Green Building, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Sports and Entertainment Venues Launch ‘GOAL’ Sustainability Program

Major industry stakeholders have partnered to launch a new sustainability program for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and other types of public assembly venues in the sports and entertainment industry.

Founding partners of the Green Operations & Advanced Leadership (GOAL) program include Oak View Group, the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena, Fenway Sports Group, and green building trailblazer Jason F. McLennan.

According to the founders, GOAL will provide venues with a tactical roadmap, easy-to-use tracking tools, a library of resources, and access to like-minded operators, vendors, and sponsors all committed to operating more sustainably, more urgently.

Inspired by the work at OVG-owned and -operated Climate Pledge Arena, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and on track to be the world’s first Carbon Zero Certified arena, the GOAL membership portal will be powered by customized software developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Member venues will have the opportunity to track their performance against scientifically backed standards in environmental and social categories such as energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, indoor air quality, and health and well-being.

The GOAL Standard will also include opportunities to build a customized roadmap toward venue-specific values and locally relevant needs, ultimately leading to validated recognition of continuous improvement.

Kristen Fulmer, the founder of front-office sustainability consultancy Recipric and recently recognized by Sports Business Journal as “an executive to know in sports sustainability,” will lead GOAL as OVG360’s new Sustainability Director.

“By focusing our mission on operational sustainability, GOAL has the unique opportunity to redefine the priorities within our industry, which is up against intersecting climate and social crises,” Fulmer said. “I am committed to prove that any venue can integrate win-win sustainability solutions that reduce the operating costs of the venue while avoiding negative environmental impacts and increasing positive social impacts.”

The partnership with State Farm Arena, the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to earn the TRUE zero-waste certification, was a natural fit.

“Sustainability is never a message of ‘we did it,’” Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena, said. “Environmental and social sustainability is a lifelong commitment, and we’re just getting started.”

As a member of GOAL, a venue will be able to track its progress month-to-month, year-to-year against a set of scientifically proven standards. It will also be able to track against comparable venues—looking at factors such as geography, venue type and size, tenants, and the age of the building.

“Preservation and protection have been FSG’s approach to safeguarding two of the sports world’s most historic venues (Fenway Park and Anfield Stadium) for the next generation of fans,” said Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner. “We recognize this ongoing journey requires constant attention, and in joining this ambitious GOAL partnership, we will help, and learn from, venues across the globe as we all navigate the intersection of sports, entertainment, and sustainability.”

Chris Granger, President of OVG360, said, “We’re seeing countless venues, leagues, teams, municipalities, and leaders—often driven by the demands of their fans, guests, clients and communities—who want to develop a more sustainable strategy but don’t know where to begin. We hope GOAL will provide that roadmap and be that guide for their sustainability journey.”

Jason F. McLennan, Founder of McLennan Design and Chief Sustainability Officer for Perkins & Will, will sit on GOAL’s board of directors as an equity-holder and guide the creation of content and standards. McLennan is considered one of the world’s most influential individuals in architecture and the green building movement today. He is also the creator of the Living Building Challenge, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard.

“Oak View Group, Fenway Sports Group, and the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena represent the few in the industry to practice what they preach as far as sustainable solutions,” McLennan said. “There is a foundational lack of curated information, guidance, roadmaps and tools for the industry—specifically venue operators—to manage major civic venues in environmentally and socially sustainable ways. GOAL is going to fill that void in a practical yet aspirational way.”

More info is available on the GOAL website here.

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