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NASCAR’s Green Message – Energy Independence, Conservation, Job Creation

Green Mountain has had the privilege of attending NASCAR-sponsored events over the years, most recently the 2011 NASCAR Green Summit, and we’d like to shine a light on the creative ways in which they’ve woven sustainability into their business. 25% of the U.S. population identifies as fans of the sport and in its research, NASCAR found that fans have a greater affinity towards “green” than the U.S. population as a whole. A deeper dive into the research led to creation of the NASCAR Green concept in late 2008, around the following three pillars:

  • Energy Independence
  • Conservation
  • Job Creation

NASCAR brought this platform to key partners such as Chevy/GM, Ford, Toyota, Dodge, Sprint, Coca-Cola, and MillerCoors and leveraged these relationships to bring leading environmental NGOs into the fold to reinforce the three key messages of NASCAR Green. Examples of tangible improvements achieved by the NASCAR Green program include:

  • Racing platforms developed by the automotive manufacturers enabled technological advancements in fuel efficiency and electrification that have been extended to their consumer product lines
  • Coca-Cola and MillerCoors have implemented world class recycling programs at NASCAR tracks
  • Materials re-use and re-purposing, recycling, and the implementation of renewable energy has led to not only significant cost reductions but also revenue generation for almost every NASCAR partner

A special thanks to NASCAR for walking the walk (or should it be racing the race?) when it comes to sustainability. From the Clean Air/Tree Planting programs at Michigan International Speedway to the 3MW Solar Farm at Pocono, their efforts are leading to greater energy independence, conservation, and job creation.


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4 Responses to “NASCAR’s Green Message – Energy Independence, Conservation, Job Creation”

  1. NASCAR, green?
    I had to look at the date on this post. I thought it was an April Fools joke. 

    While, I can not ignore the good intentions of this program of tangible achievements… NASCAR pushing Energy Independence and Conservation? Really?

    Is this a joke? Yes. 

    Walking the walk…How much was reduced as a percent of the impact?
    To think that in some way the massive commercial, consumer, lifestyle, energy and environmental impacts of this sport can be greened?

    Numbers don’t lie:
    If the program has made a big impact, please publish those numbers and I will jump on the support train. But until then you will have to forgive me for my lack of support. 

    For those of us devoted to developing sustainable, green programs to protect people and our planet,  I am sorry had to add a little reality to this one.

    • Robert Garrett says:

      Thanks for your comments Christopher. By their own admission, NASCAR by the very nature of their business has a carbon impact. That’s why in 2008 they proactively created NASCAR Green, under the direction of Dr. Michael Lynch, a very smart guy. I don’t work for NASCAR and can only provide what I have in my notes from the event, so here are a few points of consideration:

      – In conjunction with partners such as Coca-Cola and MillerCoors, they have achieved a greater than 90%
      event recycling rate
      – In conjunction with Safety Kleen, over 90% of fluids are recycled
      – 90+% re-use rate of materials from old vehicles, including tires
      – Use of E85 has cut annual gasoline usage by over 300,000 gallons and led to 20% reduction in emissions
      – Pocono Raceway has 3MW solar array to offset power needs of the track
      – Michigan International Speedway did extensive re-forestation project of adjacent land to create new
      parkland and offset carbon impact from events
      – Not NASCAR specific, but from the major automotive manufacturers at the event- near universal attainment
      of 95+% re-use/recycle rates at major manufacturing plants, in addition to greening of power. Auto
      companies indicated that a lot of the innovations in their vehicles in terms of reduced weight, mileage,
      etc…, were developed in the lab-like world of NASCAR racing.

      Of interest, polling revealed the green affinity of NASCAR fans to be greater than that of the nation as a whole. Because some of this affinity was due to a love of the outdoors and a desire for energy independence, NASCAR has worked to incorporate job development and conservation into their message. Again, I thank you for your comments. I can only speak for myself, but I find their efforts to be a commendable attempt to offset the environmental impact of their business, and their partnerships with not only large corporations but also non-profits such as The World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society have extended their message to a larger audience than would otherwise get it.

  2. Thank you for your breakdown of the accomplishments of the NASCAR Green program Robert.

    It is VERY interesting the the “affinity of NASCAR fans (for the outdoors) to be greater than that of the nation as a whole.” We found this to be true in hunters, snowmobile, ATV and fans of nearly all motorsports. It gives me great hope and optimism for the long term environmental impact of these potentially destructive activities.

    IF we diligently share with the public all they can do to sustain our future, I also believe these great fans of the outdoors could be the largest and most sustainable environmental protection group for the future.

    However, it is a VERY long road before NASCAR puts a measurable difference in “offsetting” the massive impact as a whole.

    I admire you and Dr. Lynch in diving into the massive challenge, but do not feel you are not alone…
    When I told the paint and chemical industry we going to find “green replacements” for the most hazardous chemicals in the industry, I got a lot of slack (A LOT).
    Over a decade later there is a less hazardous alternative to nearly every listed toxic chemical.

    The key is tackling it together. While you may not have my support for the sport, you have my volunteer sustainable support anytime you need it.

    Thanks again for helping protect our greatest investments, people and our planet.
    Christopher Haase

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