Footprint, a materials science technology company, and Suns Legacy Partners, LLC, operators of the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, and Footprint Center, today officially opened doors on the recently transformed Footprint Center.
Leadership from Footprint, and the Suns and Mercury joined City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and champions of sustainability to formally dedicate Footprint Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of fans at 201 E. Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix.
The event took place between a rare NBA/WNBA doubleheader. The Western Conference Champion Phoenix Suns took the win over the Portland Trail Blazers in their final preseason game, ahead of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals featuring the 3-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury versus the Chicago Sky.
“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.”
Footprint co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Yoke Chung and Suns Legacy Partners, LLC President and CEO Jason Rowley reiterated their commitments to a plastic-free world beginning with the newly-named arena.
“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.”
Beginning with the Suns regular season home opener on October 20, fans will start seeing plastic bowls, plates, utensils, and straws replaced with Footprint’s plant-based solutions. The progress marks the first step of a journey in the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics, a journey that everyone involved recognizes will take time and collaboration.
“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 also welcomed today its first sustainability ambassador, future NFL Hall of Famer and part owner of the Phoenix Suns, Larry Fitzgerald.
“As a father of three and a lover of travel I want to see our world be a safer and more sustainable home for future generations. Footprint’s vision of reducing and even eliminating toxins from the food we eat is a landmark step in the right direction,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m going to be taking Footprint Foundation’s Pledge 2050 that I encourage all of you to take as well, committing to what we can do to reduce plastic waste in our lives. Together we can change things – whether it’s at a football game, a basketball game, a concert or at home.”
Since the Footprint Center arena transformation began in 2020, over 8,200 tons of material have been diverted from landfills, 757 tons of plastic and metal have been recycled, touchless faucets and toilets help conserve water, new LED lighting has been added in all finished spaces, and new energy efficient mechanical systems with economizers for more fresh air were added. Prior to the transformation, the arena transitioned to solar through partner APS in 2012, making it one of the first venues to take this step at the time.
Footprint provides sustainable solutions that eliminate single-use and short-term use plastics. Footprint uses material science and process engineering to design, develop and manufacture plant-based biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable products that compete with plastic’s cost and performance. These solutions, digestible by the earth, keep harmful chemicals away from consumers and have directly already led to a redirection of 61 million pounds of plastic waste from the environment. Footprint is rapidly expanding into new categories with differentiated solutions for customers and has 2,430 U.S and foreign issued and pending patent claims. Customers include Conagra, Sweetgreen, Beyond Meat, as well as Fry’s and other national and international food companies and retail chains.
Footprint was founded in 2014 by former Intel engineers, Troy Swope and Yoke Chung. The company employs more than 2,500 employees, with operations in the U.S., Mexicali, Europe, and Asia. Footprint was named to the 2020 Fortune “Change the World” list, is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community and was named a CNBC Disruptor 50 company in 2021.
Led by Managing Partner Robert Sarver, Suns Legacy Partners, LLC operates the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, and Footprint Center. The Suns are Arizona’s original professional sports franchise anchored by 2021 Coach of the Year Monty Williams, 2021 Executive of the Year general manager James Jones and a roster featuring future Hall of Famer Chris Paul and All-Star Devin Booker. The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury are celebrating its 25th season led by Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Footprint Center in the heart of downtown Phoenix, recently underwent a $245 million transformation, making it the preeminent destination for sports and entertainment in the southwest and a living laboratory for sustainability.