(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Portland, OR - June 29 - The Portland Trail Blazers today became the first professional sports franchise to stand up publicly for comprehensive energy and climate policies in the U.S. by joining BICEP - Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy - a coalition of consumer brands organized by Boston-based Ceres.
Along with 20 consumer brand giants that include Nike, eBay, Levi Strauss & Co. and Starbucks, the Trail Blazers are joining other business-world advocates for what they have long been working on outside the public eye -- the team has built sustainable practices into their own business model and operations for some time.
“Being one of the leaders in sustainable initiatives among professional sports franchises is something we take great pride in,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. “I encourage all major sports teams to join us in utilizing our position as high-profile businesses to address the serious needs of our planet.”
“Many of us forget that big sports is also big business,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber, “and that business has a huge stake in getting the energy and climate challenge right. So we welcome the Trail Blazers as the trail-blazing sports member of BICEP, and we’re heartened to see the increasing awareness and initiative on energy and climate change that’s rapidly emerging in the world of sports.”
The Trail Blazers have been committed to sustainable practices as a team for more than five years, having significantly reduced their carbon footprint across the organization. This includes innovative cuts in energy and water use at their multi-venue events complex, the Rose Garden, earning them the first LEED Gold Certification for an existing sports arena in the world. Their new programs are aimed at lessening the environmental impacts of the fan experience, including extensive recycling, education and initiatives to shift their guests’ modes of transportation when traveling to games.
They’re also a founding member of the Green Sports Alliance, an unprecedented inter-league collaboration to meaningfully and publicly enhance the environmental performance of sports teams, venues and leagues. In addition to the Trail Blazers, founding members include the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, MLB’s Seattle Mariners, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.
Kathleen Behrens, the National Basketball Association’s Executive Vice President for Social Responsibility & Player Programs, said the NBA “is proud to spotlight the Trail Blazers for their relentless efforts on sustainability and their decision today to join the leading companies of BICEP.
“In the sports world we understand competition,” said Behrens, “and we know the clean energy race is a competition that professional sports and our larger society can’t afford to fall behind on. Getting the right rules in place will be a win-win for keeping the US economy competitive, and that’s good for all of us.”
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber also welcomed the team’s announcement. “The Trail Blazers are showing the sports industry that sustainability is a winning strategy,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I commend their efforts to raise awareness about climate change and the importance of clean energy through this innovative partnership.”
This spring two athletes with long records of environmental commitment – Defenseman Andrew Ference of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins and Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson – joined forces to write an opinion piece
in one of New England’s largest newspapers about the need for America to embrace the clean energy challenge. The op-ed cited Ceres and BICEP’s leadership in pulling together business voices on these issues.
Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Martin Tull said that the Trail Blazers’ decision to join BICEP is “walking their talk and being true to their name.” The Trail Blazers and the founding member teams of the Alliance will co-host the Green Sports Alliance Summit
in Portland in early August , bringing together leaders from professional sports to raise environmental awareness and highlight clean energy best practices among sports organizations.
The Portland Trail Blazers: The Portland Trail Blazers, members of the National Basketball Association (NBA), were founded in 1970 and purchased by Paul G. Allen in 1988. The team’s rich heritage includes 29 playoff appearances, an NBA championship in 1977 and a commitment to community service. With a corporate mission to “Make It Better,” the Trail Blazers strive to help children and their families throughout Oregon and southwest Washington live, learn, and play. The Trail Blazers are the first and only pro sports franchise to receive the prestigious National Points of Light Award for excellence in corporate community service. A long-time partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland led to the establishment of the Blazers Boys & Girls Club, the first team-sponsored club of its kind, and has resulted in contributions of more than $1 million. The Albina Head Start McCormack-Matthews Center, which provides education and health services to preschoolers and their families, was established in 2004 with nearly $1 million in contributions from Allen, the team, and former Trail Blazers star – and Portland native – Damon Stoudamire. For more information on the Trail Blazers, visit www.trailblazers.com.
Ceres leads a national coalition of major investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity. Its mission is integrating sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people. www.ceres.org
BICEP is an advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation enabling a rapid transition to a low-carbon, 21st century economy – an economy that will create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while stabilizing our planet’s fragile climate. www.ceres.org/bicep