August 18, 2014
The National Hockey League (NHL) has released the 2014 NHL Sustainability Report, the first document of its kind produced by a major sports league in North America. The report highlights the numerous programs, benchmarks, and successes that have increased the overall sustainability of the League, Member Clubs, and their arenas. The report showcases NHL Green, the environmental sustainability initiative that was established in 2010 by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to promote green business practices across the League.
Significant to the report is the disclosure of the League’s carbon footprint – approximately 530,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This carbon emissions number accounts for League and Club business activities and travel for over 182 game days, 1230 regular-season games, over 60 playoff contests and nearly two million miles of team air travel per season. By way of comparison, the annual emissions from the single largest coal power plant in the United States totals 23 million metric tons.
“At the NHL, we recognize that we have great responsibility for the way we conduct our business, and we are uniquely positioned to promote the environmental message,” said Commissioner Bettman. “Today, we join many of our business partners who have for years been documenting their emissions and making progress toward their own sustainability goals.” Bettman was recently awarded the 2014 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award for his visionary work and guidance in establishing NHL Green and promoting sustainable business practices across the League.
The NHL authored the report with guidance from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) led by Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D., senior scientist and head of NRDC’s Green Sports program. The NRDC has been the NHL’s primary environmental strategic advisor since the formation of NHL Green.
“The 2014 NHL Sustainability Report is arguably the most important statement about the environment ever issued by a professional sports league,” Hershkowitz said. “The Report’s focus on controlling fossil-fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions is a mainstream wake-up call that climate disruption poses an existential threat to everything we hold dear, including sports and recreation.”