The Green Diamond: How the Rakuten Eagles are making a difference in sustainable sports
The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are aiming to make their home stadium, Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi in Sendai, the most sustainable stadium in Japan. Photo by ©︎Rakuten Eagles
The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are the beloved team representing Japan’s northeastern region of Tohoku in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league.
As the NPB’s 2023 season kicks off, we’re taking a quick look at how the team is making a difference in sustainable sports.
From implementing 100% renewable energy to transforming broken bats into traditional dolls, here are a few innovative ways the team is working to ensure a sustainable future for baseball.
100% renewable energy
On April 1, 2022, the Rakuten Eagles transitioned to 100% renewable energy for all electricity used in their stadium and business operations.
The electricity comes from the nearby Yakuwa River Dam, a 30,000kW hydroelectric power plant, located in Japan’s Yamagata prefecture.
By eliminating CO2 emissions that come from electricity use, the team has reduced its annual emissions by 90% (compared to 2021 levels), roughly 2,600 tons per year.
Using well water
To limit their use of their hometown Sendai City’s municipal water supply, the Rakuten Eagles pump and use water from their own private well to irrigate their field and run their sanitary waste and sewage systems.
The well supplies about half of the team’s annual water consumption (around 13,000m3).
Recycling used bats into kokeshi dolls
Originating in Tohoku, kokeshi dolls are a well-known example of Japanese traditional wood craftsmanship.
The Rakuten Eagles collaborate with local artists to transform old and broken bats into kokeshi dolls. The dolls are resold to fans, boosting the local economy and promoting sustainable and creative ways of recycling.
Eco-friendly waste management
The Rakuten Eagles actively promote the sorting of garbage at their stadium.
The team works with their partner, the Rethink Project, to create “eco-stations” where volunteers help fans separate trash into plastic bottles, burnable and non-burnable waste.
Close to 100% of all the plastic bottles thrown away at the stadium are then collected and recycled. Thanks to the Rakuten Eagles’ partnership with Tohoku-based industrial recycling firm Seinan Group, these bottles are then transformed into various types of Rakuten Eagles merchandise for kids.
Protecting the golden eagle’s habitat
In December last year, the Rakuten Eagles donated a portion of the proceeds from a charity auction to the project council for golden eagle habitat restoration in the Minamisanriku area of Tohoku.
With less than an estimated 500 eagles left in the entire country, Japan’s golden eagles are considered to be on the verge of extinction. The project council works to protect the Minamisanriku area, a major eagle habitat, which is essential for the survival of this endangered species.
Building a Better Future Through Sports
The Rakuten Eagles aim to make Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi the most sustainable stadium in Japan. By switching to renewable energy, conserving resources, protecting natural habitats and recycling creatively, the team is leading the way in promoting sustainable practices in sports.
But this is only one aspect of how the Rakuten Eagles are ensuring a sustainable future for baseball.
Learn more about how the Rakuten Eagles are working with Rakuten to make sports more diverse, equitable and inclusive through the Building a Better Future Through Sports initiative.