Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

Earth Day More Relevant Than Ever – As Is Sustainable Sponsorship

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

IMG_0974Yesterday, I spent the day at the SF Giants game, as BSS was again responsible for coordinating a Community Outreach day on behalf of our client PG&E. It was a beautiful, warm day in San Francisco that made it easy to note how dramatically our climate has changed over the past few decades. On Earth Day, it’s important to note how much there is to do to generate awareness and remind consumers to give their business to companies that support the environment and commit to sustainability.

Given the “green fatigue” that has developed in some quarters of the marketplace, we must remember that the sustainability movement is still advancing, with eco-friendly initiatives now commonplace and almost routine. One only needs to follow news coming from industry newsletters like SmartBrief on Sustainability, CSRwire, or Joel Makower’s blog GreenBiz to see daily reports of actions being taken by corporations to address environmental and bottom line interests through green policies.

While walking through the ballpark on a Green Ballpark Tour, I was struck by how much the Giants and their partners – most notably PG&E – do to achieve lofty sustainability goals. The Giants have won MLB’s Green Glove Award as the greenest franchise five years running now – going back to when PG&E first partnered with them to place solar on the ballpark and to obtain LEED Silver status, which they received in 2010. Hearing head groundskeeper Greg Elliot talk about the creative ways they conserve water and use organic products and natural landscaping techniques for a more conscious approach to field maintenance, one is struck by how well the greening of sports is progressing.

Still, I realized how the green messaging we heard on the tour must sound like background noise to many people, and wonder how much it really feels relevant to the average person. It seems to me that sustainability messaging is more important than ever, and that those of us in the communications space must continue to find new ways to connect with people directly in a language that will reach them.  Using sports, entertainment and other sponsorship-friendly platforms to communicate relevant sustainability messaging remains an extremely viable and powerful tool for corporations and NGOs to reach diverse audiences with both their own messaging and consumer calls-to-action. We have to keep being more creative and effective, and not give up our efforts to grab the audience’s attention.

As our work at BSS has evolved the past couple of years, we have spent a great deal of time on civic projects with inherent green strands. While not leading with sustainability messages, these projects and the organizations driving them have shown how sustainability can be a natural feature of any major event, community project or new building. We’ll review some of these projects in the days ahead and suggest ways that new properties can be thinking of sustainability through strategic partnerships of many varieties, including sponsorship.

Sustainable sponsorship is in our future to stay. Let us know how we can help your organization engage in this vital and challenging practice – just one of many ways BSS can help organizations enhance their bottom line and community connection through sponsorship and strategic partnership.


SF Giants Attain LEED Silver Certification

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Earth Day turned 40 last week, and celebrations abounded throughout the world with thousands of events in over 180 countries. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has presented an opportunity for individuals, organizations, governments and corporations to take a good hard look at what we are each doing to help resolve the global environmental challenges that confront us.

Our client PG&E has taken a strong interest in participating in partnerships that highlight the importance of environmental action. One such partnership is with the San Francisco Giants, a fully integrated major sponsorship managed by our company for PG&E. In the past few years, PG&E has helped the Giants to install the first solar panels in Major League Baseball. PG&E has also helped the Giants to install energy efficient lighting at the ballpark, and has supported the opening of two energy efficient Green Garlic Fries concession stands. 

To coincide with Earth Day celebrations, the Giants announced last week that AT&T Park has received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Silver Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). AT&T Park is the first Major League ballpark to receive this honor for an existing building.

This achievement speaks to the Giants’ commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and fighting climate change. In addition, it underlines the importance of PG&E’s creative sustainable partnership with the team.  By supporting its partner in going solar and reducing its energy use, PG&E helps the Giants to not only reduce the carbon footprint of AT&T Park, but also helps to make an impact on each and every Giants fan that passes through the ballpark and notices the energy innovations.

 When corporations and cultural institutions demonstrate their commitment to confronting the environmental challenges we all face, everyone benefits. We applaud the Giants for stepping up to that responsibility with the help of PG&E, and congratulate them for achieving the significant honor of LEED Silver Certification for AT&T Park.

Water Conservation and Corporate Responsibility

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

It seems that water is on everyone’s mind lately.  The UN’s 18th annual World Water Day was celebrated on March 22nd with the motto “Clean Water for a Healthy World.”  National Geographic recently published their April 2010 issue, entitled simply “Water.”  Businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations and individuals are looking closely at the management of this vital resource as we realize how profoundly it affects every aspect of human society.

And what better time than now to pay attention?  To quote Barbara Kingsolver in her article “Water is Life” for National Geographic, “We’ve lately raised the Earth’s average temperature by .74°C (1.3°F), a number that sounds inconsequential.  But these words do not: flood, drought, hurricane, rising sea levels, bursting levees.  Water is the visible face of climate and, therefore, climate change.”

The truth is that we should be paying closer attention than ever to this most precious of natural resources.  Though the majority of the earth is covered with water, only 2.5% is freshwater, and less than half of the freshwater is easily accessible.  Human water use has grown at an alarming rate over the past century.  The United Nations estimates that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed regions by the year 2025 due to use, growth and climate change.  We need to learn, as a society and as individuals, how to use our water efficiently through better conservation, management and distribution.

Many major corporations used World Water Day this year as a springboard to launch powerful new initiatives aimed at reducing water consumption, improving water management, and providing safe access to clean water for those who need it most. 

