Top US sports universities to receive grants for sustainability projects

Unifi to offer grants and develop content for Pac-12 after becoming the organisation’s Founding Sustainability Partner

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Unifi will help to create content which showcases sustainability programmes happening on Pac-12 campuses (Credit: Pac-12)

The 12 leading sports universities in the US will receive grant funding to support sustainability and recycling projects after partnering with Unifi, the sustainable textiles company.

Unifi has been named as Founding Sustainability Partner of the group, which is known as the Pac-12, and its newly-established sustainability arm, Pac-12 Team Green.

As well as supplying grant funding, Unifi will work with Pac-12 to create content and media showcasing sustainability programmes happening at the universities and the former’s effort recycling plastic bottles into fibre.

Unifi has recycled more than 12 billion bottles thus far, turning them into polyester products, including sports shoes and athletic apparel.

Pac-12 Team Green is a collegiate athletics sustainability platform concerned with promoting the “greening efforts” taking place around Pac-12 campuses (see box below).


The Pac-12 universities

The Pac-12 universities include: the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University.

In 2011, all Pac-12 campuses became members of the Green Sports Alliance. The following year, the body established the Pac-12 Football Zero Waste Bowl and Basketball Road to Zero Waste competitions, which challenged universities to eliminate waste and conserve resources.


Elements of the platform include the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference (the second of which is currently occuring in Boulder, Colorado), the Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition and the Pac-12 Sustainability Working Group (below).

Jamie Zaninovich, Pac-12 deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, said the two organisations “share a common vision” for how sustainability can impact communities.

“This innovative partnership will help amplify the impressive sustainability efforts being executed by our campuses,” he added.

“At Unifi, sustainability is a core component of the work we do and who we are,” said Richard Gerstein, Unifi’s vice-president of premium value-added brands and global chief marketing and innovation officer.

“We recognise the need to create a paradigm shift in recycling rates in the US and keep even more bottles out of landfills. Working alongside Pac-12, our goal is to expand this undertaking to our universities, who are taking a leading role in educating and changing behaviours.”

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