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Top 10 greenest sports franchises

As global warming, pollution, deforestation and a host of other environmental problems grow more threatening, professional sports franchises around the world are rising up to meet the challenging. From energy-efficient stadia to waste recycling programs and vegan-only concession stand menus, these football clubs, cricket squads, basketball teams and American football franchises are committed to sustainability

10 | Lords

Last February, Lord’s, ‘the home of cricket’, was the first cricket club to be run entirely on green electricity. Home to England and Middlesex, Lord’s now only uses power derived from renewable sources following its successful reduction of electricity use (by 7%) since 2010. The club now sources power from wind farms and the photovoltaic roof panels of the new Warner Stand, which also has a state-of-the-art water collection and recycling system. The club has also cut down food wastage by ‘dewatering’ food and has restricted freight transport emissions by offering a seasonal menu of locally-sourced ingredients.

9 | Cleveland Indians

Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians franchise is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability with a three-pronged approach. First, the team’s Progressive Field ballpark managed to slash its energy consumption by 6mn KW a year. Thanks to those savings, the park can run almost entirely on clean energy from local solar panels and wind turbines. Further to that, since 2007 the team’s aggressive recycling program has conserved 35 tonnes of aluminium, 137 tonnes of cardboard and 63 tonnes of paper. Plus, the team saves heaps of food scraps left over from concessions and converts them into rich compost and fertilisers.

8 | Philadelphia Eagles

Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles, is one of the greenest stadiums in the world. The parking lots are dotted with more than 11,000 solar panels, and 14 industrial-size wind turbines decorate the roof; that’s six times more electricity than the stadium needs for every Eagle’s home game combined, meaning this franchise is actually offsetting fossil fuel power that would have been used by the surrounding city. The Eagles are also committed to reducing waste – less than 1% of their trash ends up in landfills, and all cups and flatware used in the stadium are biodegradable.

7 | Ohio Buckeyes

US college football team the Ohio Buckeyes play their home games at the ground dubbed ‘Zero Waste’ Ohio Stadium. In 2011, the stadium owners initiated its program to ultimately achieve zero waste and 90% of trash is currently diverted from landfill through recycling and composting, for which receptacles are placed throughout the stadium and its concourse. Its training centre has a 101kw, 237-panel solar array on its roof and the college campus derives 21% of its electricity from wind. Ohio State wishes to achieve total carbon neutrality by 2050.

6 | Adelaide Crows

The Australian Football League is known for hard men and harder hits, but this club has a soft spot when it comes to the environment. The club has helped lead more than 200,000 citizens to join in Australia’s National Tree Day. Each July 27, the Adelaide Crows players join local schoolchildren and volunteers in a planning effort to provide more habitat for wild animals and offset carbon emissions. The kids get to meet their heroes and learn to care for the environment at the same time. To date, more than 23mn trees have been planted throughout Australia.

5 | Kolkata Knight Riders

The Knight Riders are a legendary cricket club in the Indian Premier League, and they play at the even more legendary Eden Gardens cricket ground. As of 2017, the 66,000-seat stadium has completely eliminated plastic from its operations. Plastic bags, one of the most abundant sources of pollution in the world’s oceans, have been replaced with biodegradable paper, and vendors are being encouraged to eliminate other plastics as well. The Knight Riders’ new policy teams up with the Cricket Association of Bengal’s own initiative to encourage environmentalism throughout the region.

4 | Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers, affectionately known as the “little club on the hill,” shocked the world in 2017 with their unexpected promotion to the English Football League. But just as worthy of headlines is the club’s commitment to eco-friendly principles. The Rovers claim to be the world’s first 100% vegan football club. Hamburgers were replaced with veggie burgers at the squad’s matches in 2011, and today all cow milk-based products have been replaced with soy and oat milk. Reducing demand for animal products helps to limit carbon emissions, and the Rovers have also installed solar panels on their stadium roof.

3 | Sacramento Kings

One of the National Basketball Association’s least-known teams plays in the league’s greenest arena. Golden 1 Credit Union Center – the Sacramento Kings’ new home – is the first full service LEED Platinum certified sports stadium in the entire world. The arena runs entirely on solar power, much of which is generated by panels on the stadium’s roof. The arena also reduces its power conception by letting the region’s naturally cool breezes flow through massive sets of doors.

2 | Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons brand new home, fittingly called New Atlanta Stadium, is set to the be the National Football League’s most environmentally-friendly facility. The stadium solar panels will help to offset its energy consumption, but the most innovative feature is its rainwater collection system. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water will be captured by the stadium over the course of a year. That water will be used for internal cooling, irrigation of the field, and as an emergency water reserve in case of disaster.

1 | Portland Trail Blazers

The city of Portland, Oregon, is known for its hippie vibe and the lush forests that surround it, so it’s only logical the local basketball franchise has a green thumb. The Trail Blazer’s new arena was designed with energy efficiency in mind and the team is also innovating by encouraging forest growth. The franchise’s “3’s for Trees” program pledges to plant three new trees for every 3-point basket the team makes each season. Last year, the program led to 3,300 new trees being planted in nearby areas.