In the sports world, the first part of January is jam packed with big news and lots of excitement. From football playoffs in the NCAA and the NFL, to the heart of competitive ski & snowboard season, to the start of the tennis circuit with the Australian Open, there's plenty to get fired up about. And it's no different for us at Sports and Social Change, as we have some great news to share...
I am big proponent of the "Social Enterprise" movement and have spent much of the past several years studying, learning and sharing ideas with colleagues in the sports, business, nonprofit and academic community about using business practices to address social issues. For the past few years I've been very involved with the Los Angeles chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, a national professional organization dedicated to driving the Social Enterprise movement at all levels. And this year, I'm honored to have been asked to serve on the board of the LA chapter, where I'll help guide the educational programs and resources we share in our community. LA has a thriving Social Enterprise culture, with dozens of business and nonprofit orgs who are taking innovative approaches to solving critical local, national and global issues. My goal is to take a lot of what's being accomplished here and share it with the sports community at large.
Walking the halls of the Agenda show is always a great chance to see what's hip and happening in pop culture. One of the best lifestyle apparel & footwear trade shows going, Agenda offers the perfect mash-up of street wear and action sports, where many of the top brands showcase what's coming down the pipeline for next year.
I'm always on the lookout for products that transcend the norm with a cause related tie-in, and this year's show presented several brands, new and old, that have embraced a growing trend towards "Upcycling" - basically re-purposing and re-using old and used items into something new and useful. Here's a quick look at a few of the brands that stood out...
For most people, the "green" they think of when it comes to sports is either the grass on the field or the significant amount of money the industry generates. However, there's a growing movement to raise the bar on another green topic in the sports world - environmental responsibility. And I had the opportunity to be at the epicenter of that movement last week at the Green Sports Summit, an annual gathering of sports business professionals who are exploring ways to build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly sports experience for all.
The annual event is organized by the Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit formed in 2010 with deep "organic" roots in professional sports including founding franchises Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm, Vancouver Canucks along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc. In 4 short years, they have grown the alliance to include over 240 pro & collegiate sports teams, venues and strong relationships with the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, MLS and NLL.
The 2014 Green Sports Summit was a great opportunity for sharing of best practices and examples of what's possible in creating a sports experience that leaves a very small environmental footprint. There were a wide range of presentations around construction topics, energy efficiency & lighting, recycling & composting, sustainable purchasing & sourcing, and transportation. I was drawn to more of the marketing and event discussions, as those intersect with the work we do around Cause Marketing and CSR, but everything I attended was extremely insightful and definitely valuable.
Here are 3 things I learned at the 2014 Green Sports Summit:
Nelson Mandela once said that “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.“ Millions of travelers around the globe share a passion for sports. They travel the world for their favorite sports - from skiing, surfing, cycling, hiking to diving trips, but many of these trips don’t benefit the places they visit. Travel2change launched the sports challenge to use travel and sports to create change.
How can travelers use sports to create a positive impact during their trip? In an open call for meaningful travel experience ideas, local hosts are encouraged to submit a meaningful travel experience that would benefit their community. Travelers vote for their favorite ideas and discuss the experiences.
Sina, the travel2change community builder, explains: “Many travelers are willing to share their skills. They dedicate time for volunteer jobs, and some even pay a fortune for it. At travel2change we believe that if you combine doing what you love with something good we can have a bigger impact.“
How can you participate? If you run a nonprofit or are a local community member from anywhere in the world, submit your idea to host a meaningful travel experience that could benefit your community. Show how travelers can support you to accomplish your goals. It doesn't matter if it's a project you’re working on, a unique approach to tackle an issue that bothers you, or a "wouldn't it be cool if...", sharing your idea for an experience is the first step toward bringing it to life. As a traveler passionate about sports and social change, discover meaningful experiences you want to join, get inspired and vote for your favorite idea.
Finally, an expert jury will evaluate and award the best ideas according to feasibility, sustainability, fun factor and social impact.
More information available at http://sports.travel2change.org or contact Sina Hillger, Community Manager at
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