Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 164 – Kate Wilson, Vail Resorts, VP of Environmental & Social Responsibility
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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 164 - Kate Wilson, Vail Resorts, VP of Environmental & Social Responsibility

[Epic Sustainability, Wellness, & Community Service – Vail Resorts at the Peak of Doing Good]

With 42 owned and operated resorts world-wide, Vail Resorts is at the peak of sustainability leadership across its comprehensive suite of environmental, social, employee, and community service initiatives. Moreover, as a “Do Good” values-based company, Vail Resorts leads the way as an example of a competitive, profitable, and growing public company that has woven into its core a deep commitment to social and environmental performance. In this interview, Kate Wilson, VP of Environmental & Social Responsibility discusses Vail’s many core projects, and the fact that, for Vail Resorts, “Sustainability is not a ‘side thing’ … it is integral and operationalized” throughout the corporate ecosystem.

Having asked, “What would it take for companies to address climate change at scale,” Kate found in Vail Resorts an ethical foundation and action-oriented platform from which she is now leading initiatives from recycling, composting, and supply chain improvements, to increasing inclusive access through the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and the National Brotherhood of Snowsports, and from mental health and child care services to food security and even supplying winter gear to front line health care and utility workers in Ukraine. Along with teammates like Dr. Corey Levy of Vail’s Epic Wellness Program, Kate and her team oversee the Epic Employee Foundation which provides families with support and relief in times of crisis, including the tragic Marshall Fire in Colorado that affected many Vail Resorts employees. The company has provided 27,000 pounds of food to at risk Colorado families, and has partnered with Ecoproducts for recyclable and compostable food and beverage products and with Pepsi to upcycle plastic into durable Adirondack chairs. Vail Resorts corporation earns $3 billion in annual revenue and is a global market leader in the outdoor, winter sport, and nature and adventure tourism and hospitality categories, both in terms of financial performance and shareholder returns, and in terms of making sustained social and environmental impact in the many communities world-wide in which the corporation operates.  

About Kate Wilson

As a company rooted in the outdoors, Vail Resorts has a special responsibility to protect the unique mountains where it operates. In her new role as Vice President of Environmental and Social Responsibility, Kate Wilson applies her two decades of experience to leading this critical work. Kate now oversees all four of the company’s responsibility pillars: Sustainability, investing in the future of the industry through Inclusive Access, providing Community Support, and supporting team members through the Employee Foundation. Under her leadership, the company reached 100% renewable electricity across its North American operations for the second consecutive year and is on track to achieve Commitment to Zero – the bold goal to reach a zero net operating footprint by 2030.

Before her promotion to Vice President of Environmental & Social Responsibility in 2023, Kate served as the Senior Director of Sustainability. Representing Vail Resorts, Kate has led sustainability discussions at the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit, Google’s Travel Summit, Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference, and MT2030 – a coalition of mountain towns. Prior to joining Vail Resorts, Kate developed and led the greenhouse gas and sustainability strategy practice at The Cadmus Group for 10 years.

Kate earned a Master of Applied Science in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from Colby College. Kate is the co-lead of Vail Resorts’ Women & Allies Employee Resource Group, chairs the National Ski Areas Association Environmental Committee, and leads the Mountain Collaborative for Climate Action. Kate was recognized by the Denver Business Journal in 2020 on the “40 Under 40” for her work at Vail Resorts.

Resources & Related Episodes

Environmental and Social Responsibility Report: https://www.vailresorts.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Vail-Resorts_ESR_Report_FY23.pdf

Epic Promise Do Good video: https://vimeo.com/894711139

Employee Foundation video: https://vimeo.com/863365682/025a702ffd

Vail Mountain Recycling Center: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/vail-resorts_vail-mountain-recycling-center-activity-7156726306930401281-JFgz/

The Gondola Gallery by Epic (videos embedded): https://www.epicpass.com/info/gondola-gallery.aspx

Ep. 163 – Jared Meyers, Chairman, Legacy Vacation Resorts; Co-Founder, Climate First Bank

Ep. 150 – Hunter Lovins on UN’s COP 28 Climate Change Summit

Ep. 145 – Jerry Tinianow, former CSO, City of Denver; Founder, Western Urban Sustainability Advisors

Ep. 140 – Dr. James Gordon MD, Founder, Center for Mind-Body Healing, on Trauma Healing in Ukraine

Ep. 107 – Elaine Blumenhine & Friends, Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa

Ep. 25 – Hunter Lovins, Author, A Finer Future; Founder, Natural Capitalism Solutions

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