By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
The Phoenix Suns officially debuted the Footprint Center arena in downtown Phoenix and announced new sustainability efforts that include replacing plastic cups, utensils and straw with biodegradable plant-based products developed by Footprint.
The Gilbert-based company is the naming rights sponsor of the renovated and modernized Suns arena. Footprint also develops plant-based sustainable products.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Footprint co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Yoke Chung and Suns Legacy Partners LLC President and CEO Jason Rowley officially christened the remodeled arena and promoted its plastics-free efforts.
“Just last night, the Phoenix City Council and I approved an updated, comprehensive Climate Action Plan that accelerates our goal to reach net-zero before 2050,” said Mayor Gallego. “I’m proud to have partners like the Suns and Footprint who are fully engaged in creating a healthy, sustainable future for Phoenix.”
Rowley said reducing the arena’s carbon footprint is a priority of the NBA team.
The arena also hosts the WNBA Phoenix Mercury, Indoor Football League Arizona Rattlers as well as concerts and shows.
“Today marks the culmination of the past 18 months transforming Footprint Center into a world-class entertainment experience for fans, while planning to reduce our carbon footprint through the design and construction process,” said Rowley. “We are confident that through the support, commitment and hard work of all stakeholders, Footprint Center will serve as the model sports and entertainment venue for sustainable innovation.”
The team and Gilbert science technology and product development firm announced their arena naming rights deal during the NBA Finals earlier this year.
The city owned Phoenix arena has gone through a major modernization.
of single-use plastics, a journey that everyone involved recognizes will take time and collaboration.
Some other sports arenas, stadiums and events venues have also ditched plastic products for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Chung sees more market potential in the sports sustainability segment.
“When we started Footprint in 2014, we had big dreams to apply our materials science expertise to solve the hard problem of getting plastic away from food and transforming the supermarket. Our innovative plant-based fiber solutions are on store shelves and in freezer cases today,” Footprint co-founder and CEO Yoke Chung said. “Sports venues are another relatively untapped opportunity to transform and reduce waste and we’re proud to be part of paving the way to a healthier planet at Footprint Center.”
Footprint is also partnering with former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver and part Suns owner Larry Fitzgerald to serve as a “sustainability ambassador.”