The 2022 Major League Baseball regular season begins after a prolonged labor dispute between owners and players and could benefit from some positive press. One example is Albert Pujols’s return to the St. Louis Cardinals. Another is the Boston Red Sox reinforcing its commitment to doing right by the environment.
In conjunction with Aspirations, the Red Sox intend to make Fenway Park, yes, that 110-year-old ballpark, the first carbon-neutral facility of its kind.
This is not the Red Sox’s first foray into becoming a more ‘green’ organization.
- In 2007, the Red Sox detailed a five-year greening plan along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, namely, the implementation of Fenway Park’s Green Team a revolutionary recycling initiative and the installation of solar panels throughout the ballpark.
- In 2014, The Red Sox partnered with EverSource to upgrade the ballpark’s lighting to all new LEDs, provide efficient lighting controls, install efficient motor controls, and heating, cooling, & ventilation upgrades, which collectively were aimed at reducing energy usage by 12 percent.
With respect to Aspirations, through ticket sales, a portion of all monies collected by the ballclub in the 2022 regular season will be used to purchase carbon offsets. Fans will not be charged anything additional.
Specific financial terms were not disclosed. However, Red Sox ownership has been clear any costs will be borne solely by the team.
Aspiration’s Sustainable Impact Services and Planet Protection feature will serve as the launching pad for this latest initiative, and it will function as the Red Sox’s official sustainability provider too. A portion of each ticket sale will go toward the Aspiration Planet Protection Fund and seamlessly transfer those monies toward purchasing verified carbon credits. These credits are certified through multiple channels – the American Carbon Registry, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, and an independent auditor as well. Other sustainability measures have been mulled about to integrate into fans’ ballpark game-day experience but haven’t been further outlined yet.
Areas the credits cover are electricity and water usage, what are termed “Scope 3 emissions”, and both indirect and direct impacts of operating Fenway Park.
Aspirations went public in August of 2021 at a valuation of approximately $2.3 billion. Its other active partnerships include the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Athletes Unlimited – the latter a burgeoning softball outfit with ambitions to become the first U.S.-based carbon-neutral sports league. Its investors are rumored to be Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr.
For a multitude of reasons, the lowering of carbon emissions (rightly so) continues to be top-of-mind for many. Researchers and scientists have been successful in quantifying its many potential benefits. Examples are improved air quality, fewer instances of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, a lower probability of developing colon cancer and breast cancer, and overall greater mental health in the form of fewer instances of depression.