Major League Baseball is celebrating 'Earth Day' (Saturday, April 22nd) by highlighting a variety of league-wide sustainability efforts activated by the Commissioner's Office, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media and MLB Clubs. Key initiatives include 'Green Team' activations during MLB All-Star Week in Miami, front office volunteer efforts, a partnership with 'FOX Sports University' & DePaul University, and those operated by MLB Clubs.
'GREEN TEAMS' During 2017 All-Star Week in Miami
MLB will continue to support sustainable efforts during its Midsummer Classic in Miami this coming July. During All-Star Week (Thursday, July 6th-Tuesday, July 11th), MLB will partner with the University of Miami to activate the fifth annual 'GREEN TEAMS' effort, which features a group of students that encourages environmental awareness during MLB All-Star events. GREEN TEAM efforts include a college course around sustainability, collecting recyclables at ballpark and community events, and educating fans on positive environmental practices. GREEN TEAM members also will participate in a special All-Star environmental clean-up volunteer event with kids from local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs and Boys and Girls Clubs. MLB and the Marlins will add recycling bins at MLB All-Star events, both at Marlins Park and througout the community. MLB also will seek to offset the environmental footprint of player travel, to and from Miami, as well as offsetting energy and water used at Marlins Park by purchasing renewable energy credits and water restoration credits in conjunction with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the Change the Course program. MLB will work with the Miami Marlins in prioritizing and promoting the use of sustainable materials throughout the week at a number of All-Star locations. Similar initiatives will be activated during the 2017 Postseason.
MLB and 'FOX Sports University' at DePaul University
MLB and 'FOX Sports University' have teamed up with DePaul University (Chicago, Ill.) to provide a learning opportunity on sustainability efforts in MLB through the school's "PR Campaigns" undergraduate course. Students at DePaul will learn about the League's sustainability efforts and assemble hypothetical public relations campaigns. Members of MLB and FOX Sports University will assist the class with industry knowledge & insight, lectures and mentorship. Students also will be encouraged to practice sustainability as part of the course, which will run through the collegiate Spring semester.
MLB and New York Cares Day Spring Event
April 22nd in Brooklyn, N.Y. - In commemoration of Earth Day, approximately 35 front office employees at MLB, MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media will volunteer at Lincoln Terrace Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. for New York Cares Day Spring. Volunteers will be tasked with removing invasive seedlings, composting, planting ground covers and clearing the park of debris. The event will run from 9:30 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. ET, and is part of a larger New York Cares effort where 4,000 individuals will volunteer at 40 public spaces across the five boroughs.
Earlier this year, MLB extended its licensing agreement with SustainU, a leading producer of apparel using fabrics made from 100 percent recycled materials that are manufactured in the U.S. SustainU, based in Morgantown, W.Va., is a pioneer in recycled fabrics, using postindustrial cottons and postconsumer polyester to make comfortable and durable fabrics. These innovations enable SustainU to save millions of gallons of water, petroleum, agrochemicals and CO2 emissions. SustainU has created designs representing all 30 MLB Clubs and will once again provide shirts for the All-Star and Postseason GREEN TEAMS in 2017.
Major League Baseball is the first professional sports league to have all of its Clubs as members of the Green Sports Alliance, which promotes healthy, sustainable communities in sports. In fact, MLB Clubs diverted from landfills an estimated 22,000 tons of recycled or composted waste during the 2016 Championship Season. Each year, MLB awards the eco-friendliest club with its 'Green Glove Award,' with the San Francisco Giants winning their ninth consecutive MLB Green Glove Award in 2016.
MLB Clubs emphasize sustainability efforts through waste diversion, composting and energy efficient practices throughout the season. Efforts include comprehensive on-site gardens, GREEN TEAMS to collect recyclables, LED field lighting and solar panel installations. Following are examples of practices by MLB Clubs:
Gardens at Ballparks
Nine Major League ballparks, including AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals), Citi Field (New York Mets), Coors Field (Colorado Rockies), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) and Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners) currently operate their own gardens. The gardens at AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Fenway Park, Coors Field, Nationals Park, Progressive Field and Safeco Field are all utilized to source food for concession stands and restaurants at the ballpark.They are also used as a teaching tool to inform the public about the importance of their local environment and serve as fan-gathering spots throughout a game.
