Considering the ESPYs is a straightforward sports awards show I was pretty impressed with their commitment to creating a sustainable event. Dubbed as “Environmentality” on their homepage, there’s a link which takes you to some behind-the-scenes videos specifically about the lengths they went to this year to ensure a lower impact show.
Here are a few highlights:
Red carpet made out of 51,000 recycled plastic bottles and can be recycled
All food and flatware was compostable including biodegradable water bottles
Low power LED screens, low VOC paints, 100% responsibly harvested wood to be reused or donated to Habitat for Humanity
Attendees staying at The Standard hotel had keys made of corn and a lounge with recycled furniture and the world’s first 100% recycled foosball table
Sounds pretty good but it seems that they forgot to tell anyone at the event. I remembered today that my friend Adel, an all-around reliable source, had attended the event and, excited to hear about the ESPYs eco-love, I gave him a call. Turns out no one said a thing about the green effort, not even to the VIPs.
According to Adel, no one on the red carpet mentioned that it was recycled plastic, no announcement was made about the collection of waste oil or the composting effort and he didn’t see a single green water bottle in the place. “I thoroughly wish they had told us,” he said. “I appreciate that they’ve gone to that length. A lot of people would have been interested.”
The only thing that raised his green flag was a crowd of 10 to 15 ESPY staffers wearing jeans and light green shirts. He thought they might be a “green team” or sorts but never found out if they were. Even a pamphlet or web link would have been better than nothing, he reckons. There was no shortage of promotion for the event’s two top sponsors though, natch.
While the reality of the ESPYs good work is really important, in a self-promoting town like LA it’s hard to spread the word by hoping that people might browse your website. As someone pretty entrenched in the Industry, Adel said he’d like to see “green” become a bigger part of the conversation in Hollywood, even suggesting the promotion of green content through something similar to a product integration initiative.
I think we both agree that to penetrate the mainstream you can’t just “walk the walk”, you need to “talk the talk” too. Thumbs up to the ESPYs for their low waste event, but thumbs down on a rather wasted opportunity.
I did notice that Jennifer Boulden from the venerable site, Idealbite.com, was there apparently on the red carpet. I’m looking forward to checking out how her work on greening the event and talking to the showgoers is going to be covered.