Monthly Archives: October 2015

Beyond Sport Awards 2015 Winners Announced

The work of the world’s most inspiring and impactful sport for social change organisations was celebrated last night as the winners of the Beyond Sport Awards 2015, supported by Comic Relief, were revealed in London.

39 projects were shortlisted for the seventh annual Beyond Sport Awards representing 23 sports from over 60 countries. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron set the tone for the proceedings with a video message to the audience stating ‘Day after day it’s the stars on the pitch who make the headlines but tonight it is right to stop and pay tribute to you, the stars beyond the field of play, the people who show that by going beyond sport we can use the games we love to tackle some of the greatest social challenges in our world today.’

Winners 15 on white

The Awards presentation kicked off with the Leadership in Sport Award, supported by Mischon de Reya, which was presented to Matthew Spacie for his incredible work with Magic Bus which uses sport-based activities to transform underprivileged children’s lives.

Beyond Sport Global Partner Barclays awarded A Ganar, a youth workforce development program from the Dominican Republic designed to help break the cycle of poverty, with The Barclays Sport for Employability Award.

Corporate of the Year sponsored by Fortune, was awarded to New Balance for their support of GoodGym; the rapidly growing movement of runners doing hands-on good for their local communities.

Moving the Goalposts Kilifi deservedly picked up the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport Award for the incredible work they achieve using football to support, empower and educate girls and young women.

Sports stars came out in force to recognise the great work being done by organisations off the pitch. Olympic Gold Medallist Mark Hunter presented Waves for Change with the Sport for Health Award for their work using surfing as a form of therapy for children in violent communities. Boxing legend Barry McGuigan awarded Fiji Volleyball Federation with Sport Federation Governing Body of the Year and Women’s Rugby Wold Cup winners Emily Scarrett and Maggie Alphonsi MBE presented the Sport for Social Inclusion Award to Breaking the Silence Using Football.

Read the full article here.

Chicago stadiums shift toward making concessions greener

Save for maybe Thanksgiving and the movie theater, there are few places people like to chow down more than ballparks, arenas and stadiums. Sports fans love to eat. It’s tradition.

But when 22,000 Blackhawks fans gather for a game at the United Center, perhaps the furthest thing from their minds is what’s in that Polish sausage or double bacon cheeseburger, and where the waste it creates is headed afterward.


As it turns out, the answers to those questions have changed a lot in recent years, as sports venues nationwide have made greener concessions processes a key piece of their sustainability efforts.

“We are seeing the start of a significant cultural and marketplace shift towards environmentally intelligent food at sports venues,” Allen Hershkowitz, co-founder and president of the Green Sports Alliance, said in a statement.

The Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit group of which many of Chicago’s teams and stadiums are members, assembled in Chicago earlier this year to highlight nationwide efforts to make game day greener.

Fans probably won’t notice those efforts, but they probably can rest easy knowing their favorite teams are going greener—and saving some green in the process.

Read the full article here.

Michigan’s own Connor Sports and The Green Sports Alliance leverage cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities

by Lauren Leffel

There is hardly another platform in existence that garners as much attention and loyalty than the world of sports.

Greening of the Great Lakes host Kirk Heinzewelcomes both Jason Gasperich, the director of sustainability for Connor Sports and Justin Zeulner, the chief operating officer for the Green Sports Alliance, to talk about their mutually beneficial relationship and ongoing sustainability initiatives.

Connor Sports is a world-renowned company in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that manufactures basketball courts, including the NCAA Final Four court every year. Connor Sports recently received a grant from the US Forest Service that will be used to make modifications to their plant’s boiler system. More specifically, it will make the system completely automated. Once the boiler has been lit, a computer will take over and constantly make any needed adjustments.


Here is how this new boiler system, sustainability, and the US Forest Service all tie together. As of right now, the plant burns biomass as its primary fuel source and purchases propane as needed. By improving the efficiency of the boiler system, the company will not only be saving money and energy, it will reduce the amount of propane/fossil fuel it needs. The excess residue left from burning biomass is given to other businesses to use and create sustainable products.

Connor Sports is also going into its fifth year as a part of the Green Sports Alliance, which is an organization that leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities.

“Connor Sports and the Green Sports Alliance have a similar vision: to improve the quality of life for people around the planet,” Gasperich says.

The Green Sports Alliance began as a small local initiative and is now a worldwide movement.

“We are harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of sports fans to advance environmental stewardship through a nonpolitical medium,” explains Zeulner.

Two initiatives The Green Sports Alliance is involved in are waterless urinals and the 1,727 solar panels installed on the roof of The Staples Center in Los Angeles. More than just the act of installing these improvements, how The Staples Center is truly using its athletic platform is through the informational plaques around the facility that explain to fans how and why they are making these improvements. These signs have prompted other business owners and individuals to follow in their footsteps and make green improvements themselves.

Football, basketball, baseball and several other sporting leagues have now begun to reach out and ask for fan support of sustainability initiatives while attending and watching games. For example, food composting and recycling initiatives at sporting events have been successful and have saved thousands of pounds of waste from going to the landfills at virtually no extra cost.

Connor Sports was one of the first businesses to join this initiative and blazed the trail to include the private sector into environmental responsibility in the sports world.

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