Dear Alliance Members & Partners of the Sports Greening Movement,
Greetings from Tokyo. On this special Earth Day 2018, we celebrate yet another watershed moment in the history of the sports greening movement. It’s been eight years since our first gathering in February 2010 when the Green Sports Alliance was conceived. Since that time, the North American-based Alliance has grown from six professional teams to nearly 600 members at present day, representing 15 leagues in 14 countries.
Joined by fellow colleagues representing MLB, New York Yankees, NBA, Miami Heat, Seattle University, PlanLED and NatureWorks, today we are celebrating the launch of Green Sports Alliance Japan.
Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the Green Sports Alliance Japan headquarters are located on Lake Kawaguchiko and is led by their Executive Director, Mr. Haruki Sawada. While Green Sports Alliance Japan will operate as an independent organization with its own board of directors, funding, and staff, we will collaborate with Mr. Sawada to internationally harmonize our programs, actions, and campaigns with the intended purpose of scaling our collective ability in creating healthier communities where we live and play.
We had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting Mr. Sawada and his Japanese colleagues in 2016, following a convening in Berlin, Germany where we were speaking about our movement. At the time, Mr. Sawada was working in Europe and was so moved by the success stories from our members in North America, he reached out to us with a vision to create a similar organization in Japan.
“My first meeting with Green Sports Alliance in Berlin was at a chemical business conference in 2016,” said Mr. Haruki Sawada. “It was a strange to hear from people from the United States while in Berlin, talking about sports all while at a chemical business conference. However, it ended up with an eye-opening opportunity to take a new step in my life. It made me realize that this could be the way to materialize truly required sustainability in our society, and I made up my mind to just go for it.”
After careful consideration, Mr. Sawada left his role at Mitsubishi International and moved back to his home country with a dream to form a sports greening organization for Japan. To make his dream a reality, Mr. Sawada sought guidance and support from his long-time mentor and friend, Mr. Mikio Yoshino, the founder of the Green Sports Alliance Japan.
“When I heard of the Green Sports Alliance, I thought that a similar organization was also needed in Japan for our new future. In our history, Japan opened the border at the beginning of Meiji era and after the World War II,” noted Mr. Mikio Yoshino. “This is going to be our third time opening our border and this time I hope that it will result in building truly required harmonization and peace beyond race, nationality, religion, and ideology on our planet.”
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Sawada and have learned a great deal about Japanese culture and ideology on sports. Through this collaboration, we see tremendous value in these learnings and great potential in how we can work together and continue to inspire a culture of environmental leadership in Japan, North America, and other regions of the world. Together, we will increase the value for all members of the sports greening movement.
The sports greening movement provides a unique opportunity for international harmonization in effective environmental action. By collectively leveraging the cultural and social influence of sports, our movement unifies, convenes, and inspires communities around the planet to PLAY GREENER. As the influence of our work grows, so too does the opportunity and our ability to scale our impacts and make lasting, positive change.
Please join us in celebrating this milestone and welcoming Mr. Haruki Sawada, his colleagues and all the Green Sports Alliance Japan stakeholders to our family.
Justin Zeulner, Executive Director & Jason Twill, Co-Founder, Founding Chair & Board Director