Trailblazer Billie Jean King recognized for helping to launch USTA greening movement at her namesake venue
Submitted by Green Sports Alliance
On Wednesday evening, June 19, 2019, the Green Sports Alliance will present its annual Environmental Leadership Award to the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The Environmental Leadership Award is among the most prestigious of sports greening awards and is given to an individual or organization that has demonstrated extraordinary leadership towards sustainability, environmental stewardship, and community engagement.
The Green Sports Alliance will recognize tennis legend Billie Jean King, whose trailblazing efforts helped spur on the greening movement at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (home of the US Open), as well as similar efforts throughout tennis and the sports world. Lauren Tracy, the USTA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and current director of the USTA’s greening program, will also be recognized for her work in successfully building the program.
With the development of the “Our courts may be blue, but we’re thinking green” campaign in 2008, the USTA educated fans about environmental stewardship using the faces of legendary tennis players to educate and encourage fans to make eco-friendly choices. Tracy has continued to grow the greening program and is instrumental in the USTA’s success, from implementation to measurement, and beyond.
“It is a great privilege for the USTA to be named a recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award and join an impressive list of past honorees,” said Gordon Smith, CEO and Executive Director, USTA. “As owners and operators of the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, we felt it both an obligation and opportunity to bring about measureable changes, and continue to do so across the board -- including at the USTA National Campus. A special thank you goes to all who have helped the USTA make green the color of choice.”
In 2007, King, along with Pam Derderian and Nancy Becker, founded and launched GreenSlam, an environmental initiative for the sports industry aimed at inspiring sports venues, promoters and manufacturers to declare their commitment and actions to a greener approach.
“With the renaming of the National Tennis Center in 2006, we worked with the USTA to launch year-round greening efforts for the home of the US Open,” said King. “The significant action taken almost 13 years ago has served as a springboard to positively impact the environment for the US Open, and the National Tennis Center, and has set an example for other tennis and sporting events to emulate."
The USTA’s commitment to environmental sustainability is exemplified in all aspects of their work. Key examples include:
Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by over 100,000 metric tons through waste diversion, recycled paper use, and renewable energy certificates since the US Open Green Initiatives were established in 2008.
Since 2008, over 4,500 tons of waste generated during the US Open has been diverted from landfills, saving over 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2018, the USTA added a third LEED certified structure at the home of the US Open with Armstrong Stadium receiving LEED Silver status. It is the first naturally ventilated stadium with a retractable roof in the world.
The USTA has been offsetting the energy used on site during the US Open, the carbon emissions generated by the estimated 3.5 million miles the players travel to compete, as well as the miles traveled by the employees to work at the US Open for several years. For those offsets in 2018, the US Open focused on climate-intelligent humanitarian initiatives by investing in improved cookstoves in Malawi.
Since the start of the US Open Green program in 2008, almost 700 tons of food waste has been converted to nutrient rich compost for gardens and farms and over 100 tons of food has been donated to local communities.
The USTA has worked with its maintenance companies to develop a green cleaning policy to ensure that at least 50% of all cleaning materials used on site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the National Campus are Green Seal Certified or equivalent.
2018 US Open waste diversion rate of 97% achieved.
“The Green Sports Alliance is thrilled to present the USTA, Billie Jean King, and Lauren Tracy with this honor. They are exemplary leaders in the sports greening movement and serve as an inspiration to the entire sports industry. We look forward to honoring them at the 2019 Green Sports Celebration at our ninth annual Green Sports Alliance Summit in Philadelphia,” said Roger McClendon, Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance.
Past honorees include:
ESPN Corporate Citizenship (2018)
Jack Groh, director of NFL’s Environmental Program (2017)
Andrew Ference, captain and defenseman, Edmonton Oilers (2016)
Doug Behar, New York Yankees vice president of stadium operations (2015)
Gary Bettman, commissioner, National Hockey League (2014)
Christina Weiss Lurie, owner, Philadelphia Eagles (2013)
Allan H. Bud Selig, commissioner emeritus, Major League Baseball (2012)
The award presentation, coupled with the Innovators of the Year awards, are the highlight of the Alliance’s Green Sports Celebration, part of its annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. The awards, now in their eighth year, recognize the best in sports and sustainability. The event is hosted the evening of June 19, 2019, at Lincoln Financial Field and will be coupled with “A Taste of Philadelphia” showcasing innovative concepts in sustainable food and beverage.
Registration is Open for the Summit
The Green Sports Alliance Summit is the most influential convening of key stakeholders from around the sporting world for the purpose of sharing best practices, inspiring positive change, and improving the communities where we live and play. Register and learn more at greensportsalliance.org/summit
About the Green Sports Alliance
The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. The Alliance inspires professional sports leagues, sports governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members now number nearly 600 organizations and fans representing 15 leagues in 14 countries. Visit greensportsalliance.org for more information.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 655,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world. For more information about the USTA, go to USTA.com or follow the official accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
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