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Portland Hosts Inaugural Green Sports Alliance Summit



The three-day summit provided a common ground for sports and sustainability executives to collaborate

The city of Portland welcomed sports and sustainability executives from across the country earlier this month for the inaugural Green Sports Alliance Summit. The three-day event, hosted by the Green Sports Alliance (GSA), utilized an array of stories, case studies, lectures, panels, breakout groups and site visits to demonstrate and share the best sustainability practices with industry leaders.

The Trail Blazers, widely considered as a leader in sustainability among professional sports franchises, had team representatives speaking throughout the summit, including President Larry Miller, who joined Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson for opening night at Gerding Theater.  

“With the enthusiasm and connection that people have for sports, we are provided with an excellent platform to drive home important issues around sustainability,” said Miller. “The position that the city of Portland has in sustainability makes it clear that the Trail Blazers need to be in the forefront when it comes to sports teams.”  

“Sports have a way to draw different groups of people together like nothing else,” added Mayor Adams. “Using sports to communicate sustainability is the missing piece in our effort to have everyone adopt a sustainable lifestyle.”  

The Trail Blazers are one of six founding members of the GSA, which launched in March. The rapidly expanding organization now boasts more than 45 sports teams, venues and leagues. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Lacrosse League (NLL) recently joined, as did one of the largest operators of arenas and stadiums in the world, AEG.

“The sports industry represents a vast opportunity to make meaningful strides towards environmental responsibility and sustainability,” said GSA Executive Director Martin Tull. “We look forward to expanding the Alliance to include teams and venues across North America so that we can help each other reduce our environmental footprint and create positive change in our communities.”  

The GSA was conceived of and initiated by Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen and members of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the fall of 2009. Based in the Pacific Northwest, other founding members include Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners, the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Seattle Storm and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC.  

The majority of the summit’s breakout groups and panel discussions were held at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland. Trail Blazers speakers included: Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah, Vice President of Communications and Community Relations Traci Rose, Director of Community Outreach Ian Jaquiss and Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships Steve Scott.
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