The New York Yankees have created a position for an environmental scientist to join the team, believed to be the first of its kind in professional sports.
The appointment of industry leader Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, according to a team statement, “represents a defining moment in the team’s decades-long commitment to sustainability, and serves to deepen an existing dedication to environmentally-friendly practices and community-wide awareness.”
The team said on Tuesday that Hershkowitz will seek to guide a number of new and existing environmental initiatives for the Yankees and at Yankee Stadium, with a primary focus on the areas of energy use, waste management, water conservation and food services.
“The Yankees have always been devoted to supporting the best interests of our community, our fans and our players, and we believe effective eco-friendly initiatives are a key element of our interactions,” Yankees’ principal owner and managing general partner, Hal Steinbrenner said.
“We have made significant strides throughout the years, and as such, Yankee Stadium is proud to promote a zero-waste economy and stand as one of the most successful recycling and composting venues in all of sports.
“At present, approximately 85 percent of our waste is diverted away from landfills by an active commitment to composting and recycling, and we look forward to even more improvement under Allen’s guidance.”
In Hershkowitz previous roles, he has spearheaded sustainability programs in partnership with organizations that include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the United States Tennis Association, Major League Soccer, NASCAR and many professional and collegiate teams.
While this is the first hire of its type in professional sports, it’s certainly not the first move by sports teams to either be more environmentally friendly or get a little green.
“Being appointed as the Yankees’ environmental science advisor is a unique honor and responsibility,” Hershkowitz said.
“I applaud the team’s leadership for breaking new ground in the sports industry by being the first team to create this important position.”
In 2014, the Yankees were recognized with the Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award. To date, the team has completed projects that include high-volume recycling and composting, illustrated leadership in energy efficiency and completed the measurement, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas impacts, including the distribution of thousands of life-saving high-efficiency cookstoves in Africa.
Hershkowitz will expand existing promotions of responsible environmental stewardship among essential members of the Yankees family, including suppliers, sponsors, fans and the local community.