You have heard of scorecard ratings for corporations, sports teams, travel destinations and more. Heck, even the President gets a scorecard. Now the gift shop "For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts" in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park offers product “sustainability scorecards," considered a first-of-its-kind for a gift shop retail operation.
The gift shop has a double-personality, both good. Not only are each of the products very thoughtfully researched by staff with the utmost scrutiny but the emphasis is also placed on acting as an interpretive facility by teaching the public about climate change.
I was lucky enough to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the store with its educational tools intact to the public on January 7, 2010. Keeping in theme with the 'sustainable' event, the creative ribbon was a contribution from a company that makes paper products and other items from bison dung, called "Dung and Dunger." Truly, I kid you not. Being sustainable doesn't have to be boring, as evidenced by this creative company. They are just one of the companies represented in the unique store with multiple gift items. My favorite was the artistic wildlife stationery and embossed cards produced by "Dung and Dunger." Look them up if you don't believe me! Plus, it makes sense to offer items made from bison (ahem) materials don't you think? The Park hosts a healthy herd and the beloved behemoths are popular with tourists who visit.
All products in the store are rated with a "sustainability scorecard," that provides comprehensive information on the impact the retail items have on the environment. This gives customers the ability to define and quantify a product’s environmental impact and to make informed choices when purchasing items.
Here's how the scorecard works. A score measures the sustainable practice of the company and environmental attributes of the product. The 16 attributes – or categories – include organic, recycled content, recyclable, rapidly renewable materials, biodegradable, compostable, locally made, made in the USA, made with renewable energy, sustainable packaging, cruelty free, fair trade certified, socially responsible practices, supports non-profit organizations, conventional and other sustainable attribute.
In addition to the product attributes and product origination information, the scorecard rates the product’s environmental impact on a scale of one to 10 with one being the lowest impact and 10 the highest. The scorecards also include additional information about the product’s manufacturer.
This way if a customer prefers to buy only local products or recycled products they can view the scorecard and it will reveal information that will help make a purchase that agrees with their values.
A few Colorado companies are featured in the store. They made the stringent selection process by staff. Look for them when you visit “For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts,” in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
The store carries a line of bamboo and cotton tee-shirts for kids and adults including "The Green Weekend. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado.
The store offers this coffee which is a certified organic, fair-trade and Swiss water-process coffee. The company is a member of 1% for the Planet and is located in Estes Park, Colorado.
The environmental store is the latest phase of Xanterra’s comprehensive environmental program that reaches into all aspects of its operations. Xanterra’s environmental program, called Ecologix, is widespread. Last year the company’s Yellowstone operations diverted 72 percent of its solid waste from landfills into other areas such as recycling, reusing and composting. Over the past eight years the company has reduced its overall energy use by 11 percent and its water usage by 18 percent. Xanterra recently began using amenities such as cruelty-free shampoo, conditioner and amenities bottles made of corn starch that are compostable. This single initiative will divert more than 280,000 plastic bottles annually from the waste stream.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and eight other lodges and hotels are operated by Xanterra. General reservations for accommodations, tours and activities can be made by calling Xanterra’s Yellowstone reservations at 1-307-344-7311, toll-free at 1-866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375) or online at www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com
TRAVEL TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Yellowstone National Parks Lodges website offers excellent transportation/travel resources/driving directions and maps to plan your trip.
Please visit these links for recommendations on air or vehicle travel.
Transportation & Travel Resources