Four Sports Teams for Sustainability
Published on February 12th, 2017
A powerhouse of American collegiate sports from the country’s heartland. The team trying to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain for the first time. One of the most anonymous teams in the NBA. And a fifth division English football team. What could these four seemingly unrelated sports organizations have in common?
As reported by GreenBiz, the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Land Rover BAR, the Sacramento Kings and Forest Green Rovers are four of the greenest teams on the planet.
Here’s the story about Land Rover BAR:
Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history, winning medals at five consecutive Olympics (1996 to 2012), including gold at the last four; he also played a key part in Oracle Team USA’s stirring comeback to capture the 2013 America’s Cup.
While his past is certainly legendary, two aspects of the future animate Ainslie’s life these days. No 1 is his role as skipper of Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), Britain’s entry in the 35th America’s Cup, to be contested in Bermuda starting in May. The challenge isn’t that big — no, it’s only about bringing the Cup to the U.K. for the first time. Britain has been trying to win the darn thing since 1851.
That there’s room for anything else on Ainslie’s plate these days is astounding, but his will to win is matched with the need to do so with purpose — and his purpose is to use his platform at the top of the sailing world to advocate for clean oceans, the climate change fight and to bring sustainability to the rest of the sailing world.
Ainslie’s path to Green-Sports leader was kickstarted after the 2013 America’s Cup when he met Wendy Schmidt of the 11th Hour Project, parent of 11th Hour Racing, a non-profit dedicated to promoting healthy oceans through world-class sailing teams. According to Ainslie, “Wendy instilled in me the responsibility someone like myself in sport has to [build a team] with sustainability as a core principle, a core belief.”
11th Hour Racing soon became Land Rover BAR’s exclusive sustainability partner and, from that point on, the team’s environmental efforts have been full speed ahead. A partial list of Land Rover BAR’s sustainability initiatives includes building its home base in Portsmouth to BREEAM Excellent (the British equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED) standards.
The 11th Hour Racing Exploration Zone features interactive exhibits on topics such as innovation and technology, ocean health, invasive species and renewable energy.
Per Ainslie, “Probably the neatest thing about the base is the wrap — it makes it look pretty cool and it also helps the building retain heat in the winter and keep cooler in summer. And the sustainability of the base helps show our supporters, our partners, our competitors and also the media — who’ve been quite impressed — that we’re in this for the long haul.” It also includes:
• Using 100 percent renewable electricity at the base.
• Employing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to make its operations as environmentally friendly and smart as possible. It does so by determining how best to use, reuse and dispose of materials from design to end-of-life.
• Meatless Mondays for the team and staff.
• Drafted a sustainability charter for the other America’s Cup contestants to adopt.
Moving half the team to Bermuda means Land Rover BAR has brought its sustainability commitment to the island in the Atlantic:
• 11th Hour Racing is funding an educational center open to the public, close to the America’s Cup Race Village where event organizers expect an average of 10,000 visitors/day during the competition. The 11th Hour Racing Exploration Zone features interactive exhibits on topics such as innovation and technology, ocean health, invasive species, the New Plastics Economy and renewable energy, as well as a STEM classroom.
• Along with Bermuda’s leading environmental organizations, the team and 11th Hour Racing are developing a legacy project around the lionfish, an invasive species creating havoc in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. The goal is to raise awareness, promote lionfish as a sustainable and delectable choice of seafood and support an innovative solution to mitigate the invasion.
To learn what the other teams are doing … click here.
Background: The 35th America’s Cup has attracted six teams (5 challengers and 1 defender) that will compete in the new 15-meter AC Class, with a series of qualifiers beginning on May 26 that lead to the start of the America’s Cup Match on June 17. Complete schedule.