Where better to enjoy the National Football League than at Wembley Stadium? With four season games taking place in London this year, team Eco-Age are joining The FA Group to celebrate the league’s impressive work on sustainability (and the game of course!)
Are sporting events and sustainability a match made in American Football heaven? (Bear with us here…) As the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams this afternoon at Wembley Stadium, our account sustainability director Zara is on site as part of our partnership for The FA Group’s certified event sustainability management system – she just can’t help herself from doing a little due diligence, so ahead of her visit Zara dug into the NFL’s eco-credentials and was more than a little impressed.
NFL teams are embracing sustainability by establishing their own commitments and working on reducing their environmental footprints. The Philadelphia Eagles are one team leading the way; since launching in 2003, The Eagles Go Green Initiative has resulted in thousands of tonnes of waste being recycled, the Lincoln Financial Field switching to 100% renewable energy and a 6.5 acre forest in Neshaminy State Park, PA has been created, with more than 4,000 trees and shrubs.
The NFL itself has long addressed it’s environmental impacts and has an impressive environmental programme, NFL Green. While NFL teams are embracing sustainability by establishing their own commitments and working on reducing their environmental footprints, it’s the league’s Green team that is leading the way on Super Bowl sustainability.
Back in 1994, the team piloted a recycling programme for the Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta and since then, it’s only gone from strength to strength. NFL Green’s award-winning Super Bowl environmental programme has been running for more than 15 years addressing key impact areas such as material reuse, waste management, food recovery, greenhouse gas emissions and youth engagement.
Any large scale sports event generates a lot of event-specific marketing materials and décor, much of which ends up wasted unless it’s lifecycle is considered right from the start of the planning process. The NFL addresses this through material reuse and donation, as well as implementing a solid waste management programme at all major Super Bowl facilities to maximise recycling and minimise landfill waste. Fans are also encouraged to recycle correctly by offering rewards such as snazzy branded hats.
With approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food being wasted globally every year, it’s no surprise that food waste is a top priority for NFL Green. Any prepared extra food made for Super Bowl events is collected afterwards to be donated to soup kitchens, shelters and other local organisations that provide meals to people in need.
When it comes to climate action, the NFL is committed to making a difference. The NFL uses renewable energy credits (REC) to offset all energy used by major Super Bowl venues. It also supports reforestation projects, planting several thousand tree seedlings each year in the Super Bowl host community. Through an innovative partnership with US Forest Service/USDA, the NFL tracks the environmental benefits of the trees it has planted.
The NFL works with local partners to develop and implement a wide array of sustainability projects for its overseas games too; last year, The FA Group collaborated with the NFL on a shield made from Wembley Stadium waste to engage American football fans on the importance of reuse and recycling, and to demonstrate how value can be creatively found in waste. Since then, NFL Green directors Jack and Susan Groh have attended one of the English football association’s sustainability team (FAST) meetings to discuss further collaboration opportunities, with more exciting joint environmental initiatives expected over the company years.
Engaging kids on sports and sustainability is also a core value for NFL Green which runs programmes like the Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation project, which asks students to bring usable items to their schools in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Tens of thousands of items are collected each year and transferred to disadvantaged young people. The scheme will be running the UK this year too, as the group works to expand its initiatives overseas.