Education and partnerships to deliver sustainability in sport

Last week, industry stakeholders and influencers from sporting federations, teams and athletes gathered alongside governments, broadcasters, NGO sand businesses in Munich, Germany, for the Sustainable Innovation in Sport Forum.  

Topics discussed at this year’s Forum included how to leave a mega sports event legacy, how to integrate sustainability into stadiums and venues, and how to engage with and influence fans.

Allen Hershkowitz, Founder of Sport and Sustainability International, highlighted that the key to addressing sustainability issues is to change the way people relate to their environment.

Susie Tomson, Sustainability Director at Land Rover BAR, spoke on how the team places educating the future generation at the centre of their sustainability strategy, while VukKaranovic, Development Manager at ConfédérationEuropéenne de Volleyball (CEV) detailed how the organisation is reaching out to young fans, including fifteen youth festivals that occur across the world each year and CEV’s clean the beach initiative.

Over the two days, key insights were provided by a range of speakers representing many sports, including golf, motorsport, football, American Football, tennis, sailing and many more.

Speakers shared the achievements of their respective organisations, Arsenal Football Club’s use of LED lighting has reduced costs by 25 per cent and the BBC’s sustainability efforts have resulted in the broadcaster’s footprint decreasing by 25 per cent.

Delegates were given the opportunity to engage in a series of in-depth discussions, including what makes a successful climate and sports strategy and how to educate the industry about climate change during the expert led roundtables session.

The key takeaways from the event, highlighted by Event Director Claire Poole was “the need for partnerships, partnerships, partnerships” to advance sustainable innovation in sport as well as the importance of education and influencing fans to adopt more sustainable behaviours.

The event highlighted that although significant progress has been made, there is still much more to be done.

Event Chairman and Former Head of Sustainability for London 2012, David Stubbs emphasised the need for a new narrative which acknowledges the challenges the industry faces and voices how it plans to learn from and overcome them.

All participants acknowledged that the sport industry is faced with a unique opportunity to facilitate and influence sustainable change beyond the world of sport.

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