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Sport can Become the Leading Industry in Sustainability – if it changes its approach, says IOC

In a bid to help sports organisations become more sustainable, the IOC is publishing a selection of guides demonstrating how they can move from ad-hoc projects to integrated sustainability.
The World Flying Disc Federation recently appointed a sustainability officer to oversee its operations.

The World Flying Disc Federation recently appointed a sustainability officer to oversee its operations.

SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES SUCH AS CLIMATE CHANGE, economic inequality and social injustice are “pressing concerns” for the sports community, says the International Olympic Committee (IOC), both in its management of day-to-day affairs and its “responsibility” towards young people and future generations.

With the publication of its sustainability strategy in late-2016 and the recently-unveiled Sustainability Essentials guide (from which the above paragraph was taken an paraphrased), the IOC has become unequivocal in its stance that both itself as an organisation, and the wider sporting industry, must be leading lights in sustainable practice due to its high profile and status.

Earlier this year at the Sustainable Innovation in Sport Conference in Amsterdam, the governing body’s head of sustainability, Michelle Lemaitre, cemented that position by “making a wish” – “for sport to step up and be the leading industry in sustainability”.

It’s true that for many organisations in the sports industry sustainability is just not a priority. But as it has become a key focus for the IOC (as demonstrated by its inclusion as one of the three strategic priorities of the body’s Agenda 2020 vision), it’s inevitable that related organisations will have to follow that director of travel.

The scope of the IOC’s own sustainability strategy is large, with several strategic intentions around five areas: infrastructure and natural sites; sourcing and resource management; mobility; workforce; and climate.

Read the full article here.

Forest Green Rovers Club Goes Carbon Neutral

Climate Action

Image source: Climate Action

Image source: Climate Action

A football team in England’s lower leagues is taking bold steps to become truly low-carbon and sustainable.

Forest Green Rovers, currently sitting in the fourth tier of English football, has signed up to the UN’s Climate Neutral Now initiative for the upcoming 2018/2019 season.

The move makes the small football club the first in the world to make such a commitment.

It is the latest in the club’s transition to sustainability following its purchase by Dale Vince, owner of local green energy company Ecotricity.

As chairman, Mr Vince has driven forward a change to an all-vegan menu; building electric vehicle charging points; new solar panels on its stadium roof, and even installing a solar-powered lawnmower.

The club’s radical transformation into a green sports pioneer has not gone unnoticed outside of its hometown of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. Last year, The Vegan Society accredited the club with its own trademark and it also beat Manchester United to win a sustainability in sport award from The Climate Coalition.

Read the full story.

European Sports Ministers Form Expert Working Group on Sustainability

Laura Flessel (right), the French sports minister, instigated the working group.

Laura Flessel (right), the French sports minister, instigated the working group.

Twelve ministers from across the European Union have come together to form an expert working group to discuss the ways sport can play a role in tackling environmental issues.

Led by French minister Laura Flessel and backed by the European Commission, the group met for the first time in Paris after cohort of sports ministers endorsed a European vision for sport.

Findings from that meeting will be revealed during a formal council meeting in Brussels in July, where the date for the second working group gathering is expected to be announced.

Following a change to European Commission rules, the group is one of the first two sport-focused expert groups organised by member states, independent of the Commission. The other expert group, instigated by Bulgaria, aims to eradicate match fixing from European football.

Previously, expert working groups could only be arranged by the European Commission. Now, if a member state has the support of seven other states, and the subject is of interest to the Commission, an expert working group can be formalised.

Yves Le Lostecque, head of the European Commission’s Sport Unit, told SSJ that although sport and climate change projects were not currently being financially supported by the Commission, there was more “coordination, cooperation and agreement” between member states to view major sporting events with an environmental dimension.

He added: “Climate change is a topic which has been discussed increasingly in general terms, and clearly become a subject on the EU agenda. That was not the case some years ago, but it is now. This is one of the growing subjects of importance, and one member state that