Sustainability is “pro business”, “pro community”, “pro employment” and “pro environment”. Sustainability means so much more than recycling aluminum cans and avoiding plastic water bottles. Sustainability is infused with a refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle mentality and it is through these filters that we make our business decisions that include everything from how we print our brochures to how we lay out lunch for our guests each day. It is often the culmination of all the little things that make a big difference in the big picture. Sustainability is about the business itself; the ability of the business to operate for the long term, in an environmentally friendly way, in order to ensure a lasting positive impact on the community as a whole.
Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris is the first, and only, local tour operator to be awarded a Business Emerald Sustainability Tier, (BEST) certification for sustainable practices. From the Riverwind Foundation, “the standards in the BEST program are comparable to the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive environmental, community and economic sustainability criteria”.
Obtaining BEST certification was a rigorous process spanning several months. Every aspect of the business is critiqued and analyzed to determine best practices across several areas of the business, including purchasing and waste management, energy efficiency and renewables and transportation and fuels, water conservation, building and landscaping, community investment and cultural support, health and safety, diversity, equity and inclusion, conservation and resource protection, and marketing and communications. Only businesses that have institutionalized their sustainability practices are awarded this certification, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to best practices.
On the Menu
Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris partners with Teton Lunch Counter to serve a locally-sourced, sustainable lunch option for our guests. The menu includes a choice of sandwich with sides, all sourced locally from nearby farms, bakers, butchers, and other small businesses. It’s the only picnic lunch provided sustainably from a package and waste-free prepared foods provider. The lunches are served to guests in a reusable aluminum container and all waste is composted with a local farm. They offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for guests with dietary needs.
“We aim to reduce the tourism footprint with our zero-waste packaging and by supporting local growers, ranchers, producers and suppliers. We work exclusively with guides and outfitters to provide seasonal nutritious meals for day trips right here in Teton County and Yellowstone National Park. The last summer season allowed us to keep at least 16,000 (sixteen thousand) single-use plastic lunch containers and cellophane out of our local and regional landfills. Each meal reduces a minimum of 4 pieces of single-use plastic waste. With growth in our upcoming summer season, we aim to prevent a minimum of 35,000 single use plastic containers and cutlery from landing in our landfill! This number will continue, year on year. We deliver all meals via E-bike.” -Tori Parker | Owner, Teton Lunch Counter
Teton Lunch Counter currently supports the following local businesses and is always working on additional partnerships in order to expand their offerings:
- Huidekoper Ranch
- Vertical Harvest Farms
- Haderlie Farms
- Teton Valley Meats
- Teton Valley Brands Idaho Potato Chip
- 460 Bread
- Sky High Cuisine
- Morning Dew Mushrooms
This is the first filter we employ in our sustainability decision making process. If there is an item we can do without, we refuse purchase. We try to make do with the items that we have and try to avoid over-purchasing on supplies. Our guests are given water bottles on each safari. We refuse to purchase plastic water bottles, opting instead for a reusable aluminum water bottle that each guest can take home with them. We want to maintain a high standard for the experience of our guests, and we realize that sometimes, less is more.
We look to simplify our operations wherever and whenever possible. We try to consolidate and streamline our use of fossil fuels and other resources. Some of our employees work from home to reduce unnecessary travel back and forth to work. We combine errands when possible so that we are not making multiple trips, when we can accomplish what we need to do in one. We have motion sensor lighting at our shop so lights do not get left on. Our staff makes use of digital technology available to reduce the amount of paper we use for communication. Our confirmations are digitally sent to each guest. Our staff collaborates over apps and digital workspaces. Our business serves to reduce the number of vehicles on the road in the National Parks. Just by doing what we do and offering the guide services that we do, there are fewer vehicles driving through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park each day. Every time two families travel together in a vehicle on a wildlife safari tour, there is one less car on the road in the National Park.
We buy our green cleaning products in bulk and refill our existing containers so that we are not generating plastic waste every time a spray bottle is empty. We utilize actual silverware and dishes for our lunches and serve food from tupperware containers so that we can reduce the amount of single use plastics that may be generated by tens of thousands of lunches over the years. Our office makes a point to reuse office paper whenever possible and to purchase recycled content paper when we need to replenish our supplies. We make sure that our vehicles are maintained to the highest standard so that they are as fuel-efficient as possible. Keeping the maintenance up on these vehicles allows us to cycle them through at longer intervals.