Green-Sports News and Notes: Electric Cars Take Down FIFA Execs

The biggest story in sports the past week has been the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA, the governing body of world soccer/football. By now, pretty much the entire world, sports and otherwise, knows that FIFA President Sepp Blatter stepped down as a result of the investigation led by US District Attorney Loretta Lynch. Far less well known is the role clean, green electric vehicles played in the story. That and more fills your Friday Green-Sports News and Notes plate.

 

NISSAN LEAFS USED TO ARREST FIFA EXECS IN SWITZERLAND

Justice, both poetic and legal, was done last week, when 9 FIFA officials and 5 corporate executives were arrested in Switzerland by authorities driving Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, among others. The indictments–47 different counts in all, including wire fraud, money laundering, etc.–rocked the sports world.

And that the FIFA execs were taken down by EVs added a bit of delicious irony to the story for James Ayre, who, writing in CleanTechnica, noted that “the use of fully electric Nissan LEAFs for the arrest is also interesting given the FIFA officials’ connections to oil- and gas-based economies like Qatar and Russia. One wonders if the use of those vehicles was coincidental or part of a statement about the corruption.” When you consider that corruption may have swung the elections that awarded the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, that irony just became tastier indeed.

 

DODGER STADIUM GOES HIGH TECH TO PROTECT TREES DURING DROUGHT

It’s almost impossible for me to believe that Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962, is now the 3rd oldest in the major leagues, with only venerable Fenway Park and Wrigley Field being (much) older. But, while it is a fact that the ballpark in Chavez Ravine is indeed eligible for AARP membership, that hasn’t stopped the folks who manage and landscape for using state-of-the-art technologies to keep the trees surrounding it alive during the now 4+ year drought in Southern California.

In “How 4 Iconic Places in Los Angeles Are Saving Water,” Degen Pener’s piece in the May 29th issue of National Geographic detailed how stadium management is using an experimental device, created by Skywell, “that pulls moisture out of the air and cools it to produce water droplets.”

More Pener: “During humid periods, the machine works by the process of condensation, cooling atmospheric water below its dew point. It generates 100 gallons of water in a few days.”

While the amount of water generated is not huge, it’s enough keep the trees alive during the drought without adding to the stadium’s usage of imported water.

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium is surrounded by acacia, walnut, and other trees that didn’t need irrigation until the 4+ year-long drought. The Dodgers are experimenting with a new machine that sucks water out of humid air. (Photo credit: Zuma/Alamy)

 

ARE MOST SUSTAINABLE BRANDS PLAYING AT GREEN-SPORTS INTERSECTION?

GlobeScan* and SustainAbility@ are out with their 19th survey of global sustainability leaders, including a Top 12 list of the most sustainable global corporations. A quick look at the list shows:

•#2 Patagonia, is a sports-oriented brand whose greenness is central to its brand image.

•#9 BASF, the global chemical company based in Germany, is a leader in promoting its green products (i.e. compostable cups and plates) via sports. GreenSportsBlog has detailed their stellar work here and here.

•#10 Nike has brought its environmental commitments to consumers through its Grind program, in which used sneakers (any brand) are dropped off at Nike Stores and turned into running tracks and playing fields.

•#1 Unilever (likely won that designation at least in part by promising to halve its environmental footprint by 2020 while growing its business) has not marketed its greenness via sports. Since many of its food and household products are marketed to women and women sports fans are, per a 2014 survey, much more likely to respond positively to a green initiative by a sports team or league, it seems as though Unilever would do well to park itself at the intersection of green and sports.

Nike Grind

Running track made from recycled sneakers through the Nike Grind program. (Photo credit: Asia.com)

 

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV SAYS IT IS MOST WATER-EFFICIENT BREWER

Finally, in today’s (June 5) edition of Environmental LeaderAnheuser-Busch InBev (A-B) says “it is the world’s most water efficient brewer after achieving a Water Use Ratio# of 3.2 hectoliters per hectoliter of production.” The company noted that, from 2013 to 2014, “this resulted in saving the equivalent of the amount of water it takes to make more than 4 billion cans of our beers.”

You may ask “Why is this a green-sports story?” Because A-B is the one of the leading advertisers and sponsors of sports in the US and, increasingly, beyond our shores. And, while the company is not listed in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Top 12 most sustainable corporate brands, it is doing the sustainable thing in terms of water usage. Why not let the sports fan/sports viewer know about it?

You may also ask “Are there Water Use Ratio data on MillerCoors and the other major brewers? How do we know A-B is ‘most efficient’? None were presented. Because they say so, which is obviously not sufficient. Still, regardless of how they rank vs. their competitors, A-B’s impressive water use reduction is worth noting.

* GlobeScan: Provides evidence-led counsel to a wide range of organizations seeking to…adopt or refine strategies on brand, reputation, and sustainability.
@ SustainAbility: A think tank and strategic advisory firm working to catalyze business leadership on sustainability.
# Water Use Ratio describes how efficiently a facility uses water for beverage production.

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Email us: lew@greensportsblog.com

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