More often than not we overlook the importance of sustainability in sports and sporting events. Not only does the actual sporting event itself emit lots of carbon dioxide emissions, the spectators making their way to the sporting event is what is responsible for emitting the most emissions at these events. In fact, according to a recent analysis, with respect to the quantity of CO2 emissions, 25.6 million spectators generated 210,000 tons of CO2 emissions which comes up to 8 kg of CO2 emitted by each individual (Triantafyllidis, 2018).

For the sustainability you don’t yet know.

Sustainability in Sporting Events

Written by Victoria Paul

More often than not we overlook the importance of sustainability in sports and sporting events. Not only does the actual sporting event itself emit lots of carbon dioxide emissions, the spectators making their way to the sporting event is what is responsible for emitting the most emissions at these events. In fact, according to a recent analysis, with respect to the quantity of CO2 emissions, 25.6 million spectators generated 210,000 tons of CO2 emissions which comes up to 8 kg of CO2 emitted by each individual (Triantafyllidis, 2018).

Despite transportation being the most common source of pollution and problematic when it comes to sustainability and sporting events, there is still a lot that can be done from sports teams and organizations to make these events greener. You might be wondering why these teams, associations, organizations or schools should care or invest in having greener sporting events. Well, there are several reasons that could benefit them if they prioritized hosting more sustainable events, such as reducing their operating costs, decreasing their waste and disposal costs, creating and expanding markets for green products and services, and improving their employee safety by reducing health risks. Little changes can go a long way, such as relying on domestic green renewable fuel rather than using fossil fuels that are exhaustible, selling food in compostable materials rather than plastic wrapping, offering the right disposal methods for these compostable products, encouraging public transportation to the games by limiting available parking near the event site, etc.

How is Seattle Kraken Hockey Stadium leading the way?

Let’s take a look at the NHL Seattle Kraken hockey team and how this team is setting a new sustainability bar for the sports and events industry and inspires others to join them in the ongoing fight against climate change. They are the first sports team to have a net-zero carbon certified arena in the world. This arena is powered by 100% renewable energy from on-site solar panels and off-site renewable energy, it also has a state of the art technology that uses reclaimed rainwater stored in the ice system, a concept called “Rain to Rink,” to create the greenest ice in the NHL. Additionally, the arena’s food is sourced locally and seasonally to support regional farmers and producers and all viable unused food from events is donated to local community food programs. To limit the use of carbon, the stadium was built from reused carbon from their previous stadium. Finally, to promote the use of public transportation, the team started a new program where “Seattle Kraken and Storm tickets will double as free public transit passes to promote public transportation use for attendees, including the use of the refurbished Seattle Monorail.” (Amazon Staff, 2021)

What’s next?

These initiatives are just the beginning of sustainability in sporting events and I am excited to see what other teams and associations within hockey and other sports do to combat climate change and work towards hosting greener events.

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