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USTA to Launch Wide-Ranging Green Initiatives

FLUSHING, NY —The USTA today announced an increased commitment to long-term environmental initiatives at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, which annually hosts more than 700,000 fans during the two weeks of the event. One of tennis’ most respected champions and the tennis facility’s namesake, Billie Jean King, will participate in the USTA’s awareness campaign to encourage US Open fans and others to help preserve the environment.

A top environmental consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), reviewed operations of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and recommended various initiatives that will have an impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the 2008 US Open, including improved waste and energy management programs and the use of recycled paper. The USTA will continue to work with ERM to develop ongoing initiatives to further reduce the US Open’s carbon footprint and overall ecological impact.

Over the past several years, the USTA has made significant improvements in energy efficiency at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with a special focus on the US Open. From 2004 to 2007, energy efficiency initiatives have resulted in a four percent reduction in energy use. In addition, the USTA encourages US Open fans to use public transportation during the tournament. Last year, 57% of the sampled attendees arrived at the US Open via mass transit, up from 32% in 2000.

“We feel a deep responsibility to make measureable changes not only at the US Open and National Tennis Center, but also in the minds of our worldwide audience,” said Jane Brown-Grimes, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “We have the opportunity to showcase this highly-attended sport in a way that encourages our fans to alter their approach in their own lives. In the end, it is this collective action that will truly make a difference.”

“Big-time sporting events provide a unique platform to educate fans on green initiatives, and we feel that the best way we can educate is to lead by example,” said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive Officer, Pro Tennis, USTA. “We have a plan that will lessen the environmental impact of the event and heighten the environmental awareness of those who attend it.”

USO_GREENlogo.jpg

Green Initiatives at the 2008 US Open

Fan Awareness

Recycling

Energy Management

Transportation

Paper Procurement

US Open Merchandise

“We are taking a big step with the home of the US Open becoming one of the first in the tennis community to take significant action to positively impact the environment,” said Billie Jean King, tennis legend and founder of GreenSlam. “The US Open will serve as a springboard for other tennis events to declare their commitment and actions to a greener approach to our sport.”

In 2007, Billie Jean King founded and launched GreenSlam, an environmental initiative for the sports industry aimed at inspiring sports venues, promoters and manufacturers to make positive environmental impacts. For more information, go to greenslam.net.

“The USTA is using its market influence and cultural visibility to send environmentally meaningful signals to the market place.” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist, NRDC. “All tennis fans should take pride in what the USTA is doing. By using clean non-fossil fuel energy to power this event, switching to recycled paper products, promoting the use of public transportation and assuring the recycling of its plastic debris, the USTA is making an important statement that we all need to lighten our impact on the planet. This smart event planning should be used as the model for all tennis events worldwide.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Beijing. For more information on how to green an event or organization, go to nrdc.org.

 

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