The Oriole Garden at Camden Yards is a joint effort by the Baltimore Orioles, National Wildlife Federation and its Maryland state affiliate, the National Aquarium, and the Maryland Stadium Authority to attract birds and butterflies through their native plant garden. Similar to the educational efforts with other ballpark gardens, the Oriole Garden at Camden Yards helps fans learn more about orioles, native plants and how to create their own backyard wildlife sanctuaries.
Seven MLB Clubs (Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants) have installed LED Field Lighting for 2017. In addition to enhancing the fan experience, LED fixtures are more efficient and have a lifespan of 30 years. They join the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers who have installed LED field lights in the last three years, bringing the total of MLB Clubs with LED field lighting to 12. The Padres have converted 100% of ballpark lighting to LED, including concessions, concourses, entry gates, offices and restaurants. The Toronto Blue Jays are in the process of completing LED upgrades to their bus lot and loading bay ramp as well as their interior roof lights, walk-in coolers and clubhouse tunnels at Rogers Centre. The Tampa Bay Rays have taken significant steps to retrofit light fixtures throughout Tropicana Field to LED lighting. The Arizona Diamondbacks have converted all lighting in main concourses and parking areas at Chase Field to energy-efficient LED lighting, resulting in 60% savings in power consumption annually. The Chicago White Sox have installed LED lighting throughout the ballpark on concourses, suite levels and several parking areas. The Washington Nationals have converted almost 50% of Nationals Park lighting to LED and are working toward complete conversion over the next few years. In previous years, the Cincinnati Reds added three new LED ballpark signs that reduced energy consumption by almost 80%. The Detroit Tigers have converted from traditional lights to LED lights on their video board, ribbon boards and maintenance work lights. The Oakland Athletics installed LED lights in their parking lot and with their perimeter and stadium concourse lighting areas.
The Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays all contribute to the well-being of their local communities as part of different initiatives. The Rockies plant a tree for each home run hit at Coors Field, while the Brewers plant a tree for every 20,000 tickets sold at Miller Park. After every home run hit at PNC Park, the Pirates donate $250 to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Community Forestry Project to plant a tree in the greater Pittsburgh Region. In partnership with Philadelphia Gas Works and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Phillies also plant a tree for each home run hit by a Phillies player. To date, the Phillies have planted more than 700 trees since the program's inception in 2012. The Rays make financial contributions to Tampa Bay Watch as part of the "Break a Bat, Plant a Ball" program, funding the construction of an oyster ball per game in which a bat is broken. Also called Reef Balls, oyster balls help replace oyster populations in struggling habitat areas. By being placed along seawalls and shorelines, the domes minimize shoreline erosion and restore hard bottom habitat. The Twins support "Roots for the Home Team," an innovative salad enterprise that partners with youth garden programs in the Twin Cities to give multicultural teens valuable business and entrepreneurial skills. The produce grown by the teens is used at Target Field. The White Sox utilize the first environmentally-friendly parking lot to be used by a major league sports facility, which was unveiled in 2008. The lot is one of the largest permeable parking areas in the country, stretching more than six acres. The parking lot adds to Guaranteed Rate Field's eco-friendly initiatives by reducing the amount of water entering Chicago's storm water system, improving overall water quality and helping reduce the urban heat island effect. The Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation have activated several efforts in their surrounding communities, including partnering with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works (Environmental Programs) and AM 570 to encourage participants in its youth baseball programs to "Strike Out Landfill Waste." The initiative resulted in a great recycling effort and more than $26,000 raised in California redemption value money, which was put back into the Foundation's youth baseball programming. Additionally, the Dodgers have planted more than 100 trees around the ballpark and surrounding areas that require less water and are more drought tolerant. They have also removed asphalt islands in their parking lots and planted trees and other landscape.
