Wednesday, December 6, 2023

110-Year-Old Fenway Park Is the MLB’s First to Go Carbon Neutral


Boston’s Fenway Park, home to the MLB’s Red Sox, is partnering with the celebrity-backed platform Aspiration to help it go carbon neutral.

The 110-year-old Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest ballpark in major league baseball. And it’s about to be its greenest, too. The Red Sox organization is making major efforts toward achieving carbon neutrality, the club announced.

Earlier this week, the Red Sox unveiled its partnership with Aspiration, a leading certified B Corp platform that helps to automate sustainability efforts. This is Aspiration’s first partnership with a MLB team. The company boasts more than seven million members and backing from celebrities including Drake, Cindy Crawford, Robert Downey Jr., Orlando Bloom, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Through its debit cards, it plants a tree for roughly every dollar spent.

Greening Fenway Park

“Finding sustainable and efficient ways to lower our carbon footprint and help offset the environmental impact of a 110-year-old ballpark requires creativity, unique methods, and deeply passionate partners like Aspiration,” Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, said in a statement.

“With this deal, a portion of the sale of every Red Sox ticket will be contributed to the Aspiration Planet Protection Fund which will help neutralize the climate impact of each fan attending a game at Fenway Park. We are thrilled to be working with a company that is fighting climate change by infusing that mission into every aspect of their business,” he added.

110-Year-Old Fenway Park Is the MLB's First to Go Carbon Neutral
Courtesy Mexence Bouniort via Unsplash

A portion of each ticket sold will go toward carbon credits with Aspiration’s Planet Protection Fund. The credits are used to offset the park’s electricity, water, and gas usage, as well as Scope 3 emissions. The club says the latter—those indirect Scope 3 emissions—come from fans traveling to the park. They represent the club’s biggest emissions footprint.

Under the new partnership, Fenway Park will be able to offset the emissions of its anticipated 100 million visitors during the six-month-long baseball season, making it the club’s largest climate commitment to date.

“It’s really hard to tackle renovations at a 100-year-old ballpark. That’s why we’ve been so focused on sustainability in all of our operations,” Sam Kennedy, the president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, told Yahoo Finance. “Now, we’re contributing on behalf of every single fan that comes into our ballpark in 2022 and beyond.”

According to Kennedy, the club is also making a “seven-figure” contribution to the fund, but that cost would not be reflected in ticket or concession prices.

“We don’t see it as a cost, but an investment in doing the right thing,” Kennedy said.

Planet Protection Fund

“The planet protection contributions [will] go to fund high quality nature-based offsets that are in carbon credits that are being created in places around the world, whether it’s planting trees in the Amazon region or in Africa, whether it’s soil enhancement operations, whether it’s wind, and other things that are having additional positive impact that’s reducing carbon from the atmosphere… so, this is real, verified projects that are going to have a measurable impact,” said Andrei Cherny, Aspiration CEO.

The move is Fenway Park’s latest effort to become more sustainable. More than a decade ago it became the first ballpark to install solar panels. In 2015, it added a rooftop garden that sits above the third baseline. Food grown in the garden is sold in the park’s concessions.

Courtesy Taylor Rooney on Unsplash

Last year Aspiration partnered with InterPrivate III Financial Partners Inc., a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at more than $2 billion. Once the deal is finalized, it will be listed as a Public Benefits Corporation, a move it says builds on its “existing commitments to generate social and public good and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

According to Cherny, sports teams are moving toward increasing climate goals as consumers seek to support more sustainability efforts. It secured a partnership with the LA Clippers last year, which is part of the basketball team’s efforts to make its Intuit Dome carbon-free. The NFL is also taking major steps to green its stadiums and communities.

“You’re seeing the zero to one moment where every business is having to ask the same question [about climate],” Cherny said. “Some of those businesses are going to be at the front end of that decision. But over the next few years, every business out there is going to have to grapple with those same questions.”


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