Thursday, October 27, 2016

Green Sports World Series - Part 1

Cubs vs. Indians

As the true power of sport and sustainability lies in the size of the audience, the information used to determine this Green World Series Champion is pulled only from sources readily available to the everyday fan.  That means information communicated outside of the organization.  It’s one thing to have a really cool, well-performing, sustainable stadium -- but if a team isn’t telling people about it they’re missing huge opportunities both for personal PR/brand building and public outreach/issue awareness.  Therefore, although each team may be doing more for sustainability behind the scenes -- things which many of my colleagues probably know about -- if the information did not come up in searches that a typical fan might do, it was not included in the analysis. So who takes the trophy, the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians?

Part 1 - Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs sustainability, Green World SeriesI gave a preliminary first run to the Cubs because they were the first team about which I saw something green sports-related (during Postseason).  On twitter, mind you.  But as twitter is where a lot of green sports discussion and info-sharing takes place, it’s a big place for me.

More on the Chicago Cubs and sustainability

Like any good green sports program, the Cubs have done some work to address waste.  In 2010, the team partnered with Solo Cup Company, Allied Waste, Free Green Can and Levy Restaurants to introduce the "Real Fans Recycle" program at Wrigley Field.   Through the program, fans could deposit plastic cups at specially marked recycling containers located both in and outside the stadium. The plastic cups were then recycled into a variety of products. In addition, fans are using 100 percent recycled napkins, compostable plates and cutlery.  The program was expected to divert roughly 165,000 pounds of cardboard and plastic material from the waste stream annually, saving an estimated 2,180 cubic yards of landfill space.  Actual impact, as well as information on whether this program is still active, is unknown. Great program, the kickoff was picked up well, but Cubs get an out for post or during-projects comms.

The link provided in the first-run tweet led to the Cubs’ 1060 Project webpage.  The 1060 Project started after the 2014 season and is ongoing.  It is the restoration project for Wrigley Field under which a number of sustainability initiatives are being/have been pursued.  First of all, major props for preservation.  Not only is utilizing an existing structure a major green building win, but MLB has so few of its pinnacle stadiums left, we need Wrigley to stay!

1060 Project environmental activities include:  
  • Reducing water usage through more efficient appliances and fixtures
  • Transporting construction debris to recycling centers
  • Using recycled materials where possible
  • Employing the use of construction materials harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the job site where possible, to reduce transportation emissions and support the local economy
  • Installing energy-efficient hot water systems with energy management controls
  • Installing energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems for suites, the player clubhouse and other club spaces
  • Using low volatile organic compound (low VOC) paints, adhesives, carpets and flooring, to improve indoor air quality in the ballpark
  • Pursuing renewable energy credits (REC) in obtaining electrical services

The project will also have/has a positive impact on jobs (diversity is a stated focus, but is local hiring Cubs?), the surrounding community, and of course the Illinois/Chicago economy.  

And of course, the Cubs have their very own Soler Power.

The series may be tied at 1-1, but if it were left up to sustainability alone, we may have a champion sooner than expected. See how the Cleveland Indians match up in sports sustainability in Part 2 of this post.