The Pac-12 and Unifi, Inc. and today announced a long-term partnership, with Unifi serving as the Founding Sustainability Partner of Pac-12 Team Green and as a sponsor of the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference. As part of the partnership, Unifi will provide grant funding to all 12 of the Conference’s member institutions to support sustainability initiatives and increase recycling efforts; work with the Pac-12 and Pac-12 Networks on creating custom content and media assets to feature sustainability programs and support efforts to recycle billions of plastic bottles into fiber; and will serve as an official sponsor for all Pac-12 championship events. The announcement today occurred during the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Pac-12 Team Green is a first-of-its-kind collegiate athletics conference sustainability platform set to promote all greening efforts taking place on and around Pac-12 campuses. The launch of Pac-12 Team Green further cements the Pac-12’s commitment to an elevated approach to enhancing sustainability efforts within collegiate athletics departments, designing new collective initiatives and sharing best practices to transform college sports into a platform for environmental progress. Key components of the platform include the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, the Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition and the Pac-12 Sustainability Working Group which unites leaders from all 12 of the Conference’s member campuses from both athletics and sustainability. This integrated platform was instrumental in Unifi’s decision to partner with Pac-12 Team Green, further cementing the company’s efforts to promote recycling, sustainability, and its focus on the circular economy.
“At Unifi, sustainability is a core component of the work we do and who we are,” said Richard Gerstein, executive vice president of premium value-added brands and global chief marketing and innovation officer at Unifi. “While we have recycled more than 12 Billion plastic bottles into REPREVE Polyester products including athletic shoes and apparel, we recognize the need to create a paradigm shift in recycling rates in the US to keep even more bottles out of landfills. Working alongside the Pac-12, our goal is to expand this undertaking to our Universities, who are taking a leading role in educating and changing behaviors. We’re excited to partner with the Pac-12 and join the impactful work they’re doing to broaden sustainable living.”
As part of the second annual Pac-12 Sustainability Conference earlier today, Gerstein was in attendance and served as a Keynote speaker along with Jay Hertwig, group vice president of global branded sales at Unifi. Unifi also hosted the REPREVE #TurnItGreen mobile tour onsite, allowing attendees to learn how Unifi transforms recycled plastic bottles into REPREVE performance fibers through a hands-on educational experience, while seeing and touching products from brands they know and love. Attendees were also afforded the opportunity to receive Pac-12 Team custom socks that are made with REPREVE Polyester, which is the number one branded and trusted recycled fiber in the world.
“The Pac-12 is thrilled to launch our Pac-12 Team Green platform and also recognize Unifi as the founding partner of Team Green,” said Jamie Zaninovich, Pac-12 deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. “Unifi and the Pac-12 share a common vision for how sustainability can impact our communities and this innovative partnership will help amplify the impressive sustainability efforts being executed by our campuses.”
Known as the “Conference of Champions,” the Pac-12’s focus on sustainability became more tangible in 2011 when all Pac-12 campuses became Green Sports Alliance members. The following year, the Pac-12 formed the Pac-12 Football Zero Waste Bowl and Basketball Road to Zero Waste competitions, challenging universities to eliminate waste and conserve resources-- which are sustainable operations aligned with Unifi’s mission. More information on the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference and future events are available at Pac-12.com/sustainability.