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AliKats wins global sustainability award

AliKats takes gold in global sustainability award

July 13th, 2023 News, Sustainability

Yesterday (12th July) saw AliKats Mountain Holidays announced as winners in the virtual awards ceremony for the 2023 Global Good Awards. The awards recognise organisations and leaders who are achieving practical, real-world impact for people and planet that is both scalable and replicable – and who have inspiring stories to tell.

We are delighted to have been awarded Gold in our category – the Global Good SME of the Year. The award recognises small- and medium-sized companies which are leaders in purpose-driven sustainability. The category is open to all organisations across the globe with fewer than 250 staff.

AliKats recognised as trailblazers in sustainability in the 2023 Global Good Awards

Achievements recognised

Judges looked for measurable outcomes and impacts, as well as clear commitments to future progress. Specifically, they searched for real leadership in environmental performance, in social best practice and business integration. But what does this look like for AliKats?

As a business originally founded as a ski chalet company – within an industry that paradoxically contributes to the issues that threaten the mountain environment it depends upon – we have needed to completely re-imagine our business model in-line with our social and environmental goals.

As a guest, you many have noticed changes over the past year including our Responsible Hot Tub initiative, which requests guests opt in or out of hot tub use (depending on the season). We also calculated and added a guest carbon contribution to every booking, and rewarded guests who made green choices, such as travelling by train and eating a vegetarian diet, with a significant discount on their holiday. We can not thank you enough for working with us on these developments to reduce the impact of our holidays.

Behind the scenes, many challenges have been tackled and achievements made. To summarise, our key areas of sustainability in 2022/23 have been:

  • Eliminating oil-fired heaters and introducing air-source heat pumps, resulting in 90% of our chalets being heated through renewable energy. Renewable energy for heating (and electricity) is built into every new chalet contract (our properties are leased)
  • Introducing leading practices in waste management and prevention, which includes achieving zero food waste through composting and permaculture practices, and an estimated 80% reduction in overall waste across the business
  • Prioritising employee engagement, health and well-being at a level that greatly supersedes hospitality (and ski) industry norms. Achievements include a 25% reduction in working hours across the board, 2 days off per week, and a working week capped at 46 hours.
  • Implementing a process to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by each individual customer’s travel plans so we can better account for our Scope 3 emissions, and increasing our carbon offset contribution from 120 tonnes in summer 2021/22 to 500 tonnes in summer 2022/23

Thank you

Sustainability is hard work and time consuming. It’s also new, there is no rule book to follow, and sometimes we get it wrong and have to change tactic mid-way through a process. For this reason, we are so grateful of the hard work, determination and resourcefulness of our team; and for our customers who have got on-board with our vision from the word go. We now provide year-round, low-impact mountain holidays, which are carbon and waste neutral (and completely zero food waste).

Good news

Often the news we hear on climate and sustainability is negative and, if we are honest, terrifying. So, we are grateful to the Global Good Awards for spreading light on all the businesses making big changes and doing this challenging work for the good of our planet.

We’re proud to have tied in our category with Tilt – a creative agency who craft powerful digital experiences that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Working with clients including the Open University and BBC they create lasting behaviour and cultural change.

We were also blown away by the two winners in the Canon Young Champion of the Year Award. Raheen Fatima, a 15-year-old activist and Podcaster educated over 5000 young minds through her theater plays on child abuse and gender equality. She has conducted over 500 online and in-person sessions on topics including climate change, education, and peace.

Manyasiri (Pear) Chotbunwong won the under 21’s category for her achievements through her non-profit organization HER (Health. Equity. Respect.) HER focuses on feminine health providing period products, education, healthcare, and employment to underserved women. They have distributed over 10,000 reusable and FDA-approved sugarcane fiber pads to women in 5 countries, supported by partnerships with 30+ schools and NGOs. The sugarcane fiber pads are made from up-cycled sugarcane bagasse, a sugar industry waste by-product. HER also employs former inmates to sew reusable pads to help them earn extra income.

These stories are truly inspiring and we invite you to take a moment to discover more of them.

The Future

Delighted as we are to receive the award, we will, of course, be continuing our efforts and working hard to help other businesses make important changes towards a more sustainable future. In particular, we are progressing our work as President (Al Judge) and Vice President (Kat Judge) of the environmental association Montagne Verte. Through the organisation we are mobilizing change to find environmental solutions across our community and beyond – we now aligning this work with all towns and villages within Haute Chablais region.

Members of Seasonal Business in Travel (SBiT) for 5 years, we also take a leading role in sharing challenges and best practice to helping businesses navigate sustainable issues. Our first objective is to decarbonise travel between the UK and the Alps by making train and coach the preferred methods of travel to the Alps for UK tourists by 2030.

 

Al
About the author: Al
After an interesting but ultimately unrewarding 10 years working in banking in London and Geneva, I made the move into full time mountain life and have never looked back. When I am not looking after our 3 energetic and hilarious children, I oversee the commercial and business change side of AliKats. I also helped set up a local environmental charity called Montagne Verte, along with Kat. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn

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