A recent article penned by Forbes contributor David Ferris outlines the goals of sports organizations in implementing sustainability initiatives at their venues. Interviewing representatives from AEG, Vulcan Inc., the Philadelphia Eagles and NASCAR, Ferris centers on the main objectives driving sports sustainability:
- Organizations must make their operations more efficient in the use of energy and water and smart waste diversion, but there is also often an incentive to tailor your message in a way that engages fans and provides tangible showcase initiatives to which fans can relate.
- The project must be tailored to integrate into the unique limitations of the venue. For example, the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles seems a natural fit for a solar-energy installation. But the roof design and surrounding development guided the final implementation of the project. “We don’t have as much space as you think we do,” said Jennifer Regan, the global sustainability director at arena operator AEG, “and we have lots of constraints on the built environment.”
- Projects must show a return on the investment quickly and save money for the venue in the long run. More often than not, environmentally sustainable practices also result in economic savings, and the key is to develop initiatives that benefit all facets of the business.
- The biggest challenge in the greening of a sports organization is the constant push for newer technologies that improve efficiency. An organization must be cognizant of these new developments but ensure that they are viable enough to provide the full range of economic and ecological benefits.