There is no denying that the ski industry produces huge amounts of CO2 and waste every year, contributing towards climate change and damaging the natural environment that our sports and industries so heavily rely on. Businesses operating in the mountains, such as ourselves, are here because we love the mountains and our key aim is to make sure holidaymakers and locals alike enjoy themselves, and can continue to do so in years to come. However in doing so, we are guilty of creating huge amounts of waste in various forms; food, plastic, heating, greenhouse emissions.
It is very much a catch 22 but it is important that we recognise the importance of identifying aspects of our business operations that not only have an impact on the environment, but those that have social, cultural and economic impacts too, for it is not only the environment that serves as our foundation, but our year-round community also.
Every year we strive to minimise these impacts and maximise the positives that we can bring to the stunning place we call home. This report focuses on what actions we are currently taking, what steps we plan to take towards reducing our impact and our sustainability pledge. Afterall, we care deeply about both our surroundings and community, and without them we wouldn’t be who we are today.
WHO WE ARE
La Terrasse du Village and Lodge du Village are two venues in one, located at the centre of Meribel Village in the heart of the Three Valleys ski area.
Open all year round, 365 days of the year, La Terrasse du Village is a restaurant serving locals and tourists alike. It is located less than 50m from the foot of the Lapin piste and hosts a large all weather terrace featuring a heated parasol, making it an ideal place to stop for lunch or dinner whatever the weather, while it’s cozy restaurant makes for a perfect spot to dine on colder days.
Lodge du Village (LDV) sits above La Terrasse and is a winter only bar. Open from midday to the wee small hours, it is an ideal location to make a pitstop whilst skiing and looking for a quick drink or bite to eat. In the evenings, it offers a relaxed environment to enjoy a drink with friends and occasionally transforms into a post-apres party venue where you can continue to enjoy your extended afternoon after a day on the hill. LDV also shows live sports on a large wide screen TV.
In the winters, apres ski sees regular live music on the outdoor stage, with drinks being served from the La Terrasse outdoor bar, and Lodge du Village acting as the overflow and post-apres venue. In the summers, the large suntrap terraces come into their own, and La Terrasse becomes a popular spot for an afternoon drink in the sunshine as well as a thriving lunch and dinner destination.
Our most recent venture La Terrasse Chez Vous is a meal-delivery service operating from the La Terrasse kitchen, delivering pre-prepared meals to nearby accommodations in Meribel Village, ready for the customer to reheat themselves.
As a responsible venue in the Alps we understand the impact the travel industry has on our planet. We continue to bear witness to the negative impact climate change has on the mountains and we only need to look at the glaciers from our terrace to see they are receding year on year.
It is our responsibility to be conscious of our actions, and how they influence the impact we have on the environment. It is our duty to make every effort to reduce waste, cut emissions and run our business in the greenest way possible.
As well as environmental impacts, we also have an effect on social, cultural and economic factors. For instance, we play a significant role within the community as one of the only businesses to remain open year round. As a live music venue, we remain conscious of the impact parties and live music events have on our neighbours and immediate environment and with the serving of alcohol, we remain aware of the effects of it’s over consumption and do what we can to help where possible.
We have been committed to improving how we operate and continually work towards reducing our footprint. Here are some of the measures we have taken so far:
Buying and sourcing local products
Whenever possible, we purchase our ingredients from local suppliers and producers, such as locally reared beef, as it greatly reduces the mileage between farm to plate, and therefore carbon footprint. By using fresh, local produce, we can simultaneously minimise our use of frozen goods.
Reducing plastic usage
In winter 2019/20, we introduced reusable plastic cups for use on busy shifts where we would normally have resorted to using disposable plastic cups. In the long run, this not only reduces our plastic usage, but also saves us money. These reusable cups also mean we use less large refuse sacks during close-down.
