While much of the pregame hoopla this season was about the New England Patriot's historic 18-0 record leading into the big game, the NFL's environmental program hit a milestone of its own. This year, for the first time, the League used renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset the 571 tons of greenhouse gas created by the air travel of the New York Giants, the New England Patriots, and the NFL staff. By partnering with the Salt River Project, a local utility, the NFL tapped into energy generated by wind, solar, geothermal, and landfill gas to power the event.
It's well understood that the Super Bowl wasn't entirely carbon neutral. But the League is making progress toward using cleaner technologies and letting the world know about it. In and around Phoenix Ariz., the NFL deployed a number of green initiatives, including:
- Solid Waste Management/Recycling
- Reforestation Projects
- Prepared Food Recovery
- Materials Donation
- Sports Equipment and Book Donation
Jack Groh, who has been director of the National Football League's environmental program for 15 years, is by all accounts is doing a fine job of reducing the League's environmental impact and raising awareness. But after 15 years of recycling, planting trees, donating food, moving personnel in energy-efficient vehicles, and using renewable energy, it's time for the NFL to declare these efforts business as usual.
The truth is, that while the NFL is getting better at neutralizing its carbon impact every year, and should be recognized for its progress, many companies are taking steps toward using cleaner technologies, and most of them don't get any accolades or attention for it.
When companies start thinking of opting for environmentally responsible technologies as business as usual, then the real environmental stories will be the ones where something truly out-of the-ordinary happens.
Like when 70% of spectators walk to or ride their bikes to a Super Bowl game (as fans did at the World Cup two years ago).