MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, announced today the launch of the 5th Annual Greener Goals Week of Service. Returning in-person for the first time since 2019, League-wide efforts will continue through Earth Day weekend, raising awareness about environmental issues in the soccer community.
Committed to taking steps to address its environmental impact and raise awareness of sustainability initiatives within local communities, MLS continues to explore opportunities to reduce non-renewable energy use, as well as measure and help to offset a portion of emissions associated with League and Club travel including airfare, accommodations and ground transportation for the regular MLS season, playoffs, and MLS Cup. MLS is investing in carbon credits that help offset harmful CO2 emissions and aim to create tangible high value conservation benefits in both domestic and international communities.
Since 2018, MLS has helped offset more than 28,000 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of 42,000 flights from San Jose to Montreal or 22,500 road trips from Vancouver to Miami, according to the League’s carbon credit partner South Pole. By partnering with South Pole and Sport and Sustainability International, the League has measured and helped to offset a portion of MLS CO2 emissions by investing high-quality carbon credits. These carbon credits have helped offset more than 1,250,000 tons of CO2 emissions on average each year since 2018. Credits were derived from the distribution of more than 4,400 emissions-reducing cookstoves throughout communities in Kenya and Zambia and the Envira Tropical Forest Conservation project in Brazil's Amazon basin which protects 39,300 hectares of tropical forests from logging and encroaching cattle ranches.
MLS has also joined forces with One Tree Planted to support reforestation projects. As part of the partnership, 27,000 trees have been planted throughout North America since 2021. Additionally, through April 24, 2022, One Tree Planted and MLS will team up to plant one tree for each fan tweet that tags @MLSWorks and includes the hashtag #GreenerGoals, up to 1,000 trees per MLS club and up to 28,000 trees total.
Throughout Greener Goals Week of Service, office staff from all 28 MLS clubs and the League will volunteer their time and give back to conduct environmentally friendly projects in partnership with local charitable organizations.
Crew-driven Greener Goals initiatives include:
- On Wednesday, April 20, Columbus Crew will team up with Rumpke, Local Matters, Columbus Recreation and Parks as well as supporters and local community members to perform a park and garden cleanup at Blackburn Community Center. The event will feature other community organizations on-site, including Columbus Division of Police, which will bring its Therapy K-9 Unit and Mounted Unit, as well as a medical van, to conduct health screenings, OBGYN services and vaccinations. Representatives from Blackburn Community Center, Rumpke, Local Matters and Columbus Recreation and Parks will all be in attendance to address the volunteers. As part of this community celebration, pizza will be served and Crew mascots Crew Cat and SC will be present as kids play in the Blackburn mini-pitch that the Club installed in 2020.
League-driven Greener Goals initiatives include:
- Fans can also support the League’s reforestation efforts. For every fan tweet that tags @MLSWORKS and #GreenerGoals, MLS and One Tree Planted will plant a tree in national forests across the United States and Canada, planting up to 28,000 trees total and 1,000 trees for each MLS community where our matches are played. This will mark the reforestation of up to 69 acres of land, which can provide benefits such as cleaner air, water, stabilized soils, and improved biodiversity.
- MLS will also invest carbon credits in partnership with South Pole to support the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority in northeast Tennessee. Doe Mountain is one of the largest remaining areas of privately-owned forest in the Southern Blue Ridge region, at over 3,400 hectares. Through more sustainable and efficient forestry techniques, the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority helps steward the land, maintaining a healthy balance of recreation-based ecotourism by regulating public access to the area. Improved forestry management practices enable the Doe Mountain forests to continue storing carbon and help preserve the region’s freshwater ecosystems, which act as natural water filters and support an abundance of plant and animal species. Habitats within the region are home to 40 rare, threatened, and endangered plants, and animal species. They also maintain health populations of deer, turkey and black bears.
- The combined impact of the League’s 2022 One Tree Planted partnership and carbon credits supporting the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority (measured over a 20-year period) is the equivalent to the average automotive vehicle driving nearly 5.8 million miles, according to South Pole.
- MLS is also collaborating with adidas to help give your gear a future. Through the adidas Give Back program, fans can receive a gift certificate/code for adidas stores and adidas.com by donating gently used clothes and shoes (from any brand) that can then be resold or reused, helping to keep gear in play and keep plastic waste out of landfills. In-stadium activations will take place in select MLS markets
- The League continues to explore ways to measure its environmental impact at MLS stadiums and to engage fans and provide resources for clubs to identify opportunities to reduce single use plastics and promote recycling and composting.
- MLS is also partnering with the Green Sports Alliance to launch its Play to Zero campaign to measure environmental impact at stadiums in collaboration with our clubs. The new sustainability tool will help shed light on the environmental impacts made of MLS business and provide MLS teams and venues the opportunity to benchmark environmental performances where matches are played and inform future programs aimed at reducing environmental impacts of the sport of soccer.