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Green Light

GREEN LIGHT: Sacramento

River Cats Green Initiatives

River Cats

As a prominent sports organization in the state capital of California, we have an opportunity and an obligation to utilize our platform to educate our fans about steps they can take, however large or small, to positively impact their community and environment. Our organization has the benefit of an extraordinarily positive reputation in our community, providing us with the ability to educate and inform in a fun and inviting environment while partnering with other organizations that share our values and seek a platform to communicate their messages. We recognize there is still more we can do in this realm, but hope we can be leaders by setting an example for others that every little bit does have an impact and that you don't need a corporate overhaul to be responsible members of your local, regional and world communities.

It is vital to get company-wide buy-in, from the top-down AND from the bottom-up (it's just as important that person ordering supplies has an eye on "green" issues as it is that the owner of the company does). A holistic approach is necessary, as we have found that if we empower our employees to be creative with ways to conserve, they will often find opportunities that our organization's leadership did not see. Specifically, we were one of the first teams in all of Minor League Baseball to institute a comprehensive recycling program and continue to work on the collection and collation of recyclables and keeping that process top-of-mind amongst not just employees, but customers as well. We have also worked with area experts to perform energy, waste, and water audits of our operation to ensure we are being as efficient as possible and to identify areas where we can minimize our impact on local resources and positively affect our bottom line.

Green Actions Taken

Front Office

  • Eliminated Styrofoam Cups in the office and purchase Corn Plastic Mugs for all full-time staff
  • Printer set to double sided print automatically
  • Monthly "green tips" emailed to staff
  • Paperless payroll
  • Employee manuals are electronically filed
  • Electronic scheduling (eliminates paper use)
  • Electronic unemployment papers
  • Centralize purchasing within company to eliminate unnecessary purchases

Stadium Operations

  • Conduct energy audit to identify energy conservation opportunities
  • Conduct waste audit to identify ways to reduce waste and increase current recycling efforts
  • Conduct water audit to identify water conservation opportunities
  • LED Light Bulbs throughout facility
  • Automatic light switches/ sensors installed throughout office, kitchen, meeting rooms, bathrooms
  • Recycle bins in office & throughout stadium (for every trash can there is a recycling bin)
  • Recycle used toner, ink cartridges, LED light bulbs, cardboard
  • Participate in Climate Smart, a carbon off-set program through Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Grass-cycle by cutting landscape turf when grass is still short and leave grass cutting on lawn to decompose

Merchandise Store

  • Reusable bag made of recycled materials
  • Books on green living in the Team Store
  • Programs printed on FCS certified stock

Game/ Event Operations

  • Kids' Corner balloon stand uses eco-approved balloons w/ cotton strings
  • Press Box will no longer use bottled water
  • Recycled napkins throughout concession stands
  • Cooking oil from concessions is recycled and turned into biodiesel fuel
  • Offering a concession stand ("The Clubhouse Grill"), featuring organic, locally grown produce
  • Serving food in biodegradable containers including eliminating Styrofoam at the ballpark
  • Produce souvenir program on FCS certified paper
  • Partnership with Regional Transit to promote public transportation to the game
  • Encourage fans to bike to the game - special bike parking with a bike valet

Education Efforts

  • Green Awareness Weekend – entire weekend dedicated to getting the message out and involving River Cats partners who share the same goal (June 12-14, 2009)
    • All giveaways during Green Awareness Weekend are eco-friendly
    • Sponsors involved must have a legitimate eco-friendly message to be part of the weekend
  • Website dedicated to promoting Green Awareness Weekend and educating fans on what the River Cats are doing as well as what they can do
  • Did you know tips strategically placed around the stadium reminding fans to be conscious (opt to not print a receipt at the ATM, grab one napkin instead of a hand full, etc.)
  • Home Run Tour program sponsored by PG&E – school field trip program that adapts to the particular lesson plan the students are focusing on at that particular time and includes an energy conservation message
    • Students receive a bookmark with energy savings tips and a seed paper that grows plants when planted in soil



Confirmed Partners:

Potential Partners:

  • Water Awareness Campaign
  • Recycling Campaign

Facts (Source:

  • Perceptions of environmental, ethical, and social stewardship are the fastest growing contributors to consumer brand value
  • Over 66% of Americans believe 'Doing well by doing good' is a savvy business strategy.
  • 30% of American consumers are willing to pay up to a 20% premium on clean, green products over non-sustainable alternatives...and that number grows each year.

Things to Think About

  • Greenwashing = when the marketing/ PR result is the main focus versus truly being proactive about improving environment. Make sure there is a balance between education initiatives and PR efforts.
    • Be cautious, be humble, don't scream too loud ... make sure bringing attention to efforts doesn't reveal negativity
    • Example: 2% organic means 98% is not organic
    • Solution: express contributions in monetary value and quantify efforts instead of using a percentage
  • Sustainable/ green/ eco-friendly products and companies are important in the consumer's mind and will influence a purchasing decision
  • All things being equal, a consumer will purchase a product or support a company that is "green"
  • Developing a long term plan is key to sustainable success and brand equity
  • Long term and short term goals must be considered
  • Reducing carbon emissions and offsetting are important; "Reduce what you can, offset what you can't"
  • Commitment from all levels of management is necessary
  • Involvement of the entire company is key to the success of the initiative
  • Women are more likely to buy green, support green, and learn green ... to improve lifestyle and health of their family
  • Measure results, quantify efforts