Republished with permission from sports writer, Lew Blaustein.
(The following content has been edited lightly for brevity.)
Before I go on to the rest of the story, just pause and let the following sink in:
The 27-time World Champion, New York Yankees became the first major North American sports team to sign on to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. Launched by UN Climate Change in December, the Framework’s aim is to bring the sports industry’s greenhouse emissions in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement and inspire others to take ambitious climate action.
The New York Yankees, the most storied and successful franchise in North American sports history, just made a clear, definitive, public commitment in support of the climate change fight.
Allen Hershkowitz, the Yankees’ newly-minted Environmental Science Advisor and Chairman of Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI), framed the organization’s climate promises this way: “This announcement by the Yankees, due to their powerful, iconic brand, has the chance to change cultural assumptions about sports and climate action. The organization, from the top down, recognizes they, the sports world more broadly, and all of humanity, are facing a global climate crisis. The hope is that, if the Yankees can do this, other teams across all sports — many of which have taken similar actions — will feel emboldened to make their own commitments to the Framework.”
And those pledges have real teeth.
In addition to the GHG reduction and offsetting guarantees, the Yankees and the other signatories to the Framework, have promised to support the following principles:
- Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility
- Reduce overall climate impact
- Educate for climate action
- Promote sustainable and responsible consumption
- Advocate for climate action through communication
YANKEES JOIN GLOBAL ALL-STAR TEAM OF SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS JOINING THE FRAMEWORK
The Yankees have been at the cutting edge of Green-Sports since moving into the current iteration of Yankee Stadium in 2009. From attaining Zero-Waste status (i.e. diverting 90 percent or more of waste from landfill via recycling, composting and other methods) to funding the distribution of clean burning cookstoves to women in East Africa that will help public health while reducing carbon emissions, and much more, the Yankees have already started down the path to reaching their Framework commitments.
The organization joins numerous prominent international high profile sports organizations committed to the Framework, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, the French Tennis Federation-Roland Garros, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, 2021 Rugby League World Cup, Formula E, and others.
“The New York Yankees are proud to support the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework,” said Yankees’ Principal Owner and Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner in a press release. “For many years, the Yankees have been implementing the type of climate action now enshrined in the Sports for Climate Action principles, and with this pledge, the Yankees commit to continue to work collaboratively with our sponsors, fans and other relevant stakeholders to implement the UN’s climate action agenda in sports.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recognized the importance of having a team as prominent and influential as the Yankees endorse the Sports for Climate Action Framework.
“I welcome the announcement by the New York Yankees to join Sports for Climate Action,” Mr. Guterres said. “With their rich winning tradition, the Yankees bring a new level of leadership to global efforts to tackle climate change. When it comes to safeguarding our future, it’s time to play ball.”
About the author
After a career in sports marketing communications and advertising sales, Lew Blaustein became passionate about the environment and climate change as a patriotic reaction to the 9/11 attacks.
GreenSportsBlog (http://greensportsblog.com), which Blaustein launched in 2013, has become “the source for news and commentary at the intersection of Green + Sports.”
Its monthly audience of up to 8,000 includes sports commissioners, team and league executives, sustainability leaders, eco-athletes and more. GreenBiz, Sustainable Brands, and others syndicate his work.