For our takeaway service, we use recycled cardboard packaging, wooden cutlery and paper bags as opposed to plastic. As for La Terrasse Chez Vous, all pre-prepared meals are delivered in pyrex dishes, packed in crates to minimise packaging.
Recycling bins are located behind each bar, with the option to recycle glass, plastic & packaging, and cardboard. A large part of recycling relies on staff being mindful, making recycling part of their daily routine and not cutting corners – ie. if a recycling bin is full it should be emptied as opposed to disposing the item into a general waste bin.
We also extend the lifeline of a lot of glass bottles by participating in a consigne system, whereby certain empty soft drink bottles are held back and taken away to be reused.
With such a large building, one of our biggest contributing factors to our carbon footprint is the amount of heat and electricity we require to run. When possible, we turn off all electric heaters and gas stoves on the terrace and all lights in the building when not in use. All our lights have been replaced with less energy consuming LEDs and run on dimmer switches.
By being one of the only businesses in the area to keep our doors open year round, we play a role within the community offering somewhere for people to meet socially every day of the year, whatever the occasion. Socialising is an important influencing factor on an individuals mental health and by remaining open, we remain at the heart of a thriving year round community and elicit a positive social impact. We have decibel meters installed and cut music off outside at 6pm to respect our neighbours and immediate environment. We also make a conscious effort to serve alcohol responsibly, and train staff to say no to customers when appropriate.
WHAT NEXT – SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
We recognise that the measures taken so far just scratch the surface and that we must continually make changes. What these changes are however require though, planning and input from all members of the team.
Some goals will require some research and may be achievable in a longer term time frame whilst some could be implemented immediately. In order for us to make progress in the right direction, we must try our best to work towards the following goals:
Plastic and waste reduction
- Replace paper place settings with reusable ones & linen napkins for dinner service
- Recycle kitchen waste – look into the use of compost machines or being used for dog food
- Recycle coffee granules for compost in the summer
- Use up surplus ingredients for staff dinners and daily specials
- Cut out single use sauce sachets in the restaurant and takeaway
- Figure out an alternative option for takeaway
- Quantify the impact of the change by how much we spend in 2020 v 2021?
- Fix leaking faucets in upstairs bar and adjust hot water tap in restaurant toilet to not run for as long
- Monitor food wastage
- Weigh food and set targets for food waste reduction in 2021
- Use products and suppliers that are committed to reduce packaging and waste
- Only use reusable plastic cups
- Introduce deposit system
- More conscious waste disposal
- Merging waste into one bag at the end of a quiet shift so we are not throwing out half empty bin bags
- Find an alternative heating source for the building
- Improve the buildings insulation – reseal doors and windows
- Clean equipment properly so it doesn’t need repairing as often
- Install automatic lights
- Ensure all new appliances as A+ energy rated
- Switch to a renewable energy suppliers
- Get the building surveyed for its energy usage
- Research implementing a green survey
- Look into how we can measure our carbon offset
- Set targets for water, waste and energy use reduction
- Draw up a bimonthly KPI report to record performance
- Include an environmental section to staff training.
- Raise awareness of our progress and measures through blogs and social media
- Update our sustainability pledge every year
- Educate plonge/bar staff water on hot water use
- Create incentives for staff
- Grow our own vegetables and herbs in the summer
- Increase our use of seasonal vegetables and use more from regional producers
- Offer more vegetarian options
- Consolidate our deliveries so we use less suppliers = less mileage
- More environmentally friendly cleaning products with less chemicals.
- Sell bamboo takeaway coffee cups
- Remove products that contain palm oil and soy from our kitchen
- Look into offsetting our carbon footprint with the planting of trees
- Encourage staff to get the bus to work when possible as opposed to driving
Sustainability should be integrated seamlessly into our business ways of working and it is the responsibility of our Senior Management Team to implement our sustainability goals, ensure the whole team is on board, to ensure requirements are being met and to measure our impact in real terms. You can read our sustainability pledge here.