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Athletic Depts Make Sustainability a Priority

A majority of NCAA athletic departments are now making environmental initiatives a priority, according to a survey by ProGreenSports. Over 93 percent of survey respondents are Associate or Assistant Athletic Directors (Facilities, Operations or Events), Facilities Directors or Managers, or Campus-wide Sustainability Directors.

The survey reported that among the 73 schools that participated in the survey, a majority, 52 percent, described environmental initiatives as a “high” or “very high” priority, an increase from 44.3 percent the year before. More than 83 percent said that in the future, the emphasis on environmental programs will increase.

More than a third, 36.1 percent, said their athletic department has developed or is actively considering developing a strategic sustainability plan with short- and long-term objectives, while 79.5 percent said key decision makers in their department have a positive perspective of environmental initiatives.

In September, ProGreenSports conducted a similar study among professional sports teams, finding even greater participation in sustainability initiatives at that level. Over 78 percent of participants in the survey of professional teams said they have formed or are firmly planning to form a green team, while 59.2 percent said making environmental initiatives is a “high” or “very high” priority.

Among both groups, uncertain return on investment was cited as the highest barrier to adopting sustainability initiatives.

The University of Florida’s football complex was recently the first such building to be certified LEED platinum, while Juice Energy put together a list of what the leading conferences are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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