Seattle Sounders FC is becoming a carbon neutral club, meaning it will strive to ensure its operations make no net contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide. The club’s carbon neutral pledge is effective for 2019 and beyond.
To begin its path to carbon neutrality, the club worked with Seattle-based Sustainable Business Consulting to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions and develop plans to reduce its impacts where possible. For sources unable to be eliminated – such as team travel for matches, scouting and other business – Sounders FC is offsetting the club’s emissions through the Evergreen Carbon Capture (ECC) program of Forterra, a nonprofit that works for regional sustainability. Using the club’s contribution to ECC, Forterra and its partner DIRT Corps are joining with the team and its fans to plant hundreds of trees in a part of the region that needs added tree cover. This not only reduces carbon dioxide, but enhances air and water quality.
“We’re incredibly excited to announce that our club is officially carbon neutral,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “The Sounders have always been committed to investing in our community, and that includes recognizing the immense responsibility we have as environmental stewards. Sustainability is a key pillar of our club and this new step is a logical extension of the efforts we have already had in place. We were pleased to work with Sustainable Business Consulting and Forterra in achieving carbon neutrality and look forward to continuing our partnership going forward.”
In calculating its footprint, Sounders FC worked to be as inclusive as possible, including all of the following emission sources:
- Pioneer Square business office operations, including energy, waste, paper, shipping, recycling and employee commuting
- Starfire office operations, including all emissions associated with operating the training facility for Sounders FC’s First Team, Tacoma Defiance and Sounders FC Academy
- Air travel for First Team
- Business travel and scouting
- Emissions generated by fans traveling to and from matches
- Energy use and waste from home games at CenturyLink Field
In collaboration with Sustainable Business Consulting, the club first developed plans to reduce emissions where possible. After taking those steps, it looked for ways to mitigate the emission sources that remained, allowing Sounders FC to lower its climate impact beyond what can currently be achieved through internal efforts. By working with Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program, the Rave Green are able to not only directly impact the Puget Sound region by reducing carbon pollution and improving air and water quality, but to support a local non-profit and the local economy while creating meaningful hands-on projects in which the team and its staff, fans and partners can all participate.
To kick off the offset program, Sounders FC, SBC, Forterra and DIRT Corps are hosting a tree-planting event on Sunday, February 24 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. PT. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, Sounders FC and Tacoma Defiance players will work alongside volunteers and representatives of Forterra and DIRT Corps to plant 370 Douglas fir, grand fir, western red cedar and western hemlock trees.
The plot, chosen expressly for Sounders FC, is located at Point Rediscovery on Hamm Creek in Burien, WA. Hamm Creek is one of just two salmon-spawning creeks along the Duwamish River, and Point Rediscovery is an especially important part of the creek, intersecting with the estuary and providing habitat where juvenile salmon can feast and fatten before making their way to Puget Sound. Beside removing carbon dioxide and improving air quality, planting trees at Point Rediscovery will create shade, moderating rising water temperatures. The trees will also filter contaminants, improving water quality for fish and other wildlife.
Working on Hamm Creek has historical significance, as well. It was where restoration of the Duwamish River ecosystem got its start, driven famously by John Beal, a former Marine traumatized by the conflict in Vietnam. After returning, he poured his energies into caring for this forgotten and forsaken slice of nature. His efforts led to honors including a special commendation from the United States Senate in 2003. Additionally, the location serves a RAVE Foundation target community.
Image courtesy Seattle Sounders FC.