A Pleasant Surprise: Super Bowl XLVI Goes Green!

This is a guest post from Tom Szaky, the founder and CEO of TerraCycle, the world’s first company that manufactures and packages products from garbage.

I’m not much of a sports guy myself. For me, sports seem to be a detraction from more serious issues. But, I noticed on our TerraCycle Facebook page that we’re running a cross-promotion with Frito Lay for Super Bowl XLVI and asking people how they’re greening their football parties. I started to wonder about the Super Bowl and how detrimental it must be to the environment.

When I went to check out the eco-cred of the Super Bowl, I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised.

I learned about how the NFL is partnering with Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s longest serving provider of clean energy, to the Super Bowl this year.

That means that Green Mountain will provide 15,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs) that will power everything at the Super Bowl: the lights, the computers, the scoreboard, everything. The company is also providing carbon offsets to balance out the greenhouse gas emissions created from the the Patriots' and Giants’ air and ground travel.

I was, admittedly, surprised and impressed.

This is a positive step in the right direction for an event and a business that don’t really need to market themselves. Everyone knows what the Super Bowl is, what the NFL is, and if they love football, they’re going to watch. The Super Bowl and NFL don’t really need to convert people to being football fans.

The point I’m trying to make here is that generally, as a consumer, I am an eco-skeptic, but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this is something the NFL probably isn’t doing to gain new viewers. I suspect they’re doing it out of a larger sense of corporate responsibility. I then started thinking about other major events, including the campaigning events that stretch across small towns all over the country and culminate in the National Conventions for each political party. Super Bowl like events in their own respect!

I’m wondering what political parties and other corporations that stand to gain more than the Super Bowl are doing to offset their impact and make their event and cause more sustainable. The Super Bowl and NFL’s efforts deserve applause and respect, and I’m looking forward to seeing other corporations embrace sustainability efforts like the NFL has and work with solution providers like Green Mountain Energy.

What events, corporations or businesses have you spotted doing the “right-thing” recently? Frito Lay has partnered with TerraCycle and the NFL has partnered with Green Mountain Energy. Who else?

And what about you – what activities are you doing to lower your carbon footprint? The first step can come during this weekend’s Super Bowl – Green Mountain Energy offers a few tips on greening your Super Bowl party, but we’d love for you to go further.

Tags: Carbon Offsets | Clean Energy | Sports

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