Anew program will make it possible for sports and entertainment venues to track the progress of their sustainability efforts month-to-month, year-to-year against a set of scientifically proven standards. GOAL (Green Operations & Advanced Leadership) is being launched by Oak View Group (OVG), Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, Fenway Sports Group, and McLennan Design CEO Jason F. McLennan.
As members of GOAL, public facilities will also be able to track against comparable venues – taking into consideration factors such as geography, venue type and size, tenants, and the age of the building. GOAL will provide venues with a tactical roadmap, easy-to-use tracking tools, a library of resources, and access to like-minded operators, vendors, and sponsors who are committed to operating more sustainably, more urgently.
The GOAL membership portal was inspired by the OVG owned-and-operated Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and WNBA’s Seattle Storm, which is on track to be the world’s first and only Carbon Zero Certified arena. The portal will be powered by customized software developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Member venues will be able to track their performance against standards in environmental and social categories such as energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, indoor air quality, and health and wellbeing. The GOAL Standard will also include opportunities to build a customized roadmap toward venue-specific values and locally relevant needs, ultimately leading to validated recognition of continuous improvement.
Kristen Fulmer, the founder of front-office sustainability consultancy Recipric and recently recognized by Sports Business Journal as “an executive to know in sports sustainability,” will lead GOAL as OVG360’s new Sustainability Director.
“By focusing our mission on operational sustainability, GOAL has the unique opportunity to redefine the priorities within our industry, which is up against intersecting climate and social crises,” said Fulmer. “We want to work with leading, like-minded venues to determine the most feasible, yet ambitious sustainability solutions. I am committed to prove that any venue can integrate win-win sustainability solutions that reduce the operating costs of the venue while avoiding negative environmental impacts and increasing positive social impacts.”
The partnership with State Farm Arena, the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to earn the TRUE zero-waste certification, was a natural fit.
“Sustainability is never a message of ‘we did it,’” commented Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena. “Environmental and social sustainability is a lifelong commitment, and we’re just getting started. With our new partners at Fenway Sports Group and Oak View Group, we can now share our journey with other like-minded venues just beginning their journeys. We can all certainly make progress as individual venues, but we are stronger as an industry if we work together to do better for a sustainable future.”
“Preservation and protection have been FSG’s approach to safeguarding two of the sports world’s most historic venues for the next generation of fans,” said Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner. “Sustainability has been central to those efforts, and as standards and technology evolve, so must our practices. We recognize this ongoing journey requires constant attention and in joining this ambitious GOAL partnership, we will help, and learn from, venues across the globe as we all navigate the intersection of sports, entertainment, and sustainability.”
“My hope is that GOAL becomes the sports and entertainment industry’s internal conscience as it relates to creating a more sustainable future. We’re seeing countless venues, leagues, teams, municipalities, and leaders – often driven by the demands of their fans, guests, clients and communities – who want to develop a more sustainable strategy but don’t know where to begin,” commented Chris Granger, President of OVG360. “We hope GOAL will provide that roadmap and be that guide for their sustainability journey. Fenway Sports Group and State Farm Arena are the perfect partners to champion a sustainable future industry-wide, and we are delighted to have Kristen onboard to pinpoint the intersectionality of sustainability with all aspects of a venue’s operations – from F&B to parking to partnerships.”
“We can all certainly make progress as individual venues, but we are stronger as an industry if we work together to do better for a sustainable future.”
— Steve Koonin, CEO. Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena
McLennan, Founder of McLennan Design and Chief Sustainability Officer for Perkins & Will, will sit on GOAL’s board of directors as an equity-holder and guide the creation of content and standards. McLennan is among the world’s most influential individuals in architecture and the green building movement. He is also the creator of the Living Building Challenge green building program in existence, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard.
“Oak View Group, Fenway Sports Group, and the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena represent the few in the industry to practice what they preach as far as sustainable solutions,” said McLennan. “There is a foundational lack of curated information, guidance, roadmaps and tools for the industry – specifically venue operators – to manage major civic venues in environmentally and socially sustainable ways. GOAL is going to fill that void in a practical yet aspirational way.”