As a new season gets underway, Fenway Park plans to go carbon-neutral

Fenway Park (UCinternational / WikiMedia Commons)

By Madeleine Pearce
Boston University News Service

The oldest stadium in Major League Baseball and home of the Boston Red Sox will be going greener with a new goal to make the park carbon neutral. 

The Red Sox has partnered with California-based financial company, Aspiration, to make the stadium carbon neutral by including costs in every ticket without affecting prices. The funds will go toward the purchase of “Aspiration Planet Protection,” or carbon credits used to offset pollution from the stadium and fans.

“We’re honored to help the @RedSox bring baseball fans the first Carbon Neutral Experience. Together – let’s bat our carbon footprint out of the park by bringing easy, automated climate impact to every fan that walks into Fenway,” tweeted Aspiration. 

The Red Sox organization has led Major League Baseball in developing sustainable practices, including becoming the first MLB stadium to install solar thermal panels. The panels replace 37% of gas used to heat water, keeping the park from producing 18 tons of carbon emissions every year.

In 2018, the MLB recognized the Boston Red Sox for diverting the highest percentage of waste of all teams in the American League East. 

Fenway Park’s partnership with Aspiration is another step toward the stadium’s commitment to sustainability. Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner described the implementation as “an opportunity to neutralize the carbon emissions” of individual fans while combating climate change.

“Finding sustainable and efficient ways to lower our carbon footprint and help offset the environmental impact of a 110-year-old ballpark requires creativity, unique methods, and deeply passionate partners like Aspiration,” said Werner in a statement. “With this deal, a portion of the sale of every Red Sox ticket will be contributed to the Aspiration Planet Protection Fund which will help neutralize the climate impact of each fan attending a game at Fenway Park.”

The Boston Red Sox has followed other companies like Disney and JetBlue in purchasing carbon credits to offset emissions, but the practice has not always been successful. Projects in a Brazilian rainforest by American and European corporations failed when loggers cut down the trees intended to offset carbon emissions.

“We know we will have to remove a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and offsets help prime that market,” said Cameron Hepburn, director of Oxford University’s Economics of Sustainability Program.

Hepburn acknowledged carbon offsets can help make businesses more sustainable, but only if third-party companies can verify the offsets are used correctly.

Despite risks, Hepburn argues companies buying carbon offsets “is still better than doing nothing.” 

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