Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Green Sports World Series - Part 2

Cubs vs. Indians

Ground rules recap:

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. 

That being said, if the Green World Series Champion were based only on the number of Google search results, the series would have been over in four games.  Let’s see what fan searches reveal about the Cleveland Indians and their green sports performance.

Part 2 - Cleveland Indians

Progressive field has been recycling plastic, cardboard and aluminum since its inaugural year in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the Indians’ sustainability initiatives really took off.  The Indians were the first team in the American League to go solar, installing panels with 8.4 kw capacity in 2007.  The end of this year also started a major overhaul -- and improvement -- of their waste programs and the organization launched the “Our Tribe is Green” campaign in 2008.

The Indians purchased two materials balers and began on-site sorting of recyclables.  This reduced their trash haul bill and in three years halved their annual waste totals.  The focus on recycling also increased local job availability.  Progressive Field was chosen as the host location for the NRDC’s National Recycling Day in 2011.  Read more about the team’s waste efforts and its impacts in this GreenBiz article.
Reducing waste-to-landfill numbers even more, the Indians added organic waste composting in 2010.  In 2012 they installed an experimental wind turbine.  The goal for the project was not only to increase renewable energy production, but also aid in technology development and local jobs.

Additional “Our Tribe is Green” initiatives include:

  • Environmentally friendly products:
    • LED lighting
    • Recycled content paper towels and tissues
    • Green Seal certified cleaning products
    • Compostable sugar-cane based cutlery and hot serve cups in the office and press box
    • Biodegradable retail bags in the team shops.   
  • Unused food and materials donations to the Cleveland Foodbank after home games
  • Cleveland Green Venues Pledge (signed in 2011) - the Indians pledged to protect the air and water, preserve natural resources, increase green space, reduce consumption of raw materials and support the local economy.  Another key component of this pledge is to reach out to fans, patrons and the community at large to teach the value and practice of sustainable living.
  • EPA E3 Award recipients
  • Continued exploration of innovations and opportunities including a patio garden (part of which was installed in 2015) and water capture
Although not the most visually appealing, the “Our Tribe is Green” website offers tips to fans for being green at work, traveling green, and saving energy.  **ding, ding** for a preliminary power of sport win.  They can do a lot more -- strategically -- by way of using their voice to motivate sustainable behaviour change among the Tribe, but the Indians have made many great steps in the right direction.  Go Tribe!

If it came down to sports sustainability alone, the Indians would have closed out the series over the Chicago Cubs by now, taking the Green World Series Champion title home to Cleveland -- will they finish the job tonight?