NASCAR announced the promotion of Dr. Michael Lynch to vice president, green innovation. The elevation of his role from managing director to VP reaffirms NASCAR’s commitment to aggressively continue to grow the sport’s green platform. As he has done over the past five years at NASCAR, Lynch will champion the adoption and implementation of sustainability practices across the sport.
Lynch joined NASCAR in 2008, shortly after NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France declared the sport would be venturing into an endeavor to reduce its environmental impact. After joining the company, Lynch launched NASCAR Green, which has since grown into the largest sustainability program in all of sports and one of the most powerful and impactful green programs in the public and private sectors.
“We knew that going green was not only the right thing to do, it was also good for business,” said France. “In the process of creating programs and implementing changes to help make our sport more environmentally friendly, Mike has also helped generate commercial opportunities for the entire industry through partnerships with more than two dozen organizations interested in using NASCAR as a platform to uniquely validate their technologies.”
Once coined ‘the dirtiest sport in America,’ NASCAR now boasts the three largest green programs in sports: renewable energy, recycling and clean air. As a result, 75 percent of NASCAR fans now say they ‘believe the sport cares for the environment’ and are ‘aware of NASCAR Green,’ according to Custom Environment-Related Tracker commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna in July 2013.
"NASCAR is a widely embraced and trusted form of community engagement to tens of millions of Americans,” said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council. “NASCAR Green, through Dr. Lynch's leadership, offers the encouraging prospect that millions of sports fans and businesses will be positively influenced about responsible environmental action for years to come."
One of Lynch’s key accomplishments was helping NASCAR develop and launch the world’s most visible biofuels program through the introduction of a 15 percent ethanol blended fuel, made from American-grown corn. In February 2011, Sunoco Green E15 made its competition debut and subsequently reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent while increasing race car horsepower. NASCAR has since put more than five million tough competition miles on the racing fuel.
Since joining the company, NASCAR has recycled more than 20 million bottles and cans; 600,000 race tires; and enough oil to power the Empire State Building for one year. It has also planted enough trees (188,000) to completely offset carbon emissions for all NASCAR national series racing for the past five years of NASCAR Green, plus the next 18 years. Additionally, NASCAR’s Daytona Beach, Fla., headquarters is LEED Gold certified, while NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., has its LEED Silver certification. These bold initiatives also inspired change throughout the industry.
NASCAR has the largest renewable energy stadium project in the world – the solar farm at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway – that powers more than 250 homes in the region. The sport also features teams such as Roush Fenway Racing which recycle as much as 96 percent of each race car.
These enhancements are among many that now make the sport a more attractive partner to companies in the green and technology sectors. Since 2010, the number of green companies investing in NASCAR has grown at a 90 percent rate year-over-year. To date more than 150 green brands have entered the sport as sponsors of our industry with race teams and venues.
“The backbone of NASCAR Green has been the mass adoption and acceptance of sustainable practices by our green-conscious fans; the steadfast involvement of the industry; and the strong and unwavering support from a range of Official NASCAR Partners,” said Lynch. “Thanks to these key stakeholders, we’ve been able to make substantive changes to our operations and business practices and expand the reach and scope of the platform.”
Prior to joining NASCAR, Lynch served as an executive at Tyco International and Boston Consulting Group. He was a tenured professor at Purdue University, with his lab funded by the National Institutes of Health. Lynch graduated the MBA program at the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago with honors in Finance and Strategic Management. Mike also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in studio music and jazz from the University of Miami, where he played tenor saxophone and worked extensively as a professional musician. He has several patents in green technology and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals.