By Jamie Leary

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– The Town of Breckenridge is now among the top in the world when it comes to “green” destinations. Earlier this month, the town announced its certification as a sustainable mountain resort destination, using the Mountain IDEAL standard.

Breckenridge, Colorado (credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The Mountain IDEAL standard and the Mountain IDEAL certification is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a sustainability standard and certification program. The criteria to qualify goes beyond what one might expect for a sustainable town.

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“There’s so many other factors. It includes the health of our community, the safety of our community, equality, human rights issues it includes our workforce and our economy and housing and so really there were so many different areas aside from just our recycling efforts or our electrification efforts that went into this,” said Littleton.

Breckenridge was the second in the world to receive the certification, Vail was the first in 2018. It also made the top 100 Sustainable Destination’s list according to Green Destinations’ website.

Littleton said while the certification wasn’t easy, it never would have happened without support from the entire county. From Vail Resorts, to Breckenridge Grand Vacations.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s not even just that the Town of Breckenridge was certified. It’s really that Breckenridge as a destination was certified, so this really involved business people, lodging, tourism, Summit County, the forest service… there was a huge amount of stakeholder involvement,” said Littleton.

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While things like recycling and adding more electric vehicles are all part of the certification, messaging encouraging visitors to do their part is critical.

“What does it mean to promote sustainability to our visitors, to our guests and how can we be able to begin to train actually a lot of our workforce in sustainable messaging, what you can recycle, what you can’t recycle,” Littleton continued, “and then also you know, really pushing that transportation piece, people can be around and about here and see our electric buses which are so cool and we’re working on getting more.”

While there are many things the town had to do to acquire the certification, it also helped them realize there was even more they could do for sustainability.

(credit: CBS)

Creating more affordable housing and eliminating single-use plastics, like bags, are among the short-term goals.

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“We have this big community-wide goal of being 100% renewable energy by 2035 and so we’re working on that every day,” said Littleton.

Jamie Leary