The most sustainable Super Bowl ever? Where’s the proof?
- The host committee’s Fan Express (100 buses) transporting fans to and from game day was also fueled by Neste’s renewable diesel; removing the equivalent of 2000 cars from the road
- A food recovery program called Food Runners made sure prepared food gone uneaten from the Super Bowl is redirected to Bay Area–based food banks and soup kitchens.
- No single-use bottles were used at the event. Fans are instead encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles, which they can fill up at water stations around Super Bowl City powered by Flowater; Flowater claims to have eliminated 20,000 plastic bottles during the event through their placement of refilling stations
- Urban Forestry hosted several tree planting events
- Verizon promoted ewaste recycling
….and the list goes on. For events of this scale, transportation typically accounts for the majority of carbon emissions (aka Scope 3 emissions). Terrapass not only provided carbon certificates to offset the NFL team travel to and from the game event, but also pledged to offset all carbon emissions from game event and all are events. In addition, Terrapass allowed travelers to offset their carbon emissions through an aviation pledge, and provided additional educational information for the fans. Fans were encouraged to embrace sustainability personally through ‘Play your part’ campaign with the aim of giving fans the opportunity to give back and engage in sustainable practices. By pledging individual actions, fans were invited to decide how $200.000 from the 50 fund were allocated. It would not be right to turn a blind eye on social problems the Super Bowl event created for the host city. Human trafficking and domestic child sex trafficking are at the top of that list. The relocation of homeless residents was equally disturbing for many. We also heard stories about people getting evicted from their homes, because the landlords believed they could make more money from renters during the Super Bowl event than from tenants throughout the rest of the year. Many street vendors lost revenue and the discussion about reimbursement is ongoing. So Super Bowl 50 was not perfect, but my hope is that its integrated thinking sets a precedent to aspire to and to improve on in the future. Bottom line: Its complicated, and its not perfect. But a lot of the achievements will, hopefully, be carried forward and the progress made here will impact not only future Super Bowls, but all big sports events and future San Francisco events. I was proud to be part of it.
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