MLS Announces Expansion of Sustainability Platform at 2018 All-Star Week

MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, announced today the expansion of its Greener Goals platform, which seeks to identify ways to reduce the League’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and raise awareness about environmental issues. MLS has committed to measure, reduce and offset the League’s GHG emissions and promote healthy, sustainable communities throughout North America and areas in need throughout the rest of the world.

For the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target and the week of activities leading up to the match on August 1, MLS will be offsetting emissions associated with hotel accommodations, on-site transportation, staff, player, executive and MLS guest travel and stadium operations at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Improved Cookstoves for Rural Communities in Kenya

According to the World Health Organization, each year close to 4 million people die prematurely from illnesses including cancer, attributable to household air pollution caused by inefficient cooking stoves. Partnering with South Pole and Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI), MLS is purchasing GHG emission-reducing, life-saving cookstoves and distributing them to communities in need in Kenya. 

Cleaner, more efficient cookstoves not only improve the health and well-being of local communities, especially among women and girls who spend most of their time at home, but also reduces the deforestation associated with community scavenging for wood (90% of wood used for cooking is obtained from the nearby forests) and supports local economic development because the cookstoves are produced locally in Kenya.  

“MLS has been committed throughout the years to raising awareness for environmental issues.” said, JoAnn Neale, Chief Administrative & Social Responsibility Office. “Taking bigger steps now, we’re not only addressing our own environmental impact, but providing life-saving cookstoves that will improve overall health and reduce cancer risks. We are proud to support a project that furthers our commitment to the environment and also aligns with our long-standing commitment to fighting cancer through our Soccer Kicks Cancer program.”

According to Allen Hershkowitz, PhD, Chairman of Sport and Sustainability International, “MLS’s investment into life-saving greenhouse gas offsets in a low income African nation is advancing many of the most important Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations, including climate action, gender equality and clean energy. MLS should be congratulated for producing an ecologically responsible event that offers important lessons for all businesses to emulate.”

Initiative with Urban Offsets and Trees Atlanta

Focusing on Atlanta, the All-Star Game’s host, MLS will also be investing in environmentally valuable initiatives that provide direct benefits to the local Atlanta community. In addition to the purchase of 3rd party verified carbon offsets, in partnership with Urban Offsets and Trees Atlanta, MLS will finance the planting and maintenance of 200 trees in select areas of Atlanta. Urban trees have multiple health and environmental benefits including the reduction of pollution and smog in at risk areas (high asthmatic neighborhoods), rainwater runoff and sewage overflow, noise pollution and combatting climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

To help promote food security, MLS will donate $10,000 to Atlanta’s Historic Westside Gardens (HWG). The donation will support the Garden Angels (local resident gardeners) to install raised beds and coach an additional sixty families in the Westside to grow vegetables in their home and save money. It will also support the Westside Growers’ Market, an initiative led by residents to provide access to quality and affordable produce grown in the community and “Eat a Little Better” class with healthy cooking demonstrations.

Recycle and Win! promotion

MLS will continue to promote the importance of reducing the League’s greenhouse gas footprint with a Recycle and Win! promotion conducted in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Fans who recycle their bottles and cans at the Recycle for Good receptacles located throughout the stadium will be randomly selected to win MLS All-Star and Atlanta United prizes, including match tickets and authentic All-Star jerseys. Event signage used in and around the stadium will also be collected for recycling and diverted from local landfills.  

Mercedes-Benz Stadium was awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in November 2017 and is the first professional sports stadium in North America to achieve LEED Platinum Certification. Click here to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Stadium and its commitment to sustainability and the local Atlanta community.

The MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will feature the best of MLS hosting Serie A giants Juventus. The match will be televised on ESPN, UniMás, TSN and TVA Sports domestically as well as in more than 170 countries globally. Tickets to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game start at $35 and are available through Ticketmaster.com. A full schedule of events can be found here.

About MLS WORKS
Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. To learn more, visit www.MLSsoccer.com/mls-works or follow us on Twitter @MLSWORKS.

South Pole
South Pole is a leading provider of global sustainability financing solutions and services. For more than a decade, South Pole has worked with a wide range of public, private and civil sector organizations to accelerate the transition to a climate-smart society. The company’s expertise covers project and technology finance, data and advisory on sustainability risks and opportunities, as well as the development of environmental commodities such as carbon and renewable energy credits. South Pole has mobilized climate-finance to over 700 projects in emission reduction, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable land-use. For more information, visit southpole.com or follow the company @southpoleglobal.

Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI)
Sport and Sustainability International is a global non-profit organization helping to build the world's most inclusive network of sports federations, leagues, clubs, venues, businesses, and fans focused on addressing climate change and other pressing environmental, social and ethical issues.

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