Leadership in Greening the Sports Industry – An IGEL conference

The day starts with an introduction by Kenneth Shropshire  and Allen Hershkowitz. Sports greening industry is an important step in the sports industry. Ten years ago, the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles collaborated with National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create a sports stadium that cut its carbon drastically and formed its first green stadium in the League. Ten years after, The Green Sports Initiative went from five teams from five leagues to now over 180 teams in numerous sports league. Sports greening is now a widespread practice.


The Leadership in Greening the Sports Industry Conference brought together a diverse panel of speakers. Allen Hershkowitz, from NRDC, open the event with the statistic, “13% of people follow science, and over 63% follow sports”. Other Members and partners of the Green Sports Alliance  rounded out the first panel of speakers. Scott Jenkins   from the Seattle Mariners talked of the path toward diverting over 85% of waste from landfill through recycling and composting and how this save the organization over $2 million dollars in the past seven years. Justin Zeulner, from the Portland Trailblazers, talked of the Rose Garden and how collaboration with the community and with the fans help the organization achieve its sustainability goal while saving money. Events such as electronic waste recycling and the use of “Dream Machine” help introduce fans to the world of sustainability while providing incentives. The Rose Garden has recently completed its scope 3 travel and waste emission analysis and has become one of the first in the industry to do so.

Doug Behar from the New York Yankee Organization, highlighted how sustainability practices in the old stadium existed for financial purpose even before the idea of sustainability even exist in the industry. There are some restrictions because of the physical structure of the old stadium. But easy fix such as recycling and composting as well as switching to LED lights yield solid reductions has already put the organization on the right path which is visible in the design of the new stadium. The new Yankee stadium was design with green in mind right from the start. The cardboard boxes that were used in the move were made from recycled material saving 28 trees from being chopped down. The design looked at many details such as the type of cooking oil used, as well as the angle and shading of the high beam lightings.

Jennifer Regan from AEG round out the panel and talked of how AEG has come up with a matrix that it uses throughout all its venues. Jennifer introduced the application of ISO 140001 and how the standard applies to the sports industry. She talked in detail how to apply ISO 140001 into a matrix and how to communicate the idea to all stakeholders.

Overall the panel pointed out that:

–          Communication within the organization is important. Each individual must understand what sustainability means to their function and how they can help achieve the overall sustainable goal.

–          Fan and community participation. “13% of people follow science, and over 63% follow sports”

–          Sustainability in the Sports Industry is new and there are huge potentials for growth in the field

–          Interaction among the different leagues and organizations can create friendly competition that can help stimulate the process.

The blog was written: Leadership in Greening the Sports Industry on Sept 20, 2013. For the day’s information: http://igel.wharton.upenn.edu/research/leadership-in-greening-the-sports-industry-conference/


About t5huang

Masters in Environmental Science at UPenn Candidate
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