By OL Reign
Sustainability is a topic of growing importance, environmentally, socially, and economically. The journey is just beginning for the professional sports industry, including OL Reign. From individual player efforts, to changes in the way that the team and staff operate, the club is committed to focusing on sustainability now and in the future, through a variety of intentional efforts.
Many of OL Reign’s sustainability efforts are taking place in the locker room, beginning with education about implementing sustainable habits. Educational signage has been posted around the training facility highlighting how consumptions habits impact biodiversity and the environment, offering players more information about the importance of the sustainability efforts the club is participating in. The club is also providing 30-40% vegan meals, giving athletes the option to eat vegan or simply start the conversation about veganism and sustainability.
To reduce waste and eliminate the use of single-use plastics, OL Reign utilizes reusable plates, cups, and silverware for the locker room, and has transitioned to using items that are purchased in bulk, such as snacks, soap, bodywash, and conditioner, reducing the amount of packaging discarded by the club. The club is also transitioning to the use of reusable towels in place of paper towels whenever possible.
OL Reign’s commitment to sustainability is supported by new partnerships, such as the club’s partnership with Everybody Water, a boxed water brand that comes in 100% recyclable packaging and contains water from a community system. Partnerships like these have aided OL Reign in its efforts to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles by providing sustainable hydration options.
Impact on Retail
OL Reign is currently in the process of transitioning to completely recyclable or compostable packaging on the retail side of the organization. In the Team Store at Cheney Stadium, OL Reign will use 100% recycled paper bags rather than standard plastic bags. For items that need to be shipped, the organization is moving to a 100% recyclable poly mailer to avoid creating packaging waste that will go into a landfill. In addition, new compostable packing tissue and packing stickers will be used.
A new way of printing t-shirts is also being implemented. This direct-to-garment printing will avoid the use of harsh chemicals and use a vinegar base when applying graphics to apparel items.
M.A.D Travel Kits by Lu Barnes
OL Reign defender, Lu Barnes has started her own sustainability effort in the form of M.A.D Travel Kits, which were announced on April 6. M.A.D Travel Kits, short for “Make a Difference,” are eco-friendly travel kits filled with everyday products that are useful for professional women’s soccer players, such as protein powder, reusable utensils, reusable water bottles, toothpaste, deodorant, and more. These kits will be distributed to members of the club. The purpose the project is to encourage professional athletes to support sustainability efforts with their everyday habits and to encourage other professionals and fans to make an effort to do the same.
Barnes is looking forward to launch of these kits, as well as the efforts that the club is taking to become more sustainable.
“For the past six months I have been working with some incredible companies that have a proven track record in sustainable products. Together we have designed the ‘M.A.D’ (Make A Difference) eco travel kit and are taking a pledge to reduce our single-use plastics to lessen our impact on the environment in sport,” said Barnes. “As a team we are passionate about the health of our planet and as a club we’ve made strides to becoming a more sustainable organization. With the backing of OL we have put together some exciting initiatives to further our journey towards a greener future.”
Jas it Up by Jasmyne Spencer
OL Reign forward, Jasmyne Spencer started her own sustainable clothing brand, Jas it Up, in 2017 with the goal of having a positive impact on the environment and society. Spencer works to make sure that her clothing is sustainably sourced on an environmental level, using manufacturing practice and materials that are better for the earth, as well as on a people level, ensuring that the work being done under ethical conditions and those doing the work are paid a fair wage.
“Jas It Up at its core is just an extension of myself and everything that I’m passionate about—preserving our environment and creating opportunities for our youth,” Spencer said. “We all have a responsibility to leave the world in a better place for future generations. That starts with being conscious of how the products we buy and use on a daily basis affect the Earth and the people we share it with.“
OL Reign’s sustainability journey is just getting started, but the club is doing everything it can to ensure that it can continue to improve on its sustainability efforts. It has partnered with locally-owned businesses to achieve its sustainability metrics and is looking into the future to create a formal sustainability plan as part of its social impact plan.
OL Reign Associate General Manger, Santiago Gallo, thinks that the organization has a great opportunity to set an example when it comes to sustainability.
“Our team has a huge platform that if used in the right way, can create change to make a sustainable world and positively impact our planet,” shared Gallo. “For us, it’s what we do on the pitch and outside it, and part of it is making a better world for all our stakeholders and future generations so they are able to enjoy the sport we love, like we are doing right now.”