Let’s go Bucs! Let’s go green? Major League Baseball and CSR.

PNC Park: Pittsburgh

That’s right folks, it’s baseball time again.  There’s nothing like a ball park hot dog and a cold drink while watching your favorite baseball team to let you know Spring has finally arrived.  But what happens to all that stadium food once the game is over?  I was pleased to read Pirate’s spokesman, Matt Norby, address this issue last Thursday before the Pittsburgh Pirate’s home opener.  Beginning this year PNC Park vendors will donate unused food from 81 home games to shelters and soup kitchens to feed the hungry, according to a Point Park News Service article.  This will cut down on the more than 250 tons of uneaten food from PNC Park last year that went to recycling sites to become compost and contribute leftover food to those who need it most.  Interested in what your favorite MLB team is doing to go green?  Read on.

Apparently Major League Baseball was the first professional sports league to partner with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to reduce their environmental impact.  Through NRDC’s Green the Games program, NRDC developed a online greening advisor for all 30 teams, individually tailored for each club and specific to its location and needs.

Some initiatives include:

  • purchase of renewable sources, such as wind and solar, to power ballparks and training facilities.
  • buying postconsumer recycled paper, making double-sided copies and encouraging employees to separate their recycling from their regular garbage.
  • providing public education through eco-friendly tips during games and “green teams” to collect stadium recyclables.

The MLB’s Team Greening Program site is a great resource for all things green for baseball fans.  From news and features to videos on specific team iniatives, the MLB is certainly documenting its efforts.  The following green videos are  highlighted on their site:

Although married to a Sox fan, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my hometown Pirates.  In addition to their new commitment to donate leftover stadium food, they started their “Let’s Go Bucs, Let’s Go Green” campaign in 2008.  In just two seasons the Pirates reported that they and their PNC Park partners have succeeded in recycling:

-Nine tons of aluminum
-67.8 tons of paper
-2.6 tons of glass
-130.7 tons of food waste
-50 tons of plastic
-41.7 tons of yard waste
-80 tons of used cooking oil
-277 tons of cardboard

After a disappointing start to baseball season with unfortunate stories like Bryan Stow and the latest Pittsburgh fan arrest, I’m happy to be able to report on something positive for America’s favorite past time.  As a fan, a player or a ball club owner we all have responsibilities to keep our stadiums green and safe for the next generation.

Image credit:  harry_nl via Flickr under CC license.

Written by Emily DeMasi

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.


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