As is the case with most sports, College football--not to mention bowl games--and sustainability do not intuitively go in the same sentence. The long term sustainability of many of these games themselves come into question considering how many of them there are; 6-6 teams have an opportunity to play in showcases such as the Beef-o-Brady’s Bowl. Then you have the dubious “charity” distinction and questions whether these “non-profits” contribute to local communities as much as they say; the non-profit organizations that organized 24 bowl games two years ago donated less than two percent of total proceeds to charity. Most bowl games claim to do a significant amount of community work, though year to year such activities are spotty--take the Pinstripe Bowl (really?), for example. For now the low-hanging fruit, recycling, is the norm at these events for now.

Nevertheless, some college football bowls are edging towards sustainability and social responsibility. Here are a few highlights for this never ending bowl season:

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Now here’s a “sustainable” bowl that may turn some heads. Some may raise their eyebrows at the sponsor’s dubious environmental sustainability record or stance on gay marriage, but the annual game in Atlanta makes the biggest effort towards game day sustainability. The host committee now co-hosts an annual conference with Waste Management to share ideas how college athletic programs can develop sustainability goals and solutions. Over 700 recycling bins are plunked throughout the Georgia Dome and surrounding area on the day the game is played. Green energy from Georgia Power will power stadium lights, and Atlanta-based Home Depot will also distribute coupons for CFLs.

Rose Bowl: All those tree branches and flower petals festooned on those floats have got to go somewhere. Could Miracle-Gro come to the rescue? So far the new sponsorship is only focused on community parks, but there is some chatter about improving the game’s and parade’s environmental sustainability. This year the parade’s grand marshall and game coin-flipper is Jane Goodall, who hopes her presence this year encourages the event’s organizing committee to take environmental stewardship more seriously.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Formerly the Emerald Bowl and played on a baseball field, the Kraft Hunger Bowl is the most socially conscious bowl. For every ticket purchased to watch the game at AT&T Park, Kraft fronts money for meals at three local Bay Area charities. The organizing committee estimates it has funded over 200,000 meals for the Bay Area’s hungry. Each team preps and serves meals to San Francisco’s poor on Christmas Day and during the bowl week visit local charities. Spectators also have the option of donating money to the San Francisco Food Bank when they purchase their tickets.

Published earlier today on Triple Pundit. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).

Georgia Dome image credit: Wikipedia

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.