Dune Ives and Roger McClendon - Lonely Whale and Green Sports Alliance

Dune Ives and Roger McClendon - Lonely Whale and Green Sports Alliance
Dune Ives and Roger McClendon - Lonely Whale and Green Sports Alliance

Green Sports Alliance Summit will be June 19-20 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia

Dune Ives

Dune Ives is the executive director of award-winning Lonely Whale, where she designs and leads initiatives that address environmental degradation and species decline. Through her leadership, Lonely Whale has received global recognition as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, Huffington Post’s Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Environmental Sustainability, the P4G 2018 Circular Economy Award sponsored by the Danish Government; and more. Prior to Lonely Whale, Dune designed and oversaw Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Philanthropy, co-founded the Green Sports Alliance, and was among the first individuals trained by the Honorable Al Gore to deliver his presentation on global warming.

One of the exciting initiatives at Lonely Whale is Next Wave Plastics. This is an initiative to get companies to use ocean bound plastics within their products. Can you tell us about this and what you're learning, or any successes that you're seeing in this program?

Next Wave Plastics is an initiative that was co-created by Dell Technologies and Lonely Whale. It came out of a request that Adrian Grenier made as he was serving as Dell's first social good advocate. He asked if Dell could help him address, and help all of us, really address the growing plastic pollution crisis. What Dell discovered that they could do is source plastic that was once bound for the ocean, meaning it's within 50 kilometers of any waterways, and they it into their packaging. It was so inspiring for them as a company. Michael Dell himself got very engaged. The employees were very excited. Dell then asked us to engage other companies. So, we launched Next Wave Plastics in December, 2017 with eight companies with the intent of developing a collaborative where companies are working directly with each other. Competitors now are sitting across the table from each other, working with each other within industry and cross industry, to build infrastructure in parts of the world where the issue is the most acute. They then integrate the materials permanently into their products, thereby creating a fully circular economy. It's been very exciting to see. We had HP and IKEA join the list of companies in 2018, and we now have more companies coming on board over the course of the next six months. We see this as being one of those important actions being taken today by companies that are having a real impact. So, this year they're sourcing material and they're preventing it from going in the water. It's very exciting to see these companies take a strong leadership role.

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

Be Curious. Don't think that you know all the answers and don't think you understand the questions that are being asked. Curiosity is what is going to allow us to find the solutions that don't currently exist to the problems that we're facing.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

There are two things. Number one, even amidst all of the bad news I don't see people giving up. I see people really rolling their sleeves up and digging in to these issues and wanting to just keep fighting the good fight and winning. I also see corporations turning the tide and that to me is really exciting. I think they're pushing themselves harder. I think they're not standing for what they've done in the past and they're really leading this discussion, which is what we need for them to do.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Years ago I had the fortune of spending about a week on vacation, which is very unusual for anybody these days. I took the book Guns, Germs, and Steel with me on vacation. I'm bringing this up because it was one of the most influential books for me. Just really looking back over time in the history of our species, how we have migrated, how we have evolved, why we've done certain things. It was a very important book for me at the time to really recognize that I am but one small moment in time and there is history to learn from and there are patterns we need to start seeing and incorporate in how we build the vision of our future. There's one lesson learned from that book that I will share with your audience that I just think is hilarious and we have a lot to learn from it. Zebras were never domesticated because when they bite, they don't let go. And I think that's brilliant. Why are some things so difficult to change? It's because we have built in mechanisms to prevent the change that we don't want to have happen from happening. Change is hard for the zebra. The zebra has figured out how to never become domesticated. So how do we take that lesson and how do we apply it to the sustainability work that we do, especially when we're facing attractable change.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

I spend a lot of time observing how my child interacts with the environment and noticing what he notices. As adults, I think we feel like we know all the answers and we're not always as observant because we've become accustomed to our environment. I like to spend time with people who look at the world differently and at Lonely Whale we actually spend a lot of time thinking about the non able-bodied community. Those who have physical or cognitive impediments. I think we need to start spending more time talking with those who can't interact the way that we've designed things and then I think we'll start learning more.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work of your wonderful organizations?

