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France discusses NASCAR Green at Bloomberg Summit

November 21, 2013, Staff report,

NASCAR Chairman and CEO joined on sustainability panel by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addressed the inaugural Bloomberg Business Summit on Wednesday in Chicago as part of a panel entitled "CEO as Chief Sustainability Officer" panel.

France was joined by Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, the title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Andrea Illy, Chairman and CEO of illycaffe S.p.A. The conversation with Questioner-in-Chief Carter S. Roberts, the World Wildlife Fund president and CEO, was presented by UPS and moderated by Stephanie Ruhle, anchor, Bloomberg Television.

As NASCAR Green celebrates its fifth anniversary, France shared the basic questions that he asked and answered to create the roadmap for the sport's success in the space.

"No. 1: What's the right thing to do? Obviously it's to do your best to protect the environment," France said. "Do our race fans, particularly young fans, care about the environment differently than they did before? The answer, of course, is yes."

"Our partners, our stakeholders, including our biggest one, Sprint, what do they think about NASCAR's efforts, good or bad? Are we on the right track to doing our part? How can we build a platform for them to join in with us? Whether that's Coca-Cola, Sprint, Goodyear, you name it."

"It was just a very sensible approach so we took it very seriously. We've made it where it's very inclusive for our industry to join in, and they've been incredible. …we went from the dirtiest sport candidly in last place, to leading all of sports in just about every category."

France emphasized the importance of teaming up with "partners in your ecosystem that have a very substantial green program… Dan and I are good examples… that are likely to want to put one and one together to get three."

"In our situation, it was also a commercial opportunity to build intellectual property and validate technologies," France said.

Hesse discussed how Sprint's NASCAR partnership plays a big role in its strong recycling efforts. It also provides an opportunity to reach new users of the company's wireless technology.

"…we work with NASCAR and the drivers and the race tracks to use (NASCAR races) as opportunities for customers to bring their cell phones, regardless of who your provider is," Hesse said. "And of course we activate phones so we sell (to) customers at the race track, and we really encourage them to trade in their old phones so we use the race track as a platform for recycling."

"The Year Ahead 2014" event was hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and also included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm; Gregory D. Wasson, President and CEO, Walgreen Co.; Don Thompson, President and CEO, McDonald's Corporation; Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC.

Click here to watch the entire CEO as Chief Sustainability Officer panel discussion.

Photo credit: Bloomberg Year Ahead Conference


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