News and Notes

Green Sports News And Notes For A Summer Friday


Green-Sports stories built up in my in box while I was at the Green Sports Alliance Summit. Here are synopses of the most notable ones for your reading pleasure before you head out for the weekend.



Diane Cardwell of the New York Times reported on Wednesday that the athletic apparel and equipment maker and retailer is greening, and perhaps revolutionizing the high performance surfing wet suit category.

Until now, most wet suits have been made from petroleum based products but, per Cardwell, Patagonia’s suit, which is already in stores, is fabricated from “a natural rubber (manufactured by Yulex) derived from a desert shrub…It is one way Patagonia is trying to nudge along a sport that has not always been environmentally conscious despite its roots in the natural world.” The new product will likely also find its way into the much bigger sneaker and yoga mat markets.


Patagonia Yulex NY Times
Rubber-based wetsuit, sold by Patagonia, which hopes to replace wetsuits made of petroleum based products. (Photo Credit: New York Times)


This is one of many examples of Patagonia, which is organized as a benefit or B-Corporation (there are about 900 in 26 US states and the District of Columbia. It requires executives to “take into account not just how decisions will affect shareholder value but also how they will affect the public, generally defined as society or the environment.”), leading the way among corporations in “walking the sustainability walk.”


A new survey of 2,015 Americans by the Knoxville, TN-based Shelton Group “found that nearly one-third of Americans would be more likely to attend a game or concert if the stadium recycled and composted, and one in five say they would buy more food and beverages during the event.” This echoes research presented by Turnkey Intelligence at the Green Sports Alliance Summit last week that showed 81 percent of self-identified sports fans care about the environment (as opposed to 63 percent of the general population).

To my mind, this is yet another indication that sports teams, leagues and venues should not run away from greening programs, green sponsorships, etc. because of fears of getting caught up in the politics of climate change. Rather they should run towards greenness because fans are already moving in that direction. How hard and fast the sports industry runs towards the environment will determine how much of a force for good sports fans be.

A post from Anna Lodge of the clever and must-check-out CarbonVisuals blog (Mission: To create “scientifically accurate volumetric images that help the audience make more sense of” climate data) puts the carbon emissions into perspective from the recently completed World Cup in Brazil.

Total emissions for the tournament were estimated at 2.723 million tonnes of CO2. The infographic shows what the CO2 footprint per player (3,700 tonnes) and per ticket sold  (918 kg) would look like if that footprint were represented as an inflated soccer ball. In the case of the CO2 footprint per player, that ball would fill up the iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio, host of the World Cup Final match.


Maracana infographic climatevisuals

Infographic, created by ClimateVisuals, that dimensionalizes the CO2 footprint per player at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (Credit: ClimateVisuals)



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  1. Never knew of the “B Corporation” designation—–learn something new every time I read the GSB!

  2. B-Corporations are a growing form of corporate organization (others include S-Corporations, LLCs, 501(c)(3) non-profits). Patagonia and Ben & Jerry are the most well known to this point. Awareness amongst the general public of B-corps is currently low but is also growing. There’s a Green-Sports angle to B-Corps in that its founder, Jay Coen Gilbert, was one of the founders of And 1 Sneakers. I’m hopeful of interviewing Jay for a future GSB post. Stay tuned.

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