Lonely Whale is at lonelywhale.org and Green Sports Alliance is greensportsalliance.org. You're going to get a ton of information if you sign up for our newsletters. Follow us on Instagram at Lonely Whale. Come to the Green Sports Alliance Summit. It is going to be really exciting and it's really gonna pave the way for a lot of exciting, very thoughtful and thought provoking conversations about the wave of the future.

Roger McClendon

Roger McClendon is the Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance. In his role, he leads the Alliance of international sports and stadium executives, as well as sustainability experts, to use sports as a vehicle to promote healthy, sustainability communities throughout the world.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Roger was the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer for Yum! Brands, whose holdings include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC restaurants. He also led the development of Blueline, a sustainable design guide for restaurants built on the LEED certification program. Blueline was a global standard implemented in approximately 5,000 Yum! Brand restaurants globally. Due to his efforts, Yum! Was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017 and 2018, as well as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.

You're relatively new to the position. Can give us a quick overview of what's going on with the Green Sports Alliance right now and maybe what you envisioned for the organization in the future?

I've been with the Organization for a good four months now and I always say I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. This organization has been engaged with sustainability and sports for over nine years. We'll be coming up on our 10th year anniversary next year. Coming from west coast to east coast, I've heard varying stories about the inception of the Green Sports Alliance, but have to give kudos to Scott Jenkins, who's our chair of our board, and folks like Alan Hershkowitz and Paul Allen who put a lot of funding in early behind it and the impetus of bringing sports teams together to really stand for social and environmental progress. The west coast development, from the Sounders to the Portland Trailblazers to the Seattle Mariners, all those folks got together and decided that they wanted to take a position and push the environmental sustainability agenda.

They saw this as regional and then they saw this as a national opportunity and it was formed. There's another story about the Philadelphia Eagles and the owning family asking an issue about deforestation and where their paper goods products came from. I think that's where Alan Hershkowitz and the folks that were leading the organization back then were able to break through and get them interested in supporting a sustainability position. So since then, the group has formed into the Green Sports Alliance, which is an international organization where we have representation in Japan, Europe and are growing the brand beyond the North American borders.

It's a group of about 500-600 sports teams and venues, from the NFL, NBA, USTA, PGA. I don't want to leave anybody out, but there's a lot of influential sports leagues, teams and venues such as AEG and Staples Center. The folks that own those venues are all part of our membership-based organization. We take that seriously on our stewardship and what we need to do to set our strategy and our goals around this movement of sustainability. I like to break it up into three phases.

Phase 1 is the sustainability 1.0 platform where you have engagement of your operations and your brand, league or stadium owner and you can really improve your operations from a triple bottom line perspective - people, profitability and planet. Phase 2, or the sustainability 2.0, has to do with engaging your fan base, your employees as well as the community. That's a little bit tougher and that happens to be where you spend a lot of time perhaps doing some campaigns and things like tree planting, understanding how you engage fans to participate in recycling efforts and things they can do beyond just the stadium itself. We're still in varying stages with different groups to make that happen. There's a lot of work left to be done there. The third phase, or sustainability 3.0, is defining what's next, but it's in the area of youth engagement, leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations and getting cities and communities to really help with clean energy and help make a bigger impact on what we're trying to do as a society.

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

Continue to be bold and brave and set targets. Tehn, build a coalition and always keep the triple bottom line in mind as you're presenting.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

The international growth of the Green Sports Alliance. We just signed the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Change and we've just got so much support behind us. It's a commitment to some principles but what it really means is that we can galvanize everyone around it and really get to driving action around it. Now that we've got that under our belt, we see a lot more people like the NBA, the Yankees, USTA and others I'm sure it will be joining us as we move forward.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Green to Gold is a classic and Food Foolish talks about waste and how much waste we have with the food supply.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

I've engaged with World Wildlife Fund. WWF has always been a great partner and they've always had great resources globally. I think very highly of them as well as NRDC.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work of the Green Sports Alliance?

You can go to our website at greensportsalliance.org. You can actually come to the summit, which is going to be June 19th and 20th in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. You can go to our website and sign up. We've got a great forum that we're going to have.