We Believe in Giving Back
At Dolomite Mountains, we believe in giving back – giving back to everything from our local community to our global environment.
Here at Dolomite Mountains, we believe in the value of sharing our love of the mountains and natural places with others – but also know we need to take care of them if they are to be here for future generations. That’s why we make a conscious effort to give back in everything we do: from employing sustainable practices in our daily office operations, to selecting local partners in our mountain community, to building relationships with global companies that share our core values, to protecting the environment and reducing our impact.
The Dolomite Mountains are renowned as one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes on Earth, and deemed worthy of protection. In 2009, the Dolomites were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining the world’s other cultural and natural wonders. By inscribing these sites, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) seeks to “encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” The Dolomites were unanimously approved for inscription, as a property that protects “a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty.” While this is recognized internationally, our local communities are equally committed to the enjoyment, protection, and preservation of the Dolomite Mountains.
THINKING GLOBALLY, ACTING LOCALLY
We recognize that access to travel to increasingly remote places has increased as technologies have improved. But we also realize that one of the great appeals of travel is having a local, cultural experience. Partnering with vendors in our local community not only benefits travelers, but the community itself, and their interest in protecting their environment in addition to the environment as a whole.
At Dolomite Mountains, we work closely with our local community. You’ll find that everyone from our taxi and bus drivers, hotels and rifugi, restaurants and bars, and guides and staff live in and most often hail from the region. Each of these constitutes a small business, so the majority of the cost of your tour goes directly back into the local proprietor. We visit local restaurants where authentic, locally sourced cuisine is prepared in traditional ways. We hire guides who have been hiking and climbing and skiing in these mountains almost since birth, and have a passion for sharing this magical landscape. And even our drivers and other staff are knowledgeable about the area, passionate about protecting it, and love sharing their insights! By supporting our local operators, we help ensure that the local culture not only endures, but thrives.
CHOOSING SUSTAINABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
Wherever possible, we select accommodations that adhere to environmentally sustainable standards.
In the South Tyrolean region of the Dolomites, we offer CasaClima accommodations in hotels, chalets, and apartments. CasaClima is an energy efficiency building certification that sets a standard for energy efficiency and the use of sustainable resources. As of mid-2022, CasaClima has certified over 18,000 new buildings and renovation projects, offering us (and you!) a wealth of options to choose from.
We work extensively with eco-sustainable rifugi that have upgraded their technology and energy-saving capabilities. That says a lot about the importance of sustainability to the owners of and culture at rifugi. Also known as refuges or mountain inns, many are decades if not almost a century old, originally existing as resting places for mountaineers. Yet today, as hiker’s cabins with ample amenities, they have been on the forefront of combatting climate change. Upgrades include thermal insulation; solar panels; eco-friendly appliances; water resource management; locally sourced, organic food; waste separation; and reduction/elimination of single-use plastics. All of this while preserving the authenticity of the rifugio experience, meeting the delicate balance of “tourist modernity and unspoiled nature.” For more information, check out our blog post: Sustainability in the Mountains.
BEYOND CARBON NEUTRAL: CLIMATE POSITIVE
We all know that travel can take its toll on our environment – from local communities to the planet overall. But we also believe that travel can be a source for good. Travel provides not only an opportunity to discover new landscapes and cultures, but inspires a drive and sense of importance to preserve them.
Dolomite Mountains has partnered with WOWnature to become not only climate neutral, but climate positive by 2030. This starts with our in-house operations, which will likely meet that goal much sooner, followed by offsetting all of our operations, including our clients’ travel, by 2030. To accomplish this, not only are we offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions, but supporting carbon reduction projects in the Dolomite Mountains and Beyond.
Organizations We Partner With
To further our commitment to sustainability, we partner with several worthy organizations that contribute to the betterment of societies and their environs around the world.
We encourage you to learn more about them (see below), and if you feel their work is as important as we do, to help us support their efforts.
