Erik Distler - Director of Partnerships at Green Sports Alliance
Erik Distler is the Director of Partnerships for the Green Sports Alliance. In his role, Erik has internal and external facing responsibilities, including organizational management and strategy, business development, and oversight of members and partnerships, in addition to leading the organization's strategic partnerships and collaborations, most significantly with ESPN and various professional sports leagues.
Prior to joining the Green Sports Alliance, Erik was most recently with PwC as a consultant within the firm's Sustainable Business Solutions advisory practice. Erik's experience prior to PwC includes business development, management, accounting & finance consulting and public accounting.
Erik Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
The sustainability movement in professional sports
Getting athletes to become sustainability advocates
2026 World Cup North America and sustainability
Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
Erik's Final Five Responses:
What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?
The advice I would give is to remain flexible and strategic around how you embrace or create opportunities for yourself. So, we are building the plane as we fly it in this space of sustainability. It's often that the jobs individuals have in sustainability were created by someone being inside of an organization who saw an opportunity to establish this new focus for their organization, and many who have roles that touch sustainability in some way, shape or form, probably contributed to establishing the job description or the role or title. So, just consider where and how you can get creative in developing and advancing in this space and creating opportunities, not only for yourself, but for others who are coming out of school or have passion in doing a career change and ultimately want to contribute to effecting change in the space.
What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?
I'm just so thankful and appreciative of the ability to do the work we do and get to connect on a daily basis with the sports industry and all of those who are in the stadiums, at the venues, at the league level in colleges and universities that are doing the hard work, rolling up their sleeves and doing the work. We get the pleasure of being able to tell the stories and inspire others to do the work as well, but I'm always humbled by how hard and how dedicated the people are that are in this space. So, I feel a great sense of gratitude to all those who are out there on the front line, so to speak, leading this work. From an excitement standpoint, the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup, obviously the united bid across the three countries and the LA 2028 Olympics. Having the eyes of the world on this continent and on this country is a great opportunity for us to advance and drive and affect change in this space.
What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?
I have to go back to my graduate school days. Thinking In Systems by Donella Meadows. It was one of the foundational reads for our program and it really addresses a core tenant of sustainability, that systems thinking model. I reference the book consistently in my work today.
What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?
I try to keep up on sustainability news as much as I can. So GreenBiz, Triple Pundit, Sports Business Journal. Really using some of the thought leadership and the insight that's coming out of what is happening in and around this plane as we're building it. So it's all sort of happening in front of us on a daily basis and there's various partners of ours, such as associations and groups we work with, that are constantly putting out new ways of thinking and new ways of advancing the focus that we have in this space. So I try to keep myself well read in my free time.
Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at the Green Sports Alliance.
Check out our website, greensportsalliance.org. We also have active social media presence across Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram. We are constantly pushing out stories of the work our members and partners are doing, and that's part of our focus on amplifying and spreading the word of this great sports greening movement that we get to work in.