Green Alliance is golden

Paul Allen’s social conscience runs even deeper than his pockets.

Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers and part of the Sounders FC ownership, is seeing his vision for reducing the impact of professional sports leagues on the environment come into focus.

Monday at Safeco Field, the Green Sports Alliance (GSA) was launched. It is an unprecedented coalition of professional sports teams and venues with an obvious common goal.

“The commitment by these six professional teams, from six different leagues, to enhance their environmental profile in a meaningful and public way marks a watershed in the history of professional sports,” said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and environmental advisor for professional sports.

“This type of inter-league collaboration is unprecedented. The Green Sports Alliance is showing its commitment to making real environmental progress by systematically evaluating their members green impacts – just like sports stats. All professional leagues should follow their lead.”

In addition to the Seahawks, Sounders FC and Trail Blazers, the other founding members of GSA are the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm and Vancouver Canucks. The venues involved include Qwest Field, Safeco Field and KeyArena in Seattle, the Rose Garden in Portland and Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

The organizations are working with the NRDC, U.S. EPA, Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Portland State University to identify and adopt innovative environmental initiatives and share information about opportunities to measure and reduce their impact on the environment.

The idea was originally conceived by representatives of Allen’s sports teams and the NRDC, but is being embraced as an innovative step in the right direction.

“The NFL is proud to support the greening efforts of the Seattle Seahawks,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Environmental stewardship is important to the NFL and all our clubs, and the Seattle Seahawks are a leader in this area. Enhancing the sustainability of professional sports is a worthy goal, and we wish the Green Sports Alliance great success.”

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