  • Kraft Foods’ Crystal Light partnered with the Nature Conservancy to raise awareness about the importance of our freshwater sources, donating 100 percent of net profits from Crystal Light  products sold on March 22 (up to $750,000).
  • PepsiCo announced a goal to provide safe water access to three million people in developing companies by 2015.  As well, they have also set a goal of providing access to safe water to one million people by the end of 2010.  The company also announced that it would continue to work toward positive water balance in water-distressed areas.
  • Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola announced an expansion of its global partnership with the USAID with a joint investment of $12.7 million.  This investment supports new programs throughout sub-Saharan Africa with four objectives: watershed management, water supply and sanitation, hygiene promotion, and productive water use.
  • Nestle Waters announced that it would continue to provide water education to children in order to raise awareness about water resource management, hydration and health, and environmental stewardship.
  • Dole introduced a new packing process aimed at major reduction of water use.  
  • Dow, touting itself as “a global advocate for clean, drinkable water,” will continue its partnership with International Aid to provide water purification systems for 2 million people around the world, including those in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.   
  • Intel has vowed to take a closer look at its own water practices, provide transparency about its water use, and preserve water quality in operation areas.

These are positive steps forward from some of the largest corporate players in the world.  “We are living in a time when global companies are rising up to become global citizens,” says Amir Dossal of the UN Office for Partnerships.  Major companies are beginning to understand that consumers want them to act responsibly on these issues.  As individuals we can take steps at home to reduce our own water consumption, but we must also continue to expect companies to provide products that have been produced and transported using the best water management, efficiency and conservation practices possible.   The more that corporations understand how important these issues are to their customers, the more they will invest in the kinds of practices that will ultimately shape a positive future for our planet and for humankind.  

To learn more about what you can do to manage water use and to help address the global water issues, check out these resources:

Save Our Water

Water- Use it Wisely.

Water for People

Global Water Challenge

WorldAffairs 2010 and Climate Leadership

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

WorldAffairs 2010 logoI recently attended the annual conference of the World Affairs Council, WorldAffairs 2010.  During the session on Environment and Climate Change, I witnessed some very compelling presentations, panels and discussions on climate change and our new energy future.  The issue is growing in terms of complexity and severity, with world water resources taking a hit as a result and a whole new (but predicted) set of challenges arising.  Clearly immediate action is needed and it does not help that we still have to deal with the climate change-denying faction of the public.  Climate change is real, and the sooner we focus on developing solutions the better for humanity.  This is not a movie, not a political issue, but truly a matter of survival and long-term economic viability.  At Bartram Sponsorship Strategies, we remain as committed as ever to doing our part by developing partnerships that drive and support change while educating the public about actions they can take to make an impact.

Visit the World Affairs Council website for more information, and be sure to check out via webcast the panel “Post Copenhagen: Establishing a Global Climate Regime?” where speakers included Nancy McFadden, Senior Vice President for PG&E Corporation; Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations; and Linda Adams of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  PG&E is certainly a target for criticism, but they are the leading utility in the country on the issue of climate change, strongly supporting AB 32 and federal cap-and-trade legislation.  Nancy is a dynamic speaker and made the most compelling case at the conference  for businesses to pay attention to this global issue.  Anyway, PG&E is to be applauded for their leadership on climate change – we need all other utilities to follow their lead.

The Power of Partnership

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I recently attended a meeting of “Climate Bay Area”, a coming together of dozens of government agencies, non-profits and specialists, called together by local climate change experts to address the regional approach to addressing climate change and its long-term effects.  The meeting was highly inspirational given the great ideas and programs highlighted and the very positive energy being brought forth by so many civic leaders.

On the other hand, the meeting brought to life the extreme challenge we face with this issue.  The wide range of organizations represented are all working on various programs to address environmental issues, though there is no clear connection between most of them, resulting in inefficiencies, overlap and more of a shotgun approach to solving this challenge.  During a breakout session, each of the ten or so tables of participants was asked to identify the biggest needs and possible solutions to the issue at hand.  At our table, it quickly became clear that coordination and collaboration are sorely lacking and greatly desired.   So many municipalities and government agencies are having to do more with less, and need to find ways to combine efforts to learn from one another and to maximize impact.

Thus, what is really needed, now more than ever, is partnership.  There is power in partnership – two organizations working together can accomplish much more than they can individually, and multiple organizations collaborating can do exponentially more.  Structure and facilitation is needed and organizing takes time – but without some form of formal collaboration, the inefficiencies and lack of focus will at best waste a lot of time and money and, at worst, be the undoing of the movement.

And, of course, the same type of coordination is needed to address other major issues facing humanity – hunger, poverty, health care, water – all call for collaboration and formal partnership, and government cannot always step in and play that connecting role.  While a mass amount of conscious and consistent individual acts will be required to move the needle on climate change and other major global challenges, partnership among organizations actually charged with creating necessary change needs to accelerate.

So where does sponsorship come into play?  When developed and implemented effectively, major sponsorships are a form of partnership as each participant gives and gets according to the needs and capabilities of their organization.  Sponsorships can help drive the partnership-oriented organizations that are needed to address the monumental challenges we face, and I believe that we will increasingly see practices like sponsorship and strategic alliance facilitation as being prominent drivers to move the needle in the right direction.  For people working in the sponsorship profession and related lines of work, this provides a great opportunity to apply what you do to help address major issues on both a global and community level, in whatever form possible.  In coming blogs, I’ll explain how we are trying to do so here, from our humble headquarters in Novato, California.  Wishing you peace for the holidays – Kevin