Green Sporting Alliance: out of the starting gate, but do we know the green score of the game?

Green Sporting Alliance: out of the starting gate, but do we know the green score of the game?

The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) 2012 Summit was engaging, informative and definitely worth-while. On September 6 and 7th Reeve Consulting had the opportunity to travel to Seattle and attend the GSA Summit with the goal to further explore sustainability trends and experiences in the sporting world and spread the word about our own work and our new sustainability e-learning tool.


Out of the starting gate – presentation highlights

While it was clear that facilities, leagues, teams and suppliers were all on their own journey towards greening their operations; the consistent message coming from all the panels and stakeholders was the need to track progress and engage fans in team, event and league sustainability programs. We agree.

Given our work in the area of supply chains as a lever for corporate sustainability and eco-efficiency, we were especially interested to catch the conversation within the Organizational Sustainability and Supply Chain Strategies Panel, where panelists shared their key learning moments in rolling out their sustainability agenda.

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategies for Microsoft shared that he regularly has moments of being reminded to rely on the experts within his team and company rather than trying to be an expert at everything.

Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Responsibility for REI and Ben Packard, Vice President of Global Responsibility for Starbucks, talked about the importance of speaking your audience’s language when rolling out your plan or sharing your success. Ben shared his realisation that customers cared less about what was in the cup and more about how they could be part of the solution, and how this in turn affected Starbucks marketing message.

Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR spoke on the Environmental Perspectives from the League’s panel and really blew me away with how NASCAR and his department has rolled out NASCAR’s sustainability plans. At a conference that had everyone asking how do we measure success? How do we engage fans? How do we decide where to start? Mike could have given a best practices workshop of his own.

NASCAR started their program by reaching out to fans and stakeholders to find out their priorities then fashioned the NASCAR program to address those identified priorities. NASCAR has continued to maintain an open discussion with fans and stakeholders.

To wrap up, it wasn’t all big stadiums and leagues. Joel Benslaben was there with his app “Ideal Seat” which asks fans to document their ball game experience from the seats they sit in. Fan input is then compiled and accessed to make seat recommendations for app users based  on their seating desires.

Micheal Fechyshyn was in attendance representing Aspenware, a compostable dishware company based out of Vernon. I sampled their wares during breakfast and lunch and can report that they look and feel significantly nicer than the plastic compostable dishware one typically sees. Apparently they also compost more easily.

Do we know the green score? – looking for KPIs and performance measurement

We’ve all heard it before; “If it doesn’t get measured it doesn’t get managed”. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to green programs and sustainability initiatives.

We know key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance measures aren’t always at the top of the priority list when getting new programs launched – but programs can’t achieve scale if performance measurement is left to the end.

Great to see the Green Sport Summit getting this conversation going. We look forward to hearing more success stories at next year’s event.

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