Italy’s Val Gardena is working to cut CO2 emissions with both short and long-term goals.
The famous South Tyrol ski resort, with a commitment to sustainability that has now been confirmed with GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) certification, has targeted what’s been identified as the largest source of CO2 emissions in the province: transport. More than 40% of fossil fuel emissions is mostly caused by private cars, which in turn results in heavy traffic, especially at peak times of the ski season.
Val Gardena’s goals, by 2026, include creating a mobility centre which will develop projects for car-free and accessible connections. The targets include reducing traffic on mountain passes (Gardena Pass and Sella Pass) by 20%; increasing arrival on public transport by 10 to 15%; double e-charging stations; expanding renewable energy sources for businesses by 25% and reducing printed material and use of plastic by 20%, all in the next three years.
Val Gardena is also working with the province of South Tyrol on the “Klimaland Südtirol” and the “KlimaPlan Energie – Südtirol 2050” initiatives to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goals.
Val Gardena’s GSTC certificate for sustainable tourism is by no means a final result, rather the official start of a broader project that focuses on environmental protection, social responsibility, and hospitality for an increasingly sustainable tourism. Located in the stunning Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the certificate means it commits to applying the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is an organisation founded in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote sustainability and social responsibility in tourism.
In 2020, a working group consisting of different stakeholders, including professional associations and members of Val Gardena’s three municipalities, was founded under the motto “Respect the Dolomites”.
The Val Gardena Mobility Centre was founded as part of this with the primary task of solving traffic issues. The aim is for public transport to become the tool used to monitor and control traffic, while leveraging bus and lift connections will create alternatives to private transport.
The resort is also promoting a “Stay longer, dive deeper” long-term holiday concept for guests meaning each extra, car-free day reduces arrival and departure traffic, thus markedly reducing emissions.
Other sustainable projects will, among other things, also ensure adequate mobility solutions should the valley win its bid to host the 2029 World Ski Championships.
(Image credit: Val Gardena – Gröden Langkofel @MichaelKasslatter.jpg )