This is not some empty boast from either Selig himself or one of his surrogates trying to burnish his legacy. It comes from Allen Hershkowitz, president and co-founder of the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit that helps sports teams, leagues and venues enhance their environmental stewardship. He’s also a former NRDC scientist and is a visiting professor at the MBA Program of the Presidio Graduate School.
Mother Jones has a profile on him and his career. Specifically, how he convinced sports leagues — not filled with or run by folks who spend too much time thinking about environmental issues — to think about environmental issues. He did so by hipping them to how they could improve their bottom line by — or, at the very least, at the same time — as they do things which help the environment.
The article is filled with all sorts of examples, including obvious things like getting them to build green stadiums and start recycling programs to getting the Eagles to change which toilet paper they use at their stadium because it came from trees which supported eagle habitat. In that vein, a lot of it is based on good old fashioned business, such as letting sponsors and business partners of leagues know when what the leagues are doing is bad for the environment, their image and the bottom line. The market isn’t perfect, of course, but the market tends to move folks of a certain stripe pretty quickly.
Anyway, Hershkowitz singles out Bud Selig for praise:
A few months later, Hershkowitz secured a meeting with surrogates to then-Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, to ask them to collaborate with the NRDC on environmental messaging. Redford narrated a $35,000 video the NRDC put together for the meeting, even making an appearance in the New York Knights jacket he famously wore in The Natural. The commish bought in, signing a comprehensive agreement to educate fans and promote energy efficiency, renewable power, water conservation, and recycling. When they finally met in person, Hershkowitz says, Selig took him by the shoulders and said, “Whatever you need, you let me know.” To this day, Hershkowitz calls Selig “the greatest environmentalist in the history of sports.”
And you think all he did was spearhead a labor dispute that cancelled a World Series.
(Thanks to Michael Lloyd for the heads up)