THE BIG STORY
Sports Get Green by Upping Their Game for Climate Action
When the word “green” is used in sports reporting, it usually refers to The Money: multi-million-dollar player contracts, billion-dollar stadium projects, and the sky-high valuation of professional sports franchises. Today, however, sports of all varieties are focusing on another kind of “green”: climate action.
Leading the shift is the Green Sports Alliance, an association founded by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Vulcan Inc., Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s philanthropic engine. With nearly 600 organizations representing 15 leagues in 14 countries as members and their millions of fans, GSA is well-positioned to support progressive change on a big scale.
Previously, the group has “catalyzed” sporting venue sustainability initiatives ranging from healthier food choices to the use of renewable energy. Now, GSA is stepping up its game, urging sports industry stakeholders to make deeper commitments through its “Playing for the Next Generation,” campaign which encourages its members and partners to commit to the UN’s Sports for Climate Action Framework. This is a forum for participants to pursue climate action based on two objectives:
- Promoting a set of principles for the global sports community to adopt in order to combat climate change
- The use of sports as a unifying tool to drive climate awareness and action among global citizens.
“The Alliance recognizes the vital need for the sports industry to address climate change and play a significant role in combating it,” said Roger McClendon, Executive Director of the GSA.
On June 19-20, the Alliance will recognize members’ progress and share innovative climate mitigation strategies at the ninth annual 2019 Green Sports Alliance Summit in Philadelphia. At the event, GSA will present its annual Environmental Leadership Award to the United States Tennis Association for its greening programs.
“Green” in sports now refers to much more than The Money — it’s about companies and organizations making sustainability commitments to boost the health of the big “venue” of all games: planet Earth.