St. Louis Sports & Sustainability Symposium Recap

St. Louis Sports & Sustainability Symposium Recap
September 11, 2019
Posted by:
Jessica Crawford

Our St. Louis Sports & Sustainability Symposium, was on August 21, 2019 at the St. Louis Cardinal’s Busch Stadium. We convened regional professional and collegiate sports teams and venues, concessionaires, and business and public leaders to explore how the industry can make plays to advance healthier, more sustainable communities. With opening remarks from St. Louis’ first female Mayor, Lyda Krewson, and Joe Abernathy of the St. Louis Cardinals as our emcee, the Symposium incorporated topic-centric panels with networking opportunities and keynote presentations.

Over 85 attendees joined us at Busch Stadium representing 61 regional & national organizations. We had 24 speakers throughout the day from organizations such as: Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis Cardinals, Waste Management, Kansas City Chiefs, USGBC, PlanLED, Cleveland Indians, Renewable Trust, Waste Management, and many more! Click here to see our full list of speakers from the event.

The event concluded with a raffle drawing from our partners at GreenWorks, a tour of the stadium’s rooftop garden, and an evening reception in the Red Jacket Club before experiencing a Cardinals ball game.

Content Overview


Before the lunch break, Chris DeVolder presented an innovative viewpoint as the Managing Principal of HOK’s Kansas City office. Stressing a change in the common mindset of sustainability, the concept of abundance versus scarcity resonates within both the facilities where sports are played as well as the organizations impacting our communities.

John Hwang presented a case study-based keynote alongside our emcee Joe Abernathy on the recent lighting conversion that took place at Busch Stadium. PlanLED’s involvement with the project continued throughout the baseball season as they partnered with the St. Louis Cardinals to develop the SHINE STL Program. The program’s goal is to offer lighting education programs for all age groups while generating funding to freely give the gift of human-centric lighting systems to our communities.

Delivering a keynote with a focus on food waste diversion and the work taking place within Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri, Jim Gulliford provided a refreshing voice within our program as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. EPA’s Region 7. With a captivated audience looking to learn more from Jim’s perspective within the EPA, he spent time at the end of his presentation taking questions from the audience reinforcing the organization’s commitment to science-based targets.

Hosted by the Green Sports Alliance’s Executive Director, Roger McClendon, Karen Morgan of Renewable Trust joined Roger in a fireside chat on the future of electrification and the role of sports facilities & universities within the built environment. Discussing both the importance of collective leadership and innovative thinking, Karen urged the room to look at how we can find opportunities for the sports industry to lead urban transformation within our cities and communities.

Plenary Panels

The Local Leadership panel was comprised of St. Louis sustainability innovators representing the City of St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, and the local US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter. As the Sustainability Director for the City of St. Louis, Catherine Werner educated the regional attendees on the progressive work that the City has undertaken with its long history of environmental leadership and emphasis in urban ecology as exemplified through the City’s Climate Protection Initiative. Jean Ponzi’s electric presentation on the St. Louis Green Business Challenge stressed the need for more collaborative thinking and leadership, both within the Midwest and across the country.

Our Food & Beverage panel, moderated by our Executive Director, Roger McClendon, had speakers from the U.S. EPA Region 7, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Busch Stadium's Executive Chef from Delaware North, and Anheuser-Busch. Rae Miller, the Local Food Coordinator with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, introduced their Farm to Institution Feasibility Study that was completed this spring and spoke to what is needed to advance the St. Louis local food system in order to have a successful farm to institution supply chain. She also spoke on their new marking brand for local farmers with environmentally responsible practices located within 150 miles of St. Louis, Known & Grown STL. Launched in June, the program is currently enrolling new farmers. The team had identified marketing support as one of the top needs of farmers in the region in order to be successful and grow their business, as discussed in the aforementioned Feasibility Study. As a group, the panel discussed topics such as supply chain considerations that go all the way back to the farmer, circular packaging and how to reduce packaging waste, and how partnerships with food banks are mitigating food waste.

Thank you to the St. Louis Cardinals and Delaware North for being our host sponsors! And thank you to all our attendees, Community Partners, and Busch Stadium staff for making this event a huge success.