Sustainability Comes to LA’s Staples Center

AEG unveiled its’ first ever Environmental Sustainability Report, coinciding with America Recycles Day.  AEG 1EARTH is AEG’s commitment to the environment, conducting their business with the understanding that we are all part of 1EARTH.

Who is AEG?  It may not sound like a familiar name, AEG is a company that is at the unique intersection of facilities management, live entertainment and sports management. The company is quickly becoming a leader in sustainability.

In Los Angeles, the company owns and operates the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home of the basketball teams LA Lakers and LA Clippers.  It is also home to hockey’s LA Kings.  AEG owns and operates L.A. Live, an entertainment district across the street from the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

At first this, may not seem like a company remotely associated with sustainability.  However, the AEG 1EARTH mission is to “sustain a culture of environmental stewardship–reducing and recycling waste, fighting global warming, and educating our guests and employees.”  Education about environmental stewardship is a key point.

With tens of thousands attending sporting and entertainment events, AEG is well positioned to inspire and influence our culture.  One of AEG’s goals is to have 100 percent of its facilities and venues include environmental messaging and information by 2020. What better place to inspire and influence sustainable change than embedding it in the places we frequent for entertainment and sports?

Sustainability reporting has become more and more commonplace in other industries that produce tangible objects, namely electronics and manufacturing.  However, the AEG sustainability report is leading the way in the sports, facility management, and live entertainment industries.  AEG’s sustainability report covers the broad array of impacts and strategies, including energy and climate, water, purchasing, and recycling and waste.

Jennifer Regan, Manager of Sustainability Programs (not to mention editor of the sustainability report) suggests “It’s not about having a recycling bin next to every trash can, it’s about having a trash can next to every recycling bin.  That way people won’t use recycling bins for trash.”  Recycling is the stuff that is visible to the guests.  It requires an active role for guests to participate.   But it is only one important piece of the sustainability puzzle. There is much that goes on that is invisible from ground level.

For instance, restaurants at the L.A. Live campus compost their food scraps, averting much food waste from going to the landfill.  If we take a bird’s eye view of the L.A. Live campus, we can see solar panels on top of Staples Center and Nokia Theatre, providing a portion of energy needed to run the facilities.  Energy Efficiency is also key, with every single light bulb at L.A. Live being LED.

It’s not just in Los Angeles that the company is doing sustainability, but worldwide.  Which is better for the environment, a biodegradable cup or a reusable cup?  The interesting thing about AEG is that they are doing a real life case study on both.  One venue in Germany, the O2 World Hamburg is using biodegradable cups.  Another venue O2 World in Berlin is using the CupConcept program, where guests put down a deposit for a cup.  I wonder which one will provide the best cost and best environmental benefits?

It is interesting to note other companies such as Walmart, GE, and Nike, among others, not only move towards sustainability, but is an innovator and leader in their respective industries.  With AEG’s first sustainability report, the company is a raising the bar for sustainability in the sports and live entertainment world.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

One response

  1. Educating guests and employees about the importance of sustainability is a great starting point for AEG. The sports, facility management, and live entertainment industries have not been associated with sustainability in the past, however AEG has been leading the way with its initiatives. Emphasizing recycling bins rather than putting everything into a trash can will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and hopefully inspire a push for an environmentally conscious industry.

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