NEW YORK YANKEES ESTABLISH THE FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE APPOINTEE POSITION IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
Organization Taps Esteemed Expert Dr. Allen Hershkowitz to Serve as Environmental Science Advisor and Guide its Continued Commitment to Sustainability
The New York Yankees today announced the creation of an environmental science advisor position, appointing recognized industry leader Dr. Allen Hershkowitz to the new role, the first of its kind in professional sports.
The appointment represents a defining moment in the team’s decades-long commitment to sustainability, and serves to deepen an existing dedication to environmentally-friendly practices and community-wide awareness. Recognized as one of the most environmentally intelligent and healthiest sports venues in the world, with Hershkowitz as Environmental Science Advisor, the Yankees will look to further advance their efforts and invest in the development of best practices that can be adopted by organizations across the sport sector. Specifically, Hershkowitz will seek to guide a number of new and existing environmental initiatives for the Yankees and at Yankee Stadium, with a primary focus on the areas of energy use, waste management, water conservation, and food services.
“The Yankees have always been devoted to supporting the best interests of our community, our fans and our players, and we believe effective eco-friendly initiatives are a key element of our interactions,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner and managing general partner. “We have made significant strides throughout the years, and as such, Yankee Stadium is proud to promote a zero-waste economy, and stand as one of the most successful recycling and composting venues in all of sports. At present, approximately 85 percent of our waste is diverted away from landfills by an active commitment to composting and recycling, and we look forward to even more improvement under Allen’s guidance.”
A widely recognized leader in the environmental science sector, Hershkowitz served as a Senior Scientist for 26 years at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and was a force behind some of the organization’s most effective initiatives. He is Chairman and Founding Director of Sport and Sustainability International, and the co-founder and past President of the Green Sports Alliance. In these roles, he has spearheaded sustainability programs in partnership with organizations that include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the United States Tennis Association, Major League Soccer, NASCAR and many professional and collegiate teams.
“Allen’s guidance to the Yankees has been invaluable in helping us emerge as an environmental leader instituting ground-breaking programs,” said Doug Behar, Senior Vice President for Stadium Operations. “With him on our team, we anticipate the development of many more important initiatives that will build on our existing efforts to better our organization and our planet.”
As Environmental Science Advisor, Hershkowitz will look to expand existing promotion of responsible environmental stewardship among essential members of the Yankees family, including among suppliers, sponsors, fans and the local community.
“Being appointed as the Yankees’ Environmental Science Advisor is a unique honor and responsibility,” said Hershkowitz. “I applaud the team’s leadership for breaking new ground in the sports industry by being the first team to create this important position.”
In 2014, the Yankees’ environmental leadership was recognized with the Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award. To date, the team has completed projects that include high volume recycling and composting, illustrated leadership in energy efficiency, and completed the measurement, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas impacts, including the distribution of thousands of life-saving high-efficiency cookstoves in Africa.
John Adams, Founding Director and former President of NRDC, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his environmental leadership, emphasized the significance of Hershkowitz’s new position: “This is a very smart move by the Yankees. One of greatest sports organizations in the world has chosen to use its visibility to promote environmental literacy in a critically important way. I congratulate Allen for becoming the environmental science advisor to the Yankees, the most influential team in the history of sports.”
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About New York Yankees Sustainability Initiatives at Yankee Stadium
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Impacts While Saving Lives in Africa: The Yankees measure, reduce and offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts associated with our operations. Our use of LED lighting and a high tech energy management program ensures that the efficiency of all equipment is carefully calibrated to specific usage patterns, reducing the power consumption needed for lighting and ventilation systems. However, even the most efficient operations engender unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. Team and employee travel, motors that require the use of fossil fuels, the generation of non-recyclable waste, and occasional leaks of refrigerants are all examples of GHG impacts that the Yankees carefully measure, try to reduce, and offset. In 2018, the Yankees offset its unavoidable GHG impacts by investing in 4,500 high efficiency cookstoves that were distributed to some of the poorest rural communities in Africa (Mozambique). This unique approach to offsetting our unavoidable GHG impacts was carefully evaluated to advance numerous United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. According to calculations provided by The South Pole Group, a greenhouse gas management firm, the Yankees distribution of high efficiency cookstoves has reduced the likelihood of pre-mature morality in more than 7,400 individuals living in Africa (mostly women and young children), while at the same time promoting new employment opportunities and protecting biodiversity. As a result of this extraordinary humanitarian initiative, the Yankees are leading the way towards a low-carbon, more sustainable future.
Environmentally Intelligent Stadium Operations: Yankee Stadium benefits from one of the greatest mass transit systems of any city in the world, which reduces the GHG impacts associated with each game. At the same time, venue operations promote a circular, zero-waste economy based on composting, recycling, and the recovery and use of waste oil. Compostable cutlery and food-service packaging, trays, boxes, plates and cups, are used and recovered instead of discarding petroleum-based plastics. As a result, approximately 85 percent of the Stadium’s total trash is diverted away from landfills, making Yankee Stadium one of the most successful recycling and composting venues in all of sports. Similarly, The Yankees are a responsible steward of New York City’s irreplaceable drinking water system. Its careful monitoring and high efficiency plumbing fixtures save more than three million gallons of water each year, a 22 percent reduction from 2009. And the stadium’s use of high-performance filters provide clean air for fans, athletes, and staff and ensures the energy efficiency of our HVAC system.
Promoting Environmental Literacy: As the announcement in this press release confirms, the Yankees are committed to promoting environmental literacy. As a Founding Member of Sport and Sustainability International and through its role on the Board of the Green Sports Alliance, the Yankees are committed to promoting environmental literacy to other sports venues, fans, and businesses.