The New Zealand Breakers are aiming to be the cleanest and greenest professional basketball team in the world—pushing to, among other things, reduce their carbon emissions and curb their use of single-use plastics.
The Breakers, the only non-Australia squad in the National Basketball League, will collaborate with Manuka Doctor, a health and wellness company, and Babbage Consultants, a multidisciplinary firm that is known for its environmental prowess.
The overall focus of the pact emphasizes corporate environmental responsibility. In addition to lowering carbon emissions and plastics use, initiatives include: researching NBA teams and the best practices of other sports teams around the world; using renewable energy sources for the Breakers’ practice facility and offices; and evaluation of the food eaten by players and staff, and seeking sustainable options.
Former NBA All-Star and champion Shawn Marion is a part-owner of the Breakers. “This felt like the right time and right place to make something happen,” he said. Marion began thinking about the idea of a green initiative after converting his house to use geothermal energy for heating and cooling.
On the team level, he said, “We’ve been taking the initiative to be more conscientious, and to further our idea, we partnered with people to help us make sure we are doing it the right way.”
Marion lets his colleague, Matt Walsh, another member of the Breakers’ ownership group, handle everything on the ground in New Zealand. Walsh researched and called on Babbage Consultants to aid the team in its green energy initiative.
A company that was already on board with the Breakers’ plan was Manuka Doctor. “It feels like the perfect fit for us in terms of a fast-growing, healthy, lifestyle activity in the sport of basketball that is accessible to all ages,” said Nicola McFarlane, a spokesperson for Manuka Doctor. The honey and skincare company had already partnered with the Breakers last year before teaming up again for the green initiative.
So far, the New Zealand basketball team has received support from all of its sponsors. And while the project may cost money to invest in the changes, the Breakers believe the shift will have a greater positive effect on the world.