Major League Baseball Scores a Home Run in Greening Initiatives

This year marked a remarkable comeback for the San Francisco Giants, who despite a rocky early season, came back to sweep the Detroit Tigers and win the World Series. Although normally drawn to the drama of the Fall Classic, this year’s sustainability story peaked my interest in this year’s contest.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has put environmental issues front and center on baseball’s biggest stage. The first professional sports league to partner with the National Research Defense Council (NRDC), MLB officials and NRDC experts came together to discuss a league greening initiative titled the “Commissioner’s Initiative on Sustainable Stadium Operations and Team Practices”.

Backed by a variety of league events and team initiatives, the MLB is encouraging teams and venues to start greening and incorporating sustainable measures into their operations. To kick off the league’s initiatives, the NRDC developed the NRDC Greening Advisor, an online environmental resource that has been customized and distributed to each team in the league.

World Series contender’s strong supporters of greening initiatives

The Giants have made numerous efforts to promote environmentally responsible living. In partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric, the Giants installed a solar panel system to generate energy in San Francisco – the first such system in a MLB park.  These efforts build off the Giant’s shining achievement in 2000 when the AT&T Park became the first Major League ballpark to receive Leed Silver Certification.

Further east, the Tigers have taken steps to green their ballpark with the installation of the Tiger Den Seats, audience seating comprised of recycled plastic milk jugs.

Sport and Sustainability

The driving force behind the MLB’s greening initiatives remains its commitment to the fundamental principles of sport.

“Baseball is a social institution with social responsibilities and caring for the environment is inextricably linked to all aspects of the game. Sound environmental practices make sense in every way and protect out natural resources for future generations of baseball fans.” – MLB Commissioner, Allan H. (Bud) Selig

In addition to the environmental benefits, the monetary benefits for professional sports leagues are robust, from saving thousands of dollars on energy, waste, and water bills to creating new sponsorship opportunities and enhancing brand value with corporate social responsibility.

We give a thumbs-up to MLB’s commitment to sustainability, although certainly much work remains to be done. Having recently participated in the “Sports and Sustainability” discussion held by the White House, the MLB continues to be an example of major league sport industry’s success in adopting more sustainable practices.  As teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies continue to add solar energy projects to their list of investments, we will continue to monitor MLB into 2013.  Check back with us for more updates on how MLB is taking the next steps in the clean energy movement.

Lackluster Sustainability Performance At 2012 Ryder Cup Begs The Question, “Is It Greener Across The Pond?”

Martin Kaymer may have made European history at the Ryder Cup, but sustainability was on the back burner at this year’s tee-off at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

The sport of golf continues to be an area of contention for environmentalists, a top issue being the deforestation and loss of wetland habitats often associated with the development of new golf courses. Donald Trump’s recent $150 million golf course in Scotland was a low for Trump’s PR after heavy jeering by environmentalists during the opening ceremony.

However, in an effort to integrate sustainability into the professional golf tournament, the Ryder Cup Europe pioneered Green Drive, a formal partnership between the golf tournament and the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) to bring innovative solutions to one of the world’s greatest sports. By 2002, the initiative had led to the first ever set of Environmental Guidelines for Golf Events.

“A great deal of effort was put into the environmental sustainability of this event. We wanted to bring the event greening to a new level.” – Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director 2010 Ryder Cup, City of Newport, Wales

2010 Ryder Cup, City of Newport, Wales

According to A Review of the 2010 Ryder Cup Green Drive by GEO, the last Ryder Cup Europe tournament left a significantly lighter environmental footprint.  The aim of the tournament was to:

  • deliver a world-class event that showcased sustainability to event patrons and the local community,
  • encourage a legacy of environmental action in golf, and
  • advance the global sport and environment movement

The Action Plan set out clear objectives, supported by best practice recommendations for energy, water, waste, pollution prevention and ecological conservation.  These issues cut across a number of operational topics including venue management, transportation, catering, energy provision, and installation of fixtures and fittings.

2012 Ryder Cup, Medina, Illinois

Compare this to the 2012 Ryder Cup hosted by Team USA where American sustainability efforts were lukewarm.

