DNPS unveils canvas bags<br>in pro-green effort at GC

GC VILLAGE — Grand Canyon-area residents will be able to save bucks at the local grocery store while helping the environment beginning today at any of the three Delaware North Parks Services outlets.

Delaware North Parks Services employee Heather Hunt packs items in one of Canyon Village Marketplace’s new pro-environment canvas bags.

In the latest effort involving the company’s environmental management system, GreenPath, canvas bags will be offered for sale to store patrons. Beginning with that first purchase and on future trips, customers will receive 10 percent off all purchases.

Derek Zwickey, general manager of the DNPS Grand Canyon operation, said they wanted to do some sort of discount program for its customers. At Yosemite National Park, for example, DNPS customers carry discount cards to save money on purchases.

However, the GreenPath team at Grand Canyon came up with an idea to tie in the discount with conservation. Thus, the canvas bag project was born.

"As part of that, we want to promote the use of these canvas bags," Delaware North’s Jennifer Premoshis said. "Every time you do your shopping, you can get 10 percent off purchases. Even if you only have one canvas bag but buy 10 bags of groceries, you can still get the discount."

The bags sell for $2.99 each, although customers can start saving money right on the spot with the 10-percent discount. The canvas bag program is being instituted at Canyon Village Marketplace, the Tusayan General Store and the Desert View Marketplace.

A big factor involving the implementation of the new program was the recent announcement that DNPS earned the registration of GreenPath through the International Organiza-tion of Standardization. The ISO designation is indicative of the company’s commitment to the environment and its stewardship of the unique locations of operation.

Grand Canyon’s team worked on several projects last year, ranging from aggressive involvement in Earth Day activities to all store employees receiving mugs to minimize waste.

Premoshis said Arizona Public Service just recently inspected DNPS housing for ways to save on electricity. Graves Butane, propane supplier, will also become involved in that conservation effort.

Delaware North, based in Buffalo, N.Y., manages food service, lodging, retail, recreation and transportation operations in national and state parks around the country. According to a company release, DNPS appears to be the first U.S. hospitality company to have its environmental management program registered under ISO.

Besides Grand Canyon, the company had four other locations meet ISO standards:

o Yosemite Concession Services Corp., a DNPS company that manages hotels, restaurants, retail, transportation and recreation facilities at Yosemite National Park.

o DNPS at Sequoia National Park, where the company manages the Wuksachi Lodge as well as retail an food service operations.

o Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., a DNPS-run state park facility on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

o The DNPS Reservation Call Center in Fresno, Calif.

All of the properties were notified of their ISO registrations following independent audits by NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., a firm specializing in measuring companies’ environmental and quality management systems against international standards and issuing registrations, including ISO 14001 (environmental management standards).

The independent auditing process for these facilities began last June and concluded in mid-October. During that time, DNPS at Yosemite, Sequoia, Asilomar, Grand Canyon and Fresno underwent an intense assessment of their GreenPath environmental programs. Documents were reviewed, environmental activities verified and employees interviewed to determine the effectiveness of the company’s environmental management systems.

"Our audits revealed that GreenPath, DNPS’ environmental management program, is a sound program worthy of ISO 14001 registration," said Kevan Lawlor, president of NSF-ISR. "At each location, we found the company meeting or exceeding both the ISO standards and its own benchmarks, with full staff awareness and participation."

ISO sets more than 13,000 international standards for business and governmental agencies, including the well-known ISO 9000 quality assurance standard. ISO introduced its environmental management standards in 1996. Since then, approximately 1,500 U.S. companies have achieved ISO 14001 registration, the majority of which are in the manufacturing industry.

"We’re proud to be among a select number of U.S. organizations registered under ISO 14001," said Dennis Szefel, president of DNPS. "Since GreenPath was formally initiated last year, we’ve succeeded in reducing waste and conserving energy, and have contributed to preserving our natural resources. While we have long been committed to responsible stewardship of the locations in which we operate, ISO 14001 validates our efforts toward that end, hopefully inspiring others to follow suit."

DNPS designed GreenPath with support from Environmental Resources Management, a global consulting firm that specializes in the development and implementation of sustainable environmental programs for a broad range of clients.

According to Szefel, the impetus for GreenPath came from staff.

"When we first set out to procure concessions contracts in national and state parks, our employees were profoundly impressed not only by the singular beauty and grandeur of these settings, but also by the fragility of their ecosystems," Szefel said. "From the very beginning, we have understood our responsibility to protect these special places. It is simply the right thing to do."

ISO registration requires the DNPS locations to adhere to a strict schedule of independent environmental audits by NSF-ISR in order to maintain their ISO registrations. These will be performed semi-annually, in addition to DNPS’ periodic internal environmental audits and those required by local, state and federal regulators.

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