The San Francisco Giants continue to lead the league in recycling practices, with 95% of waste at AT&T Park being diverted from landfills. Similarly, the Seattle Mariners have a 90% conversion rate of all waste at Safeco Field, diverting 713 tons of recyclables from landfills in 2016. Other notable efforts include the Baltimore Orioles, which recycle 600,000 pounds of materials each year; the Kansas City Royals, which recycled more than eight tons of glass in 2016; the Minnesota Twins, which composted and recycled approximately 765 tons of trash in 2016; the Philadelphia Phillies, which utilize "Phil the Can," an interactive robot and the official "spokescan" of the team, to encourage fans to recycle; and the St. Louis Cardinals, which recycle an average of eight tons per game. In addition to recycling materials, many Clubs have partnered with organizations such as Rock and Wrap It Up!, a nonprofit organization that battles poverty, to donate leftover food to local shelters. Additionally, the Phillies collaborate with W.B Saul High School, a local high school, to compost food waste from Citizens Bank Park staff kitchens through the "Henry Got Compost" program. The Tampa Bay Rays also run an extensive recycling program at Tropicana Field, while oil used for food at Guarantee Rate Field (Chicago White Sox), Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs) and Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees) are recycled. In 2016, the Washington Nationals diverted more than 280 tons of waste to recycling. The Detroit Tigers continue to utilize environmentally conscious elements at Comerica Park, including the use of the "Tiger Den" seats, which are comprised of recycled plastic milk jugs. Additionally, the Tigers pack and distribute excess food to homeless shelters throughout Metro Detroit, working in conjunction with Forgotten Harvest and Delaware North.
Clubs are also conscious of their water consumption, with teams like the New York Mets offsetting 100% of the water usage at Citi Field in addition to a commitment to restore 1,000 gallons for each pledge a fan makes to the Change the Course Campaign. Similarly, the Atlanta Braves have implemented an irrigation program that projects to capture and reuse 50% of water used at the SunTrust Park. This initiative helps restore flow to streams, protect natural habitats and support healthy communities. The Minnesota Twins capture, purify and reuse rainwater through a custom-designed Rain Water Recycle System, which drastically reduces the use of municipal water at Target Field.
Nine MLB Clubs (Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals) utilize solar power at their ballparks.
Additionally, the Phillies, the New York Mets and the New York Yankees purchase millions of kilowatt-hours of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match 100% of electricity usage with wind and solar generation. In particular, this marks the tenth consecutive year of the Phillies off-setting their energy use with RECs, having purchased 220 Million kilowatt-hours since 2008. The Cardinals have increased their commitment to Green Power, by purchasing 6,000 RECs, which will cover all game-day usage for the entire season.
The Atlanta Braves have a comprehensive Electric Vehicle (EV) charging program, which includes over 60 EV charging stations in the parking lot of SunTrust Park. The D-backs also utilize vehicle charging stations at Chase Field.
Four Major League ballparks - AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), Marlins Park (Miami Marlins), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals) and Target Field (Minnesota Twins) - are LEED-certified in various aspects of their operation. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are given to buildings that meet strict guidelines for environmental responsibility by using less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, was the first LEED Gold-certified sports venue of its kind in the U.S. when it opened in 2011.
Red Sox Carbon-Neutral Game
April 17th in Boston, Mass. - The Boston Red Sox observed Earth Day during the Red Sox-Rays game on Monday, April 17th at Fenway Park by offsetting all carbon emissions and sorting waste from the game to recover recyclables and food waste. Renewable energy credits were purchased from solar installations at Morra Brook Farm in Rehoboth, Mass., Westford Stony Brook School in Westford, Mass., and Wellfleet Firehouse and Wellfleet Library in Wellfleet, Mass. This marks the Red Sox's fifth consecutive carbon-neutral game in observance of Earth Day.
All MLB Clubs have made considerable ballpark improvements to their kitchen, bathroom, office spaces and other food preparation areas in an effort to reduce waste, energy usage, water usage and enhance recycling efforts.
"We are pleased with the diverse and effective environmental initiatives we will implement throughout this Championship Season," said Paul Hanlon, Senior Director of Ballpark Operations & Sustainability, Major League Baseball. "We also are very grateful for the commitment by the MLB Clubs to support sustainability through their own practices. While efforts are ongoing, we are proud of what we have accomplished thus far and look forward to continuing to care for our environment through new and creative ways.