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.”
Green Initiatives at the 2008 US Open
- Partnering with NRDC to distribute 100,000 wallet-cards containing Eco-Tips on how to be more environmentally friendly.
- Public Service Announcements featuring Billie Jean King, Venus Williams and Bob and Mike Bryan will be played on video boards and USOpen.org.
- Eco-Tips — featuring a newly-designed US Open green logo reminding fans to reduce, reuse and recycle — will be promoted in the US Open program, the Daily Drawsheet, USOpen.org/USTA.com and video board messaging.
- Billie Jean King will serve as spokesperson for the awareness campaign to promote environmental consciousness among US Open fans, players, vendors, partners and sponsors.
- Partnering with Evian© Natural Spring Water to launch a plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling program with the opportunity to recycle more than 500,000 plastic bottles and 20,000 aluminum cans.
- More than 80 Evian receptacles will be located in easily accessible and highly visible areas on the grounds to make recycling easy for fans.
- Following the US Open, approximately 20,000 Wilson tennis ball cans will be recycled. The 60,000 Wilson tennis balls used during the US Open will be reused for NTC programming and then donated to community/youth programs.
- Constellation Energy, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s electricity supplier, will supply Green-e Certified wind Renewable Energy Certificates to match the electricity consumption during the 2008 US Open.
- IBM, which powers USOpen.org, last year reduced the number of servers it used from 60 to nine, and this year is consolidating the number of servers to six, further reducing energy consumption and cooling demand.
- Lexus, the “Official Vehicle of the US Open,” will provide player transportation services during the event with hybrid vehicles comprising 20% of the overall fleet.
- Promoting mass-transit by launching a MetroCard Fan Giveaway in partnership with NRDC. Each day during the two-week event, 100 fans will win a $4 MetroCard to encourage the use of public transportation to and from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
- The 2.4 million napkins used by US Open patrons in the general concession area during the tournament will be comprised of 90% post-consumer waste.
- The official US Open program, the Daily Drawsheet and US Open marketing material will be printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council — guaranteeing environmentally responsible forest management.
- Various US Open information pieces, from the tournament guide to the grounds map to the Daily Drawsheet, will be printed on paper containing 30% post-consumer waste — more than 103,000 printed pieces and 330,000 Drawsheets are distributed during the event.
- Heidi Klum and Billie Jean King will design two of the 100% organic cotton t-shirts featured as part of the overall US Open Collection. Additionally, the collection will feature hats comprised of 50% post-consumer waste — each hat will contain the equivalent of two one-liter plastic bottles.
- A portion of the proceeds from the US Open organic collection will be donated to Unisphere, Inc., the non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the US Open.
- US Open merchandise stores will feature a new souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple uses with a “recycle and reuse” message printed on the bottom. In addition, a reusable tote bag will be available for $5.
“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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