Amazon is publicly aligning itself with the climate change movement by renaming Seattle’s KeyArena as Climate Pledge Arena.
The online retail giant was able to do so after purchasing naming rights to the arena for an undisclosed sum. The arena — the home of the city’s future NHL team and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm — is undergoing a $930 million renovation.
“The name refers to The Climate Pledge, launched in 2019 by Amazon and Global Optimism, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement,” Amazon said in a news release.
The Paris climate change agreement called for phasing out fossil fuels. The U.S. was a signatory to the agreement during the administration of President Barack Obama, but President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal.
“Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle is expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, and set a new sustainability bar for the sports and events industry,” Amazon said.
Welcome to #ClimatePledgeArena!
Today @amazon, @oakviewgroup & @NHLSeattle_ announced a partnership that will name the New Arena at #SeattleCenter, #ClimatePledge Arena. It will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.
— Climate Pledge Arena (@ClimateArena) June 25, 2020
“I’m excited to announce that Amazon has bought the naming rights to the historic Seattle arena previously known as Key Arena,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, wrote on Instagram. “Instead of calling it Amazon Arena, we’re naming it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.
“It will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, generate zero waste from operations and events, and use reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL.”
In its news release, Amazon said the arena will be the first in the world “targeting net Zero Carbon certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices.”
So how does this work? Amazon said the arena will be all-electric “and be powered with 100% renewable electricity, both from on-site solar panels and off-site renewable energy. Events at the arena will be made fully net zero carbon through investments in forestry projects with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy that will sequester any remaining carbon emissions from arena operations.”
The area plans to have at least 95 percent of its waste going to somewhere other than a landfill.
To reduce emissions, fans will find their tickets double as transit passes.
Some scoffed at the concept.
It’s cool how one of the worst polluters we know gave it that name.
Anyhoo, gotta go, Amazon truck just pulled up, they’re delivering me a single granola bar. ?
— Blart (@ilieknachos) June 25, 2020
What on earth are we gonna nickname Climate Pledge Arena? The Greenhouse? An Inconvenient Roof?
— Stephen Cohen (@scohenSEA) June 25, 2020
An arena called Climate Pledge that has like 10,000 people drive in from the suburbs and get stuck in traffic for 4 hours might be the most Seattle thing ever. https://t.co/jkEjHdeilS
— Joe Kassabian (@jkass99) June 25, 2020
However, Tim Leiweke, the CEO of Oak View Group, which is heading the arena project, said, “There is no question that the state of our planet is a critical issue for all of us.”
“We have a responsibility to future generations to try to leave them with a better world. We love that Amazon is using its naming rights for a cause we care deeply about — this partnership is a visionary step for the facilities business and sport and music industries. Our goal is to be the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable venue in the world. It is not just about one arena — it’s a platform for us to step up and heal our planet,” he said in a statement.
His brother Tod Leiweke, the CEO of NHL Seattle, added, “We have always set out to create the best home ice advantage; now we are innovating to create ice from reclaimed rainwater and the greenest ice in the country.
“This is going to be the best arena in the NHL and we’re proud that there will be many opportunities for our fans to make a difference nightly. This is truly remarkable.”
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