Phoenix Final Four Maps Out Sustainability Goals and Initiatives

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By Bret Scroggins

The 2017 Phoenix Final Four host committee is challenging themselves to make the events the most sustainable to date. The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC) has assembled a team of sustainability experts to work with the NCAA to leave a lasting impact and legacy following the Final Four. This team will be tasked with coordinating projects such as Fan Fest and Music Fest in Downtown Phoenix to ensure they are environmentally friendly events that leave little footprint.

The PLOC will strive to create a plan to improve transportation methods, energy efficiency, water quality, reduced carbon output, recycling, and waste diversion during the games and events. A scorecard and playbook will be created to showcase the progressive change and legacy the games have left in the state of Arizona. The playbook will highlight the Phoenix Final Four’s accomplishments and suggest areas of improvement that will then be passed along to future Final Four committees to further advance sustainability initiatives with the college basketball tournament.

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Transportation:

  • A partnership with Grid Bikes bike share program to encourage visitors and locals to reduce fossil fuel use during the events.
  • Bike valets placed throughout the Final Four events to help facilitate and encourage attendees to bike to the events.
  • Designated RideShare pickup and drop off locations at all events.
  • No Idle Zones at events to reduce greenhouse gasses and promote air quality.

Waste and Materials Management:

  • Partnering with the NCAA to host “Zero Waste” Final Four Events. Aim for more than 90 percent waste diversion at the Final Four events, including Fan Fest and Music Fest.
  • Hosting the LG Electronic Waste Drive to collect and recycle all electronic devices.
  • Scrim diversion and banner repurposing to ensure that more than 90 percent of waste is being reused or recycled from the events.

Energy and Water:

  • Partnering with the NCAA to outfit low income and Section 8 housing with energy efficient products.
  • Collaborating with the Northern Arizona Forest Fund and SRP to offset water and watershed impact locally in Arizona.
  • Providing photo booths at all Final Four events that educate fans and utilize each pledge to restore 1,000 gallons of water.
Phoenix’s historic Harmon Park will be refurbished as an NCAA Legacy Restoration. The 2017 Final Four’s impact will last long after the event.
Phoenix’s historic Harmon Park will be refurbished as an NCAA Legacy Restoration. The 2017 Final Four’s impact will last long after the event.

Scorecard and Playbook:

  • Frame the playbook off of CRS/GRI/GSA [Certified Residential Specialist/Graduate Realtor Institute/General Services Administration] guidelines.
  • Track and showcase goals throughout the events with real time measurements and updates.
  • Gold or Evergreen Certification through the Council for Responsible Sport.
  • Highlight the 2017 Phoenix Final Four’s accomplishments and suggestions to be passed to future Final Four events.

The NCAA Final Four events will take place April 1-3. For more information on the Final Four’s green initiatives and to attend the events, visit phoenixfinalfour.com.

Bret Scroggins is a student at Arizona State University studying Business: Sports and Media Studies. He is an advocate of utilizing the power of sports to change and promote sustainable behaviors within the community.

Photos courtesy of the NCAA.

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