ALEC BALDWIN JOINS BILLIE JEAN KING TO SERVE AS SPOKESPEOPLE AS
USTA EXPANDS ITS GREEN INITIATIVES AT 2009 US OPEN
Venus Williams Designs 100% Organic Cotton T-Shirt
Natural Resources Defense Council Partners As Strategic Advisor On All Initiatives
FLUSHING, N.Y., August 29, 2009 -- The USTA announced today an expansion of its environmental initiatives at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, which annually hosts more than 700,000 fans during the two weeks of the event. Emmy-award winning actor Alec Baldwin will join the tennis facility’s namesake, Billie Jean King, as spokespeople for the USTA’s awareness campaign to encourage US Open fans and others to help preserve the environment.
As it did in 2008, the USTA will continue to work with top environmental consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and top environmental agency, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to develop ongoing initiatives to further reduce the US Open’s carbon footprint and overall ecological impact.
Expanded 2009 initiatives will include a site-wide recycling effort placing more than 500 recycling receptacles across the 42 acres of the National Tennis Center, and an exclusive organic cotton t-shirt designed by two-time US Open champion Venus Williams to be sold during the tournament. Additionally, there is a pilot composting program being launched in two of the on-site kitchens, and all printed materials, including the tickets and the US Open Daily Drawsheets, will be printed on paper consisting of post-consumer waste.
“The USTA remains committed to ensuring that the world’s highest annually attended event has as little environmental impact as possible without sacrificing the unique attributes that make the US Open the premier tennis event in the world,” said Lucy Garvin, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “These expanded initiatives will help keep the USTA, the US Open and tennis fans worldwide at the forefront of the global effort to preserve the environment.”
“Sports and recreation and the environment go hand in hand,” said Baldwin, a long-time environmental activist. “I love the idea of using this incredible sporting event as a conduit to shed light on the importance of going green and to let tennis fans know what they can do at home to help keep our planet healthy.”
Green Initiatives at the 2009 US Open
· Alec Baldwin and Billie Jean King will serve as spokespeople for the awareness campaign to promote environmental consciousness among US Open fans, players, vendors, partners and sponsors.
· Partnering with NRDC to distribute 50,000 wallet-cards containing Eco-Tips on how to be more environmentally friendly.
· Public Service Announcements featuring Billie Jean King, Venus Williams and Bob and Mike Bryan will be played on video boards and USOpen.org.
· Eco-Tips will be promoted in the US Open program, the Daily Drawsheet, USOpen.org/USTA.com and video board messaging.
· Expansion of the consumer waste recycling program to cover 100% of the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
· Following the US Open, approximately 20,000 Wilson tennis ball cans will be recycled. The 60,000 Wilson tennis balls used during the US Open will be reused for NTC programming and then donated to community/youth programs.
· Constellation Energy, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s electricity supplier, will supply Green-e Certified wind Renewable Energy Certificates to match the electricity consumption during the 2009 US Open.
· IBM, which powers USOpen.org, will continue to utilize just six servers, down from 60 in 2008. Their energy consumption has been reduced by 40% and their cooling demand reduced by 48%.
· Lexus, the “Official Vehicle of the US Open,” will provide player transportation services during the event with hybrid vehicles comprising 52% of the overall fleet, up from 20% in 2008.
· Promoting mass-transit by launching a MetroCard Fan Giveaway in partnership with NRDC. Each day during the two-week event, 125 fans will win a $4.50 MetroCard to encourage the use of public transportation to and from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
· The 2.4 million napkins used by US Open patrons in the general concession area during the tournament are comprised of 90% post-consumer waste, while Grey Goose will dispense napkins comprised of 100% recycled content.
· The Daily Drawsheet and US Open marketing material are printed on paper comprised of 30% post-consumer waste and printed by companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council -- guaranteeing environmentally responsible forest management.
· US Open tickets are printed on paper comprised of 30% post-consumer waste, and parking books, parking visors and coupon books are printed on paper comprised of 10-15% post-consumer waste.
· 100% of paper towel dispensers were replaced with motion-sensor dispensers and all paper towels will be comprised of 40% post-consumer waste.
US Open Merchandise
· Venus Williams designed one of the 100% organic cotton t-shirts featured as part of the overall US Open Collection. Additionally, the collection will feature hats comprised of 50% post-consumer waste -- each hat will contain the equivalent of two one-liter plastic bottles.
· A portion of the proceeds from the US Open organic collection will be donated to Unisphere, Inc., the non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the US Open.
· US Open merchandise stores will feature a souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple uses with a “recycle and reuse” message printed on the bottom. In addition, a reusable tote bag will be available for $5.
“I’m extremely proud of the work we have accomplished in the last year to green the US Open and that each year, we are improving upon and expanding the environmental initiatives,” said Billie Jean King, tennis legend and co-founder of GreenSlam. “The US Open will continue to serve as the model for other sporting events to follow as we collectively work towards a greener approach in all sports.”
In 2007, Billie Jean King founded and launched GreenSlam, an environmental initiative for the sports industry aimed at inspiring sports venues, promoters and manufacturers to make positive environmental impacts. For more information, go to www.greenslam.net.
“Using the grand stage of the US Open, the USTA is making a powerful statement to millions of tennis fans worldwide about the importance it places on environmental protection,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director, NRDC. “And they are also using their influence behind the scenes by sending a strong signal to the marketplace that they want to be more sustainable – and that they want their vendors to do the same. We’re pleased to see the ripple effect this is already having throughout their supply chain.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Beijing. For more information on how to green an event or organization, go to www.nrdc.org.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with 730,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and through tennis, helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics, build character and strive for excellence. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.