Nature is good for you. Take care of it.
WOWnature’s goal is to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of our world. As an initiative by Etifor, the international consulting firm and a spin-off of the University of Padua, WOWnature is able to respond to real environmental problems with scientific, effective, and creative solutions, leveraging the most innovative ideas in the forestry, environmental, and social sectors. Initially focused on projects in Northern Italy, today it has projects in Northern Italy and neighboring countries, as well as South America, South East Asia, and Africa.
In October 2018, Northeastern Italy was hit by the most damaging windstorm that has ever affected the country – Vaia. More than 41,000 hectares (410km² / 158mi²) of forest were destroyed, not only shattering the Italian forestry system, but severely socioeconomically impacting mountain regions, including Val di Fassa in the Dolomites. This is how we became aware of WOWnature. As our partners today, they are replanting the lost trees from the Vaia disaster, concurrently working to increase biodiversity in the forests here. This will not only help prepare it for future extreme weather events, but also help counteract the climate crisis. When you choose our Trek of the Legends: Hiking in Val di Fassa Sustainable Journey, your decision helps support this fantastic project. Plus, you'll experience some of the most invigorating scenery that nature has gifted to us all.
Our partnership with WOWnature extends beyond their response to the Vaia disaster, to a carbon footprint analysis of both direct and indirect emissions. In partnership with them, we have set forth our action plan to become climate positive by 2030.
THE LONG RUN
Business as a Force for Good
The Long Run is a membership organization of nature-based tourism businesses committed to driving sustainability. The strategy is to protect wilderness in perpetuity via the 4Cs: a holistic balance of Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. Founded in 2009, the organization has grown to be one of the world’s largest nature-based business initiatives, with over 60 members worldwide. Dolomite Mountains has joined The Long Run to become part of one of the world’s largest sustainable development initiatives led by nature-based businesses.
As part of this partnership, we offer a series of Sustainable Journeys, trips that provide more sustainable, lower impact ways to explore the Dolomites. Rediscover classic itineraries that avoid the most heavily trafficked trails, yet still offer the same magnificent vistas and panoramas. Or explore wilder trails in more remote areas, where nature reigns supreme. Or adventure through a variety of valleys, taking in the similarities and differences within each landscape and culture. All along the way, you’re likely to encounter a rich and powerful experience.
Supporting a Local Community
La Liga (The League) is a volunteer organization that provides clothing and household goods to the members of the community surrounding our founder Agustina Lagos Mármol’s family’s estancia in Patagonia, Argentina.
La Liga was born thanks to the tenacity, loving and caring of three sisters: Ofelia, Elena, and Lola Lagos Mármol, daughters of the Estancia’s founder and Agustina’s great grandfather, Don Juan Lagos Mármol. Their mission was to help the people that worked at the ranch, and the Mapuche native communities from the surrounding area. La Liga started in a large room at the very end of a barn, where family and friends would donate clothing, which was later distributed for free among the Estancia staff and other people in need.
When Lola passed away, Rosa Moreno (the wife of Don Juan’s son, Jorge Lagos Mármol) took her place and continued the charity. Rosa was then 22 years old, and quickly realized that people were not taking care of the clothing that was being given to them for free. She decided that if they charged a small fee, the people might appreciate what was being given to them a bit more. From here on out, people began to take only what they needed, started to be more careful with the items that they selected, and valued them more.
At the same time, Rosa asked the family to increase their financial donations, so La Liga could buy other items such as sewing machines, wood burning stoves, cooking utensils, sleeping mattresses, blankets, and other basic items for their homes. When the locals purchased any of these more expensive items, La Liga would assist them by financing the sale, allowing them to make long-term payments. With all the money that was collected, Rosa traveled to Buenos Aires to purchase more goods, which were sent back to the ranch by train and trucks, and provided to the community.
Fifty years after La Liga’s birth, Rosa continues her hard work providing clothing to all the people in need in the areas surrounding the Estancia.