This past week, in conjunction with the 2nd annual Green Sports Summit in Seattle, the NRDC released “Game Changer” to highlight pro sports sustainability and environment efforts. The report, Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment, presents 20 case studies of teams, venues and league events that have led the green sports movement by adopting sustainable solutions to their energy, water, and waste needs.
Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, director of NRDC’s green sports project had the following to say in regard to the initiatives taken by teams: “A cultural shift in environmental awareness is needed in order for us to address the serious ecological problems we face, and the sports industry, through its own innovative actions, has chosen to lead the way. Pro sports are showing that smart energy, water and recycling practices make sense. They save money and prevent waste. That’s as mainstream and non-partisan as it comes.”
Based on the timeline provided in the report, The Philadelphia Eagles can be seen as pioneers in the movement. Last year ,Biz of Baseball interviewed Tim Sexton about the partnership with the Eagles that helped enable the first dominoes to begin to fall for the green sports movement. Additionally, we spoke with Jack Cassel (Players For The Planet Co-Founder) and Mark Andrew (Greenmark Sports Founder) last Earth Day. Now, of the 126 professional North American sports teams, 38 teams use renewable energy and 68 have energy efficiency programs. There are now 15 LEED certified North American Stadiums, 18 onsite solar arrays, and all teams use some sort of recyling or composting program.
The strides can be seen across all major sports leagues in the report, especially MLB. In the report MLB Commissioner Bud Selig writes “In my two decades as Commissioner, I have seen our sport take important strides forward on this essential issue” . Additionally, Selig was honored with the Environmental Leadership Award at the Green Sports Alliance Summit Gala at Safeco Field in Seattle on September 6.
Venues, teams, and events highlighted in the report include:
- Atlanta’s Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks
- Cleveland’s Progressive Field, home to MLB’s Cleveland Indians
- Houston’s Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles KINGS and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks
- Miami’s American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat
- Minneapolis’ Target Field, home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins
- Montreal’s Bell Centre, home of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens
- Orlando’s Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles
- Portland’s Rose Garden Arena, home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers
- San Francisco’s AT&T Park, home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants
- Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and MLS’s Seattle Sounders
- Seattle’s Safeco Field, home of MLB’s Seattle Mariners
- St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, home of MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals
- Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors
- The MLB All-Star Game
- The U.S. Open, United States Tennis Association (USTA)
- The NHL All-Star Game, The Winter Classic and the NHL draft
- The NBA All-Star Game and Green Week
- The NCAA Final Four
Martin Tull serves as executive director of the Green Sports Alliance. The GSA is a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, leagues, and venues enhance the environmental performance. The alliance represents over 100 sports team in 13 sports leagues. Tull, who authored the afterword the report, believes that “With the release of this report the world will learn about this good work. Hopefully this report will encourage and guide other teams and venues to follow suit."
The full report just can be found here
David Simmons is a graduate of the University of Central Florida who worked in the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers over 4 seasons and has a decade of ticketing experience.. He serves as CFO for Players For The Planet and currently resides in Baltimore. You can follow David on Twitter @davidesimmons
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