Smarter Business: Greening the Games

Professional sports team up with NRDC to reduce their environmental impact.

National Basketball Association

Through the NBA Green initiative, the league and its teams are taking steps to become a more environmentally responsible organization. With the NRDC's invaluable partnership, we have implemented recycling programs, installed energy- and water-saving fixtures, encouraged the utilization of sustainable supplies, and promoted the use of mass transit. We know there is more we can do, and we look forward to continuing to work with the NRDC and our teams to help protect our environment.” – NBA Commissioner David Stern

The NBA sponsored this public service announcement featuring NRDC Trustee Robert Redford for its 2009 Green Week.


The NBA began working with NRDC experts in 2007 in order to take steps toward becoming a more environmentally responsible organization. They started with environmental assessments at the League’s front offices and the NBA Store in New York City.

Soon after, the “NBA Green” program was formed under the NBA’s philanthropic NBA Cares program, and NRDC created customized Greening Advisors that were distributed to all NBA teams. These web-based advisors provide a comprehensive toolkit for teams and arenas to green their operations.

In an effort to highlight their growing environmental initiatives and engage fans, sponsors, partners, and players, the NBA held the first-ever Green Week in April 2009 at arenas around the country. The league held auctions to support environmental efforts, sponsored hands-on community service projects, and ran public service announcements about environmental conservation featuring NRDC Trustee Robert Redford. This inaugural Green Week also marked the launch of a new NBA Green website, featuring everything from tips for fans to interviews with NBA players about their efforts to support environmental protection.  Ongoing league and team greening efforts, press releases, videos, and green tips are all included on this site.  The NBA has continued this annual awareness week in 2010 and 2011.

“One of the things we do well at the NBA is share information and best practices among all of our teams,” Kathy Behrens, Executive VP of Social Responsibility and Player Programs for the NBA. “We’re obviously incredibly competitive when it comes to the game and the action on the court. But off the court, we really focus on the things that we can learn from each other, and a lot of what you see on the NBA Green website is really designed to help educate our teams and fans.”

NBA logo

“The NBA's commitment to reduce its ecological impact and to help educate basketball fans worldwide about the importance of environmental protection confirms why this league is regarded as one of the world's most responsible sports organizations," says NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz.

The league has also distributed a publication produced by NRDC and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation entitled Solar Energy for Your Stadium or Arena: A Guide to Understanding Opportunities of On-Site Photovoltaic Solar Power Generation, encouraging teams and arena operators to install on-site solar technology at their facility and providing detailed information about the process.  To date, four NBA teams – the LA Lakers and Clippers at the STAPLES Center, the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center, and the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center--have installed solar systems at their arenas, and the Golden State Warriors have installed solar panels at their practice facility.



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