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Loons go green with new sustainability goals

Great Lakes LoonsThe Great Lakes Loons (Low Class A; Midwest League) are partnering with Dow Chemical Company and Dow Corning Corporation to reduce total energy use, water use and waste at Dow Diamond by 50 percent by the year 2020.

Over the last several months, Loons organizational leaders have spent time learning from corporate sustainability leaders at both Dow and Dow Corning. From those conversations, the Loons have defined sustainability as the long-term maintenance of organizational well-being, with a concentration in three core areas: people, planet and prosperity.

“We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from world class, global sustainability leaders at both Dow and Dow Corning,” said Loons President and General Manager Paul Barbeau. “We are striving to take their best practices and apply them to our regional organization. Our first take away from these discussions was that sustainability is not exclusively about environmental initiatives. Rather, sustainability is about overall organizational health and wise use of resources.

“All three facets of sustainability have been a part of the Loons operation from the beginning, through the mission and goals of the Michigan Baseball Foundation. These goals, which include economic development and charitable efforts, focus mostly on people and prosperity initiatives. We believe that the extended focus on planet initiatives will enhance our sustainability efforts, which is why we have set this initial goal of 50% reduction.”

Dow Diamond currently uses solar panels to generate renewable energy, facilitates a recycling program to cut down waste, and uses water-free urinals to reduce water use, among other resource-saving practices. In 2012, the Loons initiated new practices in sustainability by donating unused concessions food and having Consumers Energy perform a building audit.  While these steps help towards the goal, the Loons are seeking to do more.

To help guide efforts and share best practices, the team formed the Loons Environmental Advisory Panel (LEAP).  The panel, consisting of representatives from seven local businesses with an eye for environmental strategies, is working with the Loons to set more goals, suggest tactics and evaluate progress.

In addition, the Great Lakes Loons and Dow Diamond have joined with the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Seattle with a mission of helping sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. The Loons will be only the second Minor League Baseball team in the alliance, and will join a membership that includes eco-innovators such as the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Eagles.

As part of the effort, the Loons will regularly report to fans and the community with updates on actions and progress towards the 2020 goals. The Loons will communicate across several platforms including, ESPN 100.9-FM, social media, and in-game announcements at Dow Diamond during Loons games.


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