NEW YORK, New York, April 4, 2019 (ENS) – The New York Yankees baseball team has chosen to play for a sustainable future by signing the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
The Yankees are the first major North American sports team to sign the Framework, which aims to bring greenhouse emissions into line with the Paris Climate Agreement and inspire others to take climate action.
“The New York Yankees are proud to support the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework,” said Yankees’ Principal Owner and Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement.
“For many years, the Yankees have been implementing the type of climate action now enshrined in the Sports for Climate Action principles, and with this pledge the Yankees commit to continue to work collaboratively with our sponsors, fans and other relevant stakeholders to implement the UN’s climate action agenda in sports,” Steinbrenner said.
Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, the Yankees’ new environmental science advisor and chairman of Sport and Sustainability International, said, “This announcement by the Yankees, due to their powerful, iconic brand, has the chance to change cultural assumptions about sports and climate action.”
Hershkowitz was named by the New York Yankees as its first environmental science advisor in January, becoming the first person to hold such a title in team sports history.
“The organization, from the top down, recognizes they, the sports world more broadly, and all of humanity, are facing a global climate crisis,” Hershkowitz said. “The hope is that, if the Yankees can do this, other teams across all sports – many of which have taken similar actions – will feel emboldened to make their own commitments to the Framework.”
The Yankees join a host of prominent international organizations committed to the Framework, including the International Olympic Committee; Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA; the French Tennis Federation-Roland Garros; Paris 2024 Summer Olympics; Rugby League World Cup 2021; Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics; the UEFA Champions League; the World Surf League and Formula E, among others.
Founded in 1903, the Yankees are the most successful team in Major League Baseball history, having won 27 championships while appearing in 40 World Series.
The club plays its home games at Yankee Stadium, which is one of New York City’s most-frequented tourist destinations and home to numerous non-baseball events, including college football’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl and Major League Soccer’s New York City Football Club. As a result of their on-field accomplishments and iconic interlocking “NY” logo, the Yankees are among the most recognized brands in the world.
Launched by UN Climate Change in December 2018, the Sports for Climate Action Framework invites sports organizations to play a leading role by committing to measure, reduce and offset their emissions and use sport as a unifying force to drive climate awareness and action.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recognized the importance of having a team as prominent and influential as the Yankees endorse the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
“With their rich winning tradition, the Yankees bring a new level of leadership to global efforts to tackle climate change. When it comes to safeguarding our future, it’s time to play ball,” Guterres said.
With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame that allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa pointed to the global impact that the Yankees’ signing can have. “I applaud the New York Yankees, this legendary club with its legions of passionate fans, for taking this important step, signing on to the Sports for Climate Action Framework.”
“We need leading organizations like the Yankees to stand up for ambitious action on climate change for the good of the planet and present and future generations,” Espinosa said.
The Yankees, and all signatories to the Framework, commit to:
• Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
• Reduce overall climate impact;
• Educate for climate action;
• Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
• Advocate for climate action through communication.
The Yankees have been at the forefront of the Green-Sports movement since they moved into the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, often with Hershkowitz’ counsel as a consultant.
The Yankees’ sustainability initiatives include:
Diverting 85 percent of waste from landfill by recycling and composting, very close to the 90 percent threshold required to claim Zero-Waste status
Innovating on energy efficiency through the introduction of LED lighting and more
Measuring, reducing and offsetting the team’s greenhouse gas emissions impacts. The latter includes the distribution of thousands of life-saving, high-efficiency cookstoves to women in Africa
Other sports organizations are invited to sign up to the Sports for Climate Action principles, regardless of the current stage of their environmental endeavors. Participants work collaboratively to identify and spotlight climate solutions.