Super Bowl Showcases Several Sustainability Efforts

By Andrew Bernier
Published: Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 5:55pm
Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 6:11pm
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Photo by Andrew Bernier - KJZZ
A VPA arborist teaches volunteers how to plant a tree at Super Bowl planting event at Moon Valley Park.
Photo by Andrew Bernier - KJZZ
NFL Environmental Director speaks to an ASU crowd about past sustainability efforts.

The Super Bowl claims to be the most sustainability-driven championship game of all sports. But what does that mean?

The NFL announced several sustainability initiatives taking place for Super Bowl activities including common efforts like recycling and using renewable energy. However, not all Super Bowls are created equal.

“When we come out to places like Texas and Arizona where the economic pressure for recycling isn’t there, then our recycling rates tend to be lower," said NFL Environmental Director Jack Groh. "So, it’s hard for us to put those metrics together and then go year to year with it. You know there are other things like renewable energy, we do great out here in this part of the country. Recycling? Not so much.”

Groh said even though some markets make sustainability initiatives harder than others, the league has been creative in making their footprint smaller but their impact bigger.

“Last time we were here in Arizona, we recovered 90,000 pounds of prepared food that were then served at soup kitchen shelters and other places throughout Phoenix and the Valley," said Groh. "So that’s 45 tons of food that were recovered, but offset over a $150,000 worth of costs for the local food banks.”

Groh said along with other initiatives like urban forestry and material donations, the NFL developed a rating system scoring sustainability efforts of partner corporations. By comparing sponsor scores, the league can see their greater impact beyond the game.

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