Sustainability is a Team Effort at WhiteWater

Most company websites talk about their great teams, and how their talent is what makes the company valuable. Nowhere is that truer than at WhiteWater—we celebrate the diverse range of talents which form us, from designers and architects, to engineers and sculptors. We believe that the variety of these perspectives will help us solve the sustainability challenges we all face. It has long been part of our culture to ‘face everything’ so that we communicate transparently and address issues directly; our response to our sustainability goals is no different. We know that as a manufacturer of water slides and interactive water play structures we make big things which are resource intensive and hard to recycle, however, we aim to address this.

WhiteWater has committed to some ambitious goals across all areas of the business with the intent of halving our waste in the next 10 years and being climate neutral by 2040. Our sustainability plan is based on making progress in four areas and each has an employee team guiding the delivery. These volunteer teams are built from experts in the area to be addressed, for instance, supply chain professionals looking at upstream inputs and how we make our supply chain more ecological to reduce our carbon footprint.

“To achieve the ISO14001 standard, we are considering biodegradable and environmentally-friendly alternatives for all of our raw materials, we are working with our suppliers to make our end products truly greener with less impact on the environment,” said Katrina Kalashnikova, WhiteWater’s Senior Project Manager and member of the Manufacturing Sustainability team.

Our Park Operations and Products Sustainability team looks at the other end of our process, how we can influence the reduction of resource use in parks, our architects share best practices, and our product managers focus on making our products ever more efficient. You don’t need to sacrifice great ride experiences to be greener, precise ride engineering can make rides smoother and more fun at the same time as reducing their water and energy consumption. “Our products need to be environmentally efficient in all respects, including materials and chemicals used, energy consumed in manufacturing and operations, and the waste from these processes and water park installations, we are looking to minimize all of these impacts,” commented Kelly Williams, team member and WhiteWater’s Product Systems Manager.

But the teams aren’t alarmed they don’t have all the answers, yet. As Emily Colombo, VP of Partnerships and Corporate Sustainability team member points out, “I’ve seen firsthand the amazing creativity of the solutions we create day in and out for clients—we’ll figure this out because we believe in collaboration and the brain trust of talent within WhiteWater.”

All four teams are approaching these ambitious goals in a logical and structured way and breaking things down into actionable areas. “We’ve started by doing comprehensive audits throughout the organization to understand the base line from which we’ll track improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation,” said Dave Burgess, WhiteWater’s Senior Manager of Product Management and Corporate Sustainability team member.

On the giving back front, the Social Responsibility team has been working through an employee consultation process to choose the charity WhiteWater’s 1% of profit will go to, just one of the ways the wider employee group is being kept informed and engaged. Every month, a cross section of the 50 sustainability task force members provides updates, along with videos or blogs posted on our intranet to share progress.

It is very clear from the number of volunteers for the sustainability teams and the read rates of our updates that our employees are very engaged in our sustainability efforts. “With a diverse employee base, in terms of ages, professional expertise, and backgrounds it is clear we share this responsibility to help protect the planet’s future and are united in a desire to make WhiteWater the sustainability leader of our industry, so we can continue to be proud to work here,” said Dawn Kirby, WhiteWater’s Senior Marketing Manager and Park Operations and Products Sustainability team member.

Una DeBoer