On Wednesday evening, June 28, 2017, the Green Sports Alliance will present its annual Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Innovators of the Year awards, the highlight of its annual Green Sports Celebration. The awards, now in their sixth year, recognize and celebrate the best in sports and sustainability. The Sacramento Kings and their LEED Platinum-certified Golden 1 Center will play host.
The Environmental Leadership Award is among the most prestigious: only individuals are eligible; their teams or organizations are not. It goes to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership: their contribution to environmental sustainability is so influential that it spurs innovation at the team, venue, league, or with fans – and in so doing, advances the entire sports and sustainability movement.
This year’s award goes to Jack Groh, director of the National Football League Environmental Program. His first Super Bowl greening effort was at the Georgia Dome in 1994, and he has worked tirelessly ever since. Under his leadership, the Super Bowl is now recognized as one of the greenest professional sports events in the United States. In addition, Groh oversees greening for the NFL Pro Bowl, and the NFL Draft.
Past honorees include:
- Andrew Ference, captain and defenseman, Edmonton Oilers (2016)
- Doug Behar, New York Yankees vice president of stadium operations (2015)
- Gary Bettman, commissioner, National Hockey League (2014)
- Christina Weiss Lurie, owner, Philadelphia Eagles (2013)
- Allan H. Bud Selig, commissioner emeritus, Major League Baseball (2012)
Although not singular like the Environmental Leadership Award, no less significant are the Environmental Innovators of the Year awards. Both individuals and organizations are eligible for this highly competitive award. This year’s winners represent a wide variety of sports at the collegiate and professional level, as well as suppliers and vendors.