Sports: Leading From the Linc

The Philadelphia Eages tackle sustainability
by Einav Keet

When Christina Lurie, wife of Eagles owner Jeffrey, started chanting “Go green!” a few years ago, she wasn’t just cheering for a McNabb-to-Westbrook screen pass, but also heralding the organization’s ramped-up effort to reduce waste and energy use on and off the football field. “The Go Green campaign was founded in 2003 when Jeffrey and I saw the need for the team to dramatically lessen its impact on the environment,” says Lurie. “Go Green began with a simple recycling program, but over time it has evolved into a company-wide sustainability initiative that we know has led the way for many organizations across the country.”

Pushed along by the growing national movement toward greener practices, the Eagles quickly checked off a long list of eco-sensitive efforts. The team purchased 14 million kilowatt hours of wind power last fall to allow their entire base of operations to run on 100 percent clean energy. In addition, the Eagles offset away game-induced carbon by planting trees in the 6.5 acre Eagles Forest at Neshaminy State Park; serve up food and beverages with biodegradable cups and utensils; print on post-consumer, chlorine-free, recycled paper in all offices; reward employees for implementing green practices in their homes. “Even the paint we use to line the fields has been selected due to its eco-friendly properties,” Lurie proudly notes. Furthermore, they have partnered with like-minded, eco-friendly paper tissue company SCA to supply the Linc with 100 percent recycled soft tissue products.

The infectious campaign has made its way into the stands, too. “On game day, we’ve had a very positive response both through the use of our recycling containers in the stadium and our blue recycling bags we provide for recycling while tailgating,” Lurie says. “And more than 150 fans have bought their own trees in the Eagles Forest.”

While Go Green earned the team a Philadelphia Sustainability Award from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Lurie and crew have new goals to stretch the effort even further. “It’s one thing to purchase clean energy, but it’s another when one can say that we are using 40 percent less energy just by being more efficient,” she explains. The Eagles’ sustainable success has earned props outside of Philly, with other National Football League teams taking cues from the Eagles—and putting rivalries aside—to create the NFL’s new Green Team.

Even the Cowboys.