity, on the other hand, is renewable and sustainable. RECs allow consumers to access, use, and pay for renewable energy – making its generation more cost competitive with fossil-fueled electricity.
Backcountry.com is an online retailer of performance outdoor adventure gear and apparel. The e-commerce site carries more than 400 brands in various categories, including backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, trail running, paddling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and adventure travel. Backcountry.com also operates BackcountryOutlet.com, SteepandCheap.com, Dogfunk.com, Tramdock.com, and WhiskeyMilitia.com.
About Renewable Choice Energy
Boulder, Colo.-based Renewable Choice Energy (www.renewablechoice.com <http://www.renewablechoice.com/> ) is the award-winning, full-service provider of renewable energy and carbon offsets. Founded in 2001, Renewable Choice’s clients include Whole Foods Market, Vail Resorts, hundreds of businesses and organizations, and thousands of individuals across the country. In 2006, Renewable Choice shared the Beacon Prize with Whole Foods Market for their campaign to educate customers about wind power. Renewable Choice is the leading renewable energy supplier to green building projects nationwide.