Despite a triple-coalition between the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America, Audubon International, and FedEx to develop a sustainable golf-program that would facilitate eco-friendly improvements to public golf courses, few golf courses, including the Medinah Country Club, created a visible commitment on their online platforms to mitigate their environmental impact.  What limited information was made available about the 2012 Ryder Cup golf course operator’s “green” contributions revolved heavily on the change to Healthy Grow organic fertilizer.

But why does such a deviation exist from the sustainability standards set by Ryder Cup Europe?  The problem is three-fold: definition of environmentalism, centralization of authority, and level of community engagement.

Definition of Environmentalism

Under the PGA of America, environmentalism is considered a charitable endeavor whereby support of environmental causes is considered commendable, but not necessary.  This provides less incentive for tournaments to take part in creating a shift towards more sustainable operations.

Centralization of Authority

The second issue-at-hand revolves around the lack of centralization of environmental initiatives.  The PGA of America supports a “range of environmental causes” and at different levels.  Players and golf tournaments can independently donate or participate in environmental initiatives.  However, there is a lack of a central authority that ensures the necessary fulfillment of measurable environmental goals to be fulfilled.

Level of Community Engagement

The third issue centers on the lack of community engagement by the PGA about the importance of sustainability.  Unlike the 2010 Ryder Cup that implemented an immediate legacy program that included long-term outreach initiatives, the PGA of America has yet to implement visible community outreach programs to better communicate the value of sustainability.

Model of Sustainability

The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization.  It has become a shining example of growing, teaching, and managing the game of golf.  At Reeve Consulting, we applaud the PGA’s partnership with the Audubon Lifestyles Sustainable Golf Facility Program and hope that they will serve as a local, regional, and national model of sustainability for golf tournaments.

* The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf competition between teams from Europe and the USA hosted at alternating venues in the USA and Europe.

Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing Seminar – Nov. 2, Vancouver

Are you interested in sustainable purchasing but not sure where to start? Struggling with developing the business case? Wondering where to focus resources?

Acquire the knowledge and confidence to embrace sustainable purchasing practices in your organization by joining the BuySmart Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability in BC and beyond, November 2nd for the Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing seminar. This half-day seminar will focus on the fundamentals of sustainable purchasing featuring practical insights and lessons learned from professionals in the field.

Designed for purchasing, sustainability and corporate responsibility staff in public, private and non-profit organizations, seminar topics will include:

  • How to integrate environmental, social and ethical factors in the procurement process
  • Key components of a sustainable purchasing tendering toolkit
  • What’s needed to overcome barriers and recognize the best opportunities for sustainable purchasing in you own organization

Tim Reeve, a Co-Founder of the BuySmart Network and President of Reeve Consulting with Coro Strandberg will lead the session, joined by guest speakers Tracey Husoy, Manager of Purchasing and Risk Management, Metro Vancouver

Event Details

  • When: November 2, 2012, 8:30 am – noon
  • Where: TIDES Canada, Hollyhock Room 304, 163 West Hastings St. Vancouver
  • Cost: $125 + HST
  • Register: www.buysmartintro.eventbrite.ca

Full details of the Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing seminar can be found in the event brochure [PDF].

For more information about the seminar, contact Bob Purdy by email at bpurdy@fraserbasin.bc.caor phone at (604) 488-5355.

 

Wimbledon Aces Sustainability Challenges during London 2012 Games

There were no shortage of environmental concerns surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing – the smog, algae, choking traffic, and alarming increase in demand for energy were all pointing to a potential environmental disaster. Beijing successfully avoided a green nightmare – and simultaneously, Vancouver 2010 was put a stake in the ground around moving from a ‘green’ to a ‘Sustainable’ Winter Olympics. So the London 2012 Summer Olympic Organizing Committee knew they no choice but to follow through on their radical promise to host a truly sustainable Olympic games.

 

With initiatives ranging from local community work, travel, and waste management, the London 2012 Organizing Committee integrated sustainability into many aspects of the Games.  However, as avid tennis fans, nothing caught our attention more than the initiatives at Wimbledon Stadium where sustainability was a hot topic.

 

So you like strawberries? So do we (locally sourced strawberries, that is).

 

This year’s Wimbledon organizers faced an astounding sustainable supply chain challenge.  In order to meet the estimated demand for Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream, over 61,730 lbs of English strawberries needed to be picked and delivered to Wimbledon stadium.  These strawberries weren’t of any old variety.  The official Wimbledon strawberries are Grade 1 English strawberries from specially registered farms in Kent, thus supporting local, seasonal and organic produce while giving consideration to healthy eating, sport, and well-being.

 

            Let’s re-energize!

 

Rainy days at Wimbledon are somewhat of a tradition.  Despite the cold weather, Wimbledon has undertaken a thorough review of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems and controls as a part of a strategy to develop and implement a long-term energy/carbon reduction strategy.  This includes investigating opportunities for on-site solar PV, solar water-heating and biomass.

 

The successes of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 have gone a long way to integrating sustainability into mainstream culture and sporting events.  Although the London 2012 Organizing Committee successfully branded the 2012 Games as the “most sustainable games ever”, it fell short of several of its ‘green’ goals, including delivering 20 percent of electricity during the Games from new local renewable sources.  Interestingly, many corporate sponsors made good on their “sustainable vision” for the Olympics.   Dow solutions are helping enable more sustainable Games in several ways. The resin flooring system for the Eton Manor water sports facility is created from Dow epoxy products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which reduces health risks and improves environmental safety. The resin flooring system will remain at Eton Manor after the Games as the center transforms into a unique mix of sporting facilities.  Indeed, it is often the smaller, and more measurable sustainable goals that when delivered create a larger impact.

 

We applaud London’s efforts and particularly some of the innovative programming at the Wimbledon Tennis Club. Now the torch is passed to Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 respectively. We’ll bring updates on their goals and progress in the coming weeks.

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.

We’re hiring! (Vancouver) – update

Flickr / quinet

We’re excited to announce a new position with Reeve Consulting in Vancouver, BC.

Click on the link below for full job postings and application details.

The deadline for applications is September 30, 2012.

Reeve Consulting is a boutique consultancy based in Vancouver, BC specializing in the development and implementation of ethical and sustainable purchasing programming for business, government and non-profit organizations in BC and across North America.

Reeve Consulting attending the Green Sport Summit 2012, Seattle

This week, Amanda Mungal from Reeve Consulting will be attending the Green Sport Alliance Summit in Seattle. Designed for leaders from the sports community, this three-day executive summit will use a mixture of formats to introduce attendees to sustainability best practices that produce bottom line benefits while demonstrating responsible corporate and community citizenship.

Building off our work with the 2010 Bid Committee, VANOC and Sochi2014, Reeve Consulting recognizes the impact of large-scale sporting initiatives.

We’re looking forward to hearing firsthand how teams and venues are saving money and improving their environmental performance.  We hope to see you there.

View the video below for the 2011 Green Sports Alliance Summit Highlights:

 

We’re hiring! (Vancouver) – updated

UPDATE – We are no longer hiring for the positions outlined below. However we are happy to accept resumes and are always interested in meeting exceptional candidates. If you’re interested in working with Reeve Consulting, please send your resume with a cover letter to info@reeveconsulting.com.

Flickr / quinet

We’re excited to announce two new positions with Reeve Consulting in Vancouver, BC.

Click on the links below for full job postings and application details.

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2012.

Reeve Consulting is a boutique consultancy based in Vancouver, BC specializing in the development and implementation of ethical and sustainable purchasing programming for business, government and non-profit organizations in BC and across North America.

Maximize the Impact of Sustainable Purchasing – join us for the next BuySmart Learning Event

Are you familiar with the basics of sustainable purchasing? Would you like to customize your organization’s procurement process to align with sustainability principles? An upcoming BuySmart learning event focused on Maximizing the Impact of Sustainable Purchasing will put you on the right track.

Designed for staff in public, private and non-profit organizations responsible for purchasing, sustainability or corporate responsibility, workshop topics will include how to integrate sustainability into bid documents, create performance scorecards for suppliers, evaluate proposals and more. Presenters will additionally profile product guidelines and specifications among other helpful tools.

Presented by the BuySmart Network, a non-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability in BC and beyond, the event will feature new workshops lead by BuySmart Co-Founders Tim Reeve and Coro Strandberg, whose last co-facilitated session in February sold out with very positive reviews.

Guest speaker Vicki Wakefield, Purchasing Manager for Student Housing, Hospitality and Food Services at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will show participants how UBC is applying these tools within the request for proposals (RFP) process.

Pre-registration is recommended, as space is limited. Sign-up through the BuySmart Network’s Eventbrite site and join us for a morning of strategy, practical insights and useful tools that will help your organization leverage its purchasing power for social, environmental and financial benefits.

Sustainable Purchasing Supports Municipalities Green Strategies and Helps Manage their Bottom Line

Sustainable purchasing and supply chains are on municipal agendas across Canada. Increasingly, decision-makers are recognizing that sustainable procurement practices add value to their carbon neutral programs, zero waste goals, economic development opportunities, risk management, leadership, efficiency and innovation while positively engaging their staff and the communities they serve. Sustainable procurement practice is relatively new to municipal governance.

To efficiently manage the learning curve, municipalities are joining together. One successful example is the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP).  A newly released report from Reeve Consulting, The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada is co-authored with representatives of the MCSP. This report details the current state of sustainable purchasing practices in Canada including ratings and rankings of municipal programs from the MCSP’s member cities such as Halifax, Vancouver, Whitehorse, Grand Prairie, Guelph and Saskatoon.

The MCSP pilot project was formed in 2010 and currently members represent fourteen Canadian municipalities. By leveraging their collective experiences, knowledge and resources, they are strengthening their respective sustainable purchasing programs. The steering committee includes representatives from Whitehorse, Ottawa, Edmonton, London and Victoria. Five new members were welcomed in 2011.

The 2012 report, authored by Reeve Consulting and the MCSP, details their investigation into the depth of policy development and implementation across the country. Further, where there is under leveraging, what is holding municipalities back?  There are useful insights for municipal decision-makers, discussion of the top five emerging trends in this sector, and an overview of the main challenges and top priorities for 2012.

10 Key Program Areas for Successful Sustainable Purchasing

Municipalities fast tracking their efforts will find great value in the 10 Key Program Areas for Successful Sustainable Purchasing, which includes the ingredients for a comprehensive sustainable procurement program. One key element is developing a Supplier Code of Conduct. The City of Edmonton advanced the verification framework for their Supplier Code by providing public disclosure of their apparel factory locations. Training sessions were held in 2011 for staff of the City of Halifax introducing them to sustainable procurement concepts.

A clear demonstration of leadership is the collaboration between the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon Intergovernmental Committee on Environmental Sustainability. These, and other key program areas for successful sustainable purchasing, are presented in this report along with tangible examples of implementation.

Top 5 Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Procurement

The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada features a detailed discussion of the Top Five Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Procurement including supplier innovations, emerging social programming and collaboration building. Findings show that policy development is advancing and most municipalities are in the early stages of their strategic program development.

However, current resource levels, in comparison with expectations of the programs, are miss-matched. Sustainable purchasing programs have insufficient resources to capitalize on many opportunities. As a result, implementation of the majority of programs is still a challenge.

On the positive side, Finance and Sustainability Departments are increasingly realizing synergies between their financial objectives and sustainable procurement programs and are building powerful teams at the senior management and executive levels.

Despite solid progress in these areas, a major finding in The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada, is the disproportionate amount of time spent creating policies, procedures, tools and the capacity to implement sustainable procurement practices compared to the actual application. Another area where gains should be made is de-constructing robust measurement and reporting frameworks.

2012 Program for the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing: join us!

All local governments are encouraged to participate in the MCSP no matter the size of the community they serve. Current member municipalities send representatives such as a Director of Supply Management, Procurement Manager, Senior Environment or a Sustainability Manager.

All members participate in networking teleconferences, webinars and action planning sessions held over the course of each calendar year. They share sustainable procurement lessons, best practices and tools enabling them to streamline implementation of their municipal program development. A sustainable procurement expert facilitates each discussion, the training sessions and provides project secretariat services to the collaboration.

If you would like to join this project or require more information, contact Tim Reeve by email at tim@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.