The Sports Industry at the Paris Climate Talks



Allen Hershkowitz, PhD
Green Sports Alliance



This week I travel to Paris, where I will be joined by sports industry representatives from throughout the world to communicate our collective concern about the urgent need to address climate change. Like everyone attending the Paris climate negotiations, those of us representing the sports industry will also be communicating about our collective responsibility to help reduce global warming pollution. We will also be reporting on the many good initiatives that the sports industry has already undertaken during the past decade to lower its carbon profile.

The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) represents the first United Nations climate meeting where the global sports industry will be playing a prominent role. I am proud to report that three events at the COP21 will be hosted or co-hosted by the Green Sports Alliance, and there will also be an event hosted by the French Ministry of Sports. Our intention is to use the visibility of sports to reach out to millions of fans and businesses, urging us all to take action, and to recognize that we are one team, one planet, and that climate change is not a game.

The United Nations recently reported that during the past twenty years, more than 600,000 people have died due to weather related events, while more than 4 billion people have been injured and about $2 trillion in economic damage has been incurred. The past ten years, as ocean temperatures have climbed and glaciers have melted, saw twice the amount of weather-related damage incurred than the ten years previously. Things are getting worse.

The two-week climate summit in Paris has been years in the making. It will seek to make progress in three areas: 1. Controlling emissions, 2. Developing financial assistance plans to help developing nations mitigate their own contribution to the problem and help them adapt to the major challenges that climate change imposes on them, and 3. Plan for future action.

Mitigation is essential; we must reduce our use of fuels that contribute to global warming. The goal is to develop plans collectively that will limit future warming to no more than 2 degree Celsius (almost 4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. The good news is that mitigation plans have been submitted by more than 170 countries, which are collectively responsible for 90 percent of all greenhouse emissions. The United States submitted its plan in March of 2015, and pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 26% by 2025 (using 2005 as the baseline year). China’s plan promises to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The not so good news is that the plans so far submitted don’t collectively add up to enough of a reduction in emissions to prevent worsening catastrophic damage. More needs to be done. Much more. And for this reason, negotiators at the COP will also focus on financing adaptation, especially for developing countries.

To truly address the climate crisis, we need a transformative shift in cultural attitudes about how we relate to the Earth. The Paris COP shows that mobilizing the world’s governments to act is crucial. But governments don’t lead cultural shifts, they follow. The global sports industry, one of the world’s most powerful economic sectors and arguably the most visible, is helping to lead that cultural shift towards ecologically smarter behavior. Already, the Green Sports Alliance and our allies have reached more than 100 million people about the need to shift towards responsible environmental stewardship, and our member teams and venues have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of millions of pounds, and they’ve often saved money doing so.

If you would like to learn about our work, please join us in Paris, watch our events on line at, or follow the conversation with #GreenSports.

On December 5th and 6th, Green Sports Alliance COP21 panels will be held at 5PM (Paris-time) in Room 5 at Le Grand Palais:

  • On December 5th our panel speakers include:
    • Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E
    • Neil Beecroft, Sustainability Manager, UEFA
    • Gretchen Blieler, Olympic silver medalist in snowboarding; Protect Our Winters Board member
    • Omar Mitchell, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, National Hockey League
  • Moderator: Allen Hershkowitz, President, Green Sports Alliance
  • On December 6th our panel speakers include:
    • Chris DeVolder, Sustainable Design Leader, HOK
    • Sheila Nguyen, Executive Director of the Sports Environment Alliance
    • Alexis LeRoy, Founder and CEO, ALLCOT Group
    • Moderator: Scott Jenkins, Chairman, Green Sports Alliance

On December 7th at the Stade de France, the Green Sports Alliance is participating in Sustainable Innovation in Sport, a multi-panel symposium convened by Climate Action that is bringing together 100+ leaders from government, the United Nations, sports leagues and teams, and corporate sustainability leaders.

Confirmed speakers at the Stade De France event include:

  • Allen Hershkowitz, PhD, President, Green Sports Alliance
  • Neil Hawkins, Chief Sustainability Officer and Corporate VP, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Tânia Braga, Committee Head of Sustainability, Accessibility and Legacy, Rio 2016 Olympic Games
  • Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, Global Technology and Sustainability Director, Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions
  • Jean-Pierre Siutat, President, French Basketball Federation
  • Alexandra Boutelier, Managing Director, Stade de France
  • Mael Besson, Policy Officer, Sustainable Development of Sport, French Ministry of Cities, Youth and Sport
  • Vivanne Fraisse, Sustainability Head, Roland Garros
  • Neil Beecroft, Sustainability Manager, UEFA
  • Alain Riou, Adjoint Director-General, French Federation of Tennis
  • Gretchen Blieler, Olympic silver medalist in snowboarding; Protect Our Winters Board member
  • Omar Mitchell, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, National Hockey League
  • Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer, BT Group
  • Jacques Lambert, President, UEFA EURO 2016 Steering Committee; President, EURO 2016 SAS
  • Lewis Pugh, UNEP Patron of the Oceans
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Formula E Join Forces With Green Sports Alliance

Formula E part of growing sustainability network

LONDON, UK (November 30) The FIA Formula E Championship has today announced its partnership with the Green Sports Alliance, a prestigious organisation dedicated to promoting sustainability in the sports industry.

The Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the development of better practices and solutions to environmental challenges in the sports industry. Its initiative aspires towards global participation of environmental stewardship including focussing on reducing waste output, conserving energy and embracing renewable energy, and eliminating toxic chemicals.

2015.11.30-FE199 - Formula E join forces with Green Sports Alliance-IMAGE

As the world’s first fully-electric racing series, Formula E represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said: “Formula E is proud of the collaborative nature in which leading world companies, both in and out of motor racing, have come together with a shared vision of promoting sustainability. We look forward to our shared co-operation with the Green Sports Alliance in the push to promote sustainable values.”

“Formula E is the only sport ever created specifically to advance an environmental mission, that is, getting car racing to shift away from its dependence on fossil fuels. In doing so, Formula E has captured the hearts and minds of environmentalists as well as racing fans throughout the world,” said Green Sports Alliance President Allen Hershkowitz. “I can think of no better alignment of purpose than the collaboration of Formula E and the Green Sports Alliance. We are delighted and honoured to have them as the newest member of our international sports greening coalition.”

Agag will join a panel of experts organised by Green Sports Alliance at COP21 in Paris in December to address representatives of European sports organisations, NGOs, government representatives and the public, to highlight the opportunities that sustainability in sports offers to the wider climate change effort. He will also be a keynote speaker at the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit in Houston, USA in June 2016.

For more information on Formula E visit


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Former Vice President Al Gore, Green Sports Alliance President Dr. Allen Hershkowitz & Other Sustainability Leaders Unveil STAPLES Center & AEG’s Newest Sustainability Initiative Bloom Energy Fuel Cells

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — AEG and STAPLES Center held a celebratory event marking the completion of its Bloom Energy fuel cell technology deployment today. Former Vice President Al Gore joined executives from AEG, Bloom Energy, Green Sports Alliance and the City of Los Angeles to “Flip the Switch” on the recently installed Bloom Energy fuel cells that will provide on-site generation to STAPLES Center. The 500 kW fuel cell project will generate power through a clean and efficient electrochemical process, providing approximately 25% of the power required by the sports and entertainment venue each year. The Bloom Energy Servers will also reduce STAPLES Center’s carbon emissions by 2.2 million pounds of carbon annually, a 39% reduction compared to electricity purchased from the local utility.


The purchase of the new technology for the downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment arena furthers STAPLES Center’s reputation as “the most efficient arena in the world.” This project contributes to the sustainability goals created by AEG, owners of STAPLES Center, as part of the organization’s corporate environmental sustainability program, AEG 1EARTH, and the mission to reduce the company’s environmental impact and drive business value through sustainability for all company assets including more than 100 venues affiliated with its AEG Facilities division.


Read the full article here.

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