EPA chief Lisa Jackson will be in the Windy City on Friday to deliver the keynote address to the Chicago Summit on Sport and Sustainability. A review of the summit’s agenda and list of speakers suggests the event will be narrowly tailored to efforts that city is undertaking in its bid for the 2016 Olympics. With that said, there also will be representatives from the National Football League (Philadelphia Eagles) who may speak to the efforts underway in professional sports on achieving sustainable practices.
As I mentioned in my first article, the professional sports industry is just beginning to embrace sustainable business practices. But they are late to the party, as the Olympic movement has been at the forefront of applying environmentally sustainable practices for some time. In fact, you can trace simple sustainability practices back to efforts applied during the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles.
Green and sustainability are already baked into plans for the next two games. The city of Vancouver’s promise to host the first sustainable Olympic games ever almost certainly helped the Canadian city’s bid for the 2010 winter games (PDF). Not to be out done, London, the site of the 2012 summer Olympics, unveiled its own sustainability plan back in 2007.
It’s clear that if you want the Olympics in your city, you had better commit to environmentally sustainable operations. Wouldn’t it be interesting if, here in the United States, the same requirements were placed on both college and professional sports programs by the cities they operate in or represent?
But I digress. In Chicago on Friday, Jackson has an opportunity to not only commend the work that is being done by the sports community but also provide some needed industry motivation. It is also a perfect stage for Jackson to point out how existing regulations touch the sport community, and how sports practices will not be unaffected by new regulatory programs (greenhouse gas emissions) that are likely to come into effect in the not too distant future.
So, as the industry itself moves ahead with sustainability programs, and as government regulators set their sights on sports practices, it should come as no surprise if Jackson’s “motivation” eventually comes in the form of a Federal Advisory Committee to help guide the sporting industry as it begins the transformation to a sustainable industry.
I look forward to Jackson’s speech and will be writing tomorrow on the highlights.