One of my favorite companies that I believe does more good than they get credit for is the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, popularly known as NASCAR. NASCAR is meaningful to me because it has strong ties to my family and my childhood. As a kid my dad used to work for the M&M Mars candy company who sponsored a car, and so I grew up watching the races every weekend with my family and trying to mimic them with my NASCAR toy car collection. I have been lucky enough to attend multiple NASCAR races in my life and love them to this day, to the extent that I think it should be an event that is on everyone’s bucket list. There is no live sports (yes, I call it a sport) event that is as different live as it is on TV. You can not appreciate just how fast they drive or how loud it is until you see it in person, which is part of what appeals to me. With all of this comes the great knock on NASCAR: that it is a waste of fossil fuels and a large source of pollution. While it is true that NASCAR does involve a mass consumption of gasoline, I think that the league as a company has does more good than they are given credit for as they transition into becoming more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
In 2008 NASCAR released the “NASCAR Green” initiative where NASCAR stated that they sought to “not only become a leader in green initiatives across all sports, but a leader within the business community.” With this initiative NASCAR has worked with their stakeholders to make many changes that reduce the environmental impact of the sport. These changes are not only ones made directly by the company, they also incorporate the fan base and encourage change at home. Main examples include a partnership with Coca-Cola that has created the largest recycling program in U.S. sports, a partnership with Sunoco and American Ethanol working towards a long-term biofuels program, and the NASCAR Green Clean Air Program which is the largest tree planting program in sports. Individual race tracks and racing teams have also joined in on the movement by creating LEED-certified facilities, incorporating solar panels that support local energy grids, and creating nature conservations on track property. The biggest move of all is that NASCAR is working towards switching to electric cars which could be implemented as soon as the 2016 season. Pace cars, which lead the 43 racers before the start of the race, have already been switched to electric cars to get better gas mileage due to climate change concerns. For all of the criticism that NASCAR gets for being bad for the environment, the company is working hard to reduce their environmental impact and is making strides towards fully-electric cars in accordance with their stakeholders’ desires for a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly sport.