Green Sports Alliance rule book for venues



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Scott Jenkins on Coliseum Summit US 2022 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Sustainability is a topic which is close to the heart of Scott Jenkins. And he asserts with a sense of urgency that now is the time for all businesses – with special reference to sports venues – to embrace sustainability targets as the climate bomb is just waiting to go off!

Scott Jenkins is the Board Chair, Green Sports Alliance, US. He cofounded the Green Sports Alliance and has served as the Board Chair the past nine years. He has extensive experience in developing, opening and operating public assembly facilities including the 71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Jenkins is a pioneer in the environmental movement in sports and is dedicated to implementing sustainable practices in sports.
 

Green Sports Alliance

Portland, Oregon (US)-based the Green Sports Alliance is the environmentally-focused trade organization that convenes stakeholders from around the sporting world (teams, leagues, conferences, venues, corporate partners, Governmental agencies, athletes, and fans) to promote healthy, sustainable communities where they live and play. They are committed to creating awareness and dedicated to creating meaningful change towards a more sustainable future.

The Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit trade association and the largest and most influential environmental organization supporting the sports industry.

With global warming on the rise every year with the burning of fossil fuels, a huge climate catastrophe is just waiting to happen. It is staring the world in the face and paying attention to environmental issues is becoming increasingly critical for all companies across all industries and the sports venue sector is no exception.

In an exclusive talk with ‘Coliseum’, Scott Jenkins, Board Chair, Green Sports Alliance, US, make an impassioned plea to the sports venue operators to take all possible measures to shrink their carbon footprints and embrace ‘Play to Zero’ for the greater benefit of mankind and also to make this planet much more liveable for posterity.

Terming the Green Sports Alliance as a trade organization that supports the sports industry and engages with fans making sustainability the key mantra, Scott Jenkins put in, “We are leveraging the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play. So, we want to use that leverage of where we live and where we can play.”

He informed that the Green Sports Alliance is the largest and most influential driver of environmental and social responsibility across the sports industry – “We have accelerated positive change for sports, leagues, teams, fans, and communities in the US, Japan, Europe, and worldwide.”

Jenkins made it clear in no uncertain terms that an impending climate catastrophe is waiting to happen which is also posing a grave threat to the sports venue industry and the need of the hour is to “act now”.
 

Key Takeaways

  • Climate change presents huge risks to the sports industry as well as opportunities;
  • All leagues, teams and venues need to make sustainability part of their business strategy; and
  • The need to act is urgent.

 
He stated that companies who play the role of environmental stewards to perfection also reap rewards.

Sustainability is a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organization operates in the ecological, social and economic environments. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies fosters company longevity.

Jenkins rang the environmental alarm bells and further stated that teams, leagues and venues must behave in a more responsible manner as far as the sustainability factor is concerned, because an impending environmental doom is waiting to happen going by the rising sea levels, devastating floods and droughts, glaciers melting, and the heat getting oppressive over the years – “Climate change is an everyday issue. We are taking things for granted. But the environmental situation is very grave and we will have to take corrective measures now. Countries the world over do not boast a good progress report as far as shrinking carbon footprints are concerned. During the pandemic, when the world shut down, the carbon emissions problem got a little sorted out. But now, the whole situation is back to square one.”
 

Population Explosion

The population of the planet was three billion in 1960 and will reach eight billion by 2023. Jenkins questioned – “Will the planet be able to sustain us if we do not adopt the right steps now?”
 

Sports Industry Climate Peril

  • Business risks from fire, flood, drought, and extreme heat are increasing; and
  • Fan Expectations and Brand Perception.

 
He averred that the arena industry is going to face the climate change consequences if they do not adopt the guidelines of organizations like the Green Sports Alliance.
 

Responsible Fans

Noted Jenkins, “Today’s crop of fans understand the need to protect the environment and they also care about the teams and the brands and are going to hold the venue operators accountable if they do not follow Green guidelines. The discerning fans of today are going to spend their money where companies follow in toto sustainability strategies. So, we have got to start thinking about our brands and how we engage with our customers.”
 

Future Tense

  • Seventy five percent of today’s young people say they are afraid of the future;
  • Nearly half don’t know if they will have children; and
  • The majority feel betrayed by the powers that be.

 

People’s Pulse

A survey carried out across 19 countries revealed how 75 percent of people felt the climate change factor was hanging over their heads like the Damocles sword – “This is a global phenomenon and a global trend.”
 

Green Custodians

Majority of fans feel that the climate change factor is “brewing like a storm and swear by Green energy which they say is the future. Around 48 percent of fans are also willing to pay more for renewable energy.”

Jenkins affirmed that the message is loud and clear – “Fans today are only willing to buy from a company with a social conscience.”
 

Opportunity

  • Reduce operating costs;
  • Build and protect our brands;
  • Engage athletes, employees and fans;
  • Activate corporate partners; and
  • Lead, inspire and leave a lasting legacy.

 
Jenkins further noted, “Talking about environmental threats and risks, we need to reduce our operating costs by driving efficiency and reducing our carbon emissions. We can build and protect our brands, engage with our customers. We can engage with our athletes, employees and fans. Corporate houses today are willing to invest more in sustainability-related activities because they understand what the marketplace is doing and what people’s mindset is and they know they need to protect their brand.”
 

Play to Zero

  • Benchmark performance;
  • Roadmap to zero;
  • Celebrate success; and
  • Engage stakeholders.

 
He added, “In order to achieve Play to Zero, venues will have to benchmark their performance around energy, waste and water. We want teams and venues to start thinking about the roadmap to zero. This is not going to happen overnight. A lot of venues may not have a zero waste program in place as well and no water recycling program and energy conservation program. The Green Sports Alliance has a program designed for those venues and helps them develop that roadmap to zero and then we can engage with our stakeholders.”
 

Action Item: Sign up for Play to Zero

  • Energy: Reduce consumption and switch to renewable energy (stop burning fossil fuels!);
  • Water: Conserve and protect our water systems; and
  • Waste: Commit to Zero Waste.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Climate change presents huge risks as well as opportunities and venues should get into the game and solve the problem to ensure that the future is bright;
  • All leagues, teams and venues need to make sustainability part of their business strategy; and
  • The need to act is urgent and “we got to do it now”.

 

Sum-up

Scott Jenkins has his stand clear – record heat, record floods, bushfires, and epic destruction from storm – all this climatic phenomenon is no longer shocking, but has become the norm. And sports venues’ operators will have to swear by the sustainability rule book if they have to earn the trust of their fans as well as their stakeholders. After all, Green is the name of the game in a world reeling under global warming.

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.




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