NHL Commits to Wiping Out Its Carbon Footprint
The National Hockey League will become the first professional sports league to wipe out its entire carbon footprint.
The NHL announced last week that it’s partnering with Constellation Energy, an energy and services company, to help reduce the league’s impact on the environment. Over the next few days, the company will conduct an energy-efficiency analysis on everything from lighting to refrigerator motors at the NHL’s 30 team arenas.
Gary Bettman, the NHL’s commissioner, said the league is “taking an active role to preserve the environment and the roots of our game…Our sport was born on frozen ponds and to this day relies on winter weather.”
Allen Hershkowitz, president of the Green Sports Alliance, told the Washington Post that the NHL’s commitment to offsetting its carbon footprint sets an example to other pro sports as well as its own tens of millions of fans across the globe.
Though making sports more green isn’t a novel idea, Hershkowitz called Bettman’s announcement, “the most important environmental initiative ever made by a sports league.”
However, what will become of the NHL’s new commitment remains to be seen. For now, the league has to deal with lessening its carbon footprint, which was measured at 550,000 metric tons last year. They’ll do this by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, which allows new clean-energy sources to grow and compete with traditional (a.k.a. “dirty energy”) power companies, and will also encourage more recycling as well as reduce energy consumption at their arenas.
The NHL’s greener look will be brought to light at the Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day. Further promotion will continue throughout the year, including the All-Star Game and the Stanley Cup finals.
Professional sports in the U.S. and Canada draw over 200 million fans. If the remaining pro sports and their fans followed the NHL’s lead, then just imagine what that collective carbon footprint would look like. We’re guessing it would be pretty small.