Green custodians set GOAL roadmap for venues


Oak View Group sustainability platform Image: Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena

The sports company Oak View Group (OVG), the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Atlanta Hawks and their residence – the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia (US), the Fenway Sports Group, and the prominent ‘Green’ architect Jason F. McLennan have joined forces to accelerate the sports and entertainment industry’s response to the climate crisis.

‘NBA’ stated that GOAL, which stands for Green Operations and Advanced Leadership, will provide venues with a tactical roadmap, easy-to-use tracking tools, a library of resources, and access to like-minded operators, vendors and sponsors all committed to operating more sustainably, more urgently.

The OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles, it was formed on November 16th, 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at the State Farm Arena.

The 21,000-capacity State Farm Arena is a multipurpose arena located in Atlanta, Georgia, US. The arena serves as the home venue for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA’s) Atlanta Hawks.

Boston (US)-based the Fenway Sports Group Holdings, LLC, is the parent group company of Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Boston Red Sox, Premier League’s football team Liverpool F.C. (UK) and the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jason F. McLennan is an architect and prominent figure in the Green building movement. He is the Founder, former Chair and current Board Member of the International Living Future Institute and the Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council.

‘NBA’ further stated that inspired by the industry-leading work at OVG owned-and-operated 17,151-capacity Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA’s) Seattle Storm, and on track to be the world’s first, and only, Carbon Zero Certified arena, the GOAL membership portal will be powered by customized software developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The member venues will have the opportunity to track their performance against scientifically backed standards in environmental and social categories such as energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, indoor air quality, and health and wellbeing.

The GOAL Standard will also include opportunities to build a customized roadmap toward venue-specific values and locally relevant needs, ultimately leading to validated recognition of continuous improvement.

Kristen Fulmer, the founder of front-office sustainability consultancy Recipric, who is “an executive to know in sports sustainability”, will lead GOAL as OVG360’s new Sustainability Director.

Said Fulmer, “By focusing our mission on operational sustainability, GOAL has the unique opportunity to redefine the priorities within our industry, which is up against intersecting climate and social crises. We want to work with leading, like-minded venues to determine the most feasible, yet ambitious sustainability solutions. I am committed to prove that any venue can integrate win-win sustainability solutions that reduce the operating costs of the venue while avoiding negative environmental impacts and increasing positive social impacts.”

The partnership with the State Farm Arena, the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to earn the TRUE zero-waste certification, was a natural fit.

Stated Steve Koonin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, “Sustainability is never a message of ‘we did it’. Environmental and social sustainability is a lifelong commitment, and we’re just getting started. With our new partners at the Fenway Sports Group and Oak View Group, we can now share our journey with other like-minded venues just beginning their journeys. We can all certainly make progress as individual venues, but we are stronger as an industry if we work together to do better for a sustainable future.”

As a member of GOAL, a venue will be able to track its progress month-to-month, year-to-year against a set of scientifically proven standards. It will also be able to track against comparable venues – looking at factors such as geography, venue-type and size, tenants, and the age of the building.

Added Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner, “Preservation and protection have been Fenway Sports Group’s approach to safeguarding two of the sports world’s most historic venues for the next generation of fans. Sustainability has been central to those efforts, and as standards and technology evolve, so must our practices. We recognize this ongoing journey requires constant attention and in joining this ambitious GOAL partnership, we will help, and learn from, venues across the globe as we all navigate the intersection of sports, entertainment and sustainability.”

Said Chris Granger, President of OVG360, “My hope is that GOAL becomes the sports and entertainment industry’s internal conscience as it relates to creating a more sustainable future. We’re seeing countless venues, leagues, teams, municipalities, and leaders -often driven by the demands of their fans, guests, clients, and communities – who want to develop a more sustainable strategy but don’t know where to begin. We hope GOAL will provide that roadmap and be that guide for their sustainability journey. The Fenway Sports Group and the State Farm Arena are the perfect partners to champion a sustainable future industrywide, and we are delighted to have Kristen onboard to pinpoint the intersectionality of sustainability with all aspects of a venue’s operations – from food and beverage (F&B) to parking to partnerships.”

McLennan, Founder of McLennan Design and Chief Sustainability Officer for Perkins and Will (architectural services company), will sit on GOAL’s Board of Directors as an equity holder and guide the creation of content and standards. McLennan is widely considered as one of the world’s most influential individuals in architecture and the Green building movement today. He is also the creator of the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive Green building program in existence, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard (performance-based system).

Stated McLennan, “The Oak View Group, Fenway Sports Group and the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena represent the few in the industry to practice what they preach as far as sustainable solutions are concerned. There is a foundational lack of curated information, guidance, roadmaps, and tools for the industry – specifically venue operators – to manage major civic venues in environmentally and socially sustainable ways. GOAL is going to fill that void in a practical yet aspirational way.”

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