Four Greenest Teams in Sport

Released by 100 Percent Sport.

By Lew Blaustein

A powerhouse of American collegiate (aka university) sports from the country’s heartland. The team trying to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain for the first time. One of the most anonymous teams in the NBA. And a fifth division English football team. What could these four seemingly unrelated sports organizations have in common? THE Ohio State University Buckeyes, Land Rover BAR, the Sacramento Kings and Forest Green Rovers are four of the greenest teams on the planet. We want to share the reasons why these squads have earned that designation and why other teams need not be green with envy. Rather, they should emulate the Core (Green) Four, and perhaps beat them at the green-sports game.


Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history, winning medals at five consecutive Olympics (1996 to 2012), including gold at the last four; he also played a key part in Oracle Team USA’s stirring comeback to capture the 2013 America’s Cup.

While his past is certainly legendary, it is two aspects of the future that animate Ainslie’s life these days. Number one is his role as skipper of Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), Britain’s entry in the 35th America’s Cup, to be contested in Bermuda next May-June. The challenge isn’t that big—it’s only about bringing the Cup to the UK for the first time ever.

That there’s room for anything else on Ainslie’s plate these days is astounding, but his will to win is matched with the need to do so with purpose — and his purpose is to use his platform at the top of the sailing world to advocate for clean oceans, the climate change fight and to bring sustainability to the rest of the sailing world.

Ainslie’s road to sustainability leader was kickstarted after the 2013 America’s Cup when he met Wendy Schmidt of the 11th Hour Project, parent of 11th Hour Racing, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy oceans through world-class sailing teams. According to Ainslie, “Wendy instilled in me the responsibility someone like myself in sport has to [build a team] with sustainability as a core principle, a core belief.”

11th Hour Racing soon became Land Rover BAR’s exclusive sustainability partner and, from that point on, the team’s environmental efforts have been full speed ahead. A partial list of Land Rover BAR’s sustainability initiatives includes:

  • Hiring a sustainability manager, Susie Tomson, to coordinate all greening efforts, including the implementation of aggressive sustainability standards, such as eliminating single-use plastics as a way to promote the elimination of plastic ocean waste.
  • Building its home base in Portsmouth has achieved BREEAM Excellent (the British equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED) status. Per Ainslie, “Probably the neatest thing about the base is the wrap — it makes it look pretty cool and it also helps the building retain heat in the winter and keep cooler in summer. And the sustainability of the base helps show our supporters, our partners, our competitors and also the media — who’ve been quite impressed — that we’re in this for the long haul.”
  • Using 100% renewable electricity at the base
  • Employing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to make its operations as environmentally friendly and smart as possible. It does so by determining how best to use, reuse and dispose of materials from design to end-of-life.
  • Seeking innovative ways to reduce fuel consumption,
  • Engaging with local communities and younger generations on programs that promote biodiversity
  • Meatless Mondays for the team and staff
  • Drafted a sustainability charter for the other America’s Cup contestants to adopt
Full list here.

Published by: 100 Percent Sport, January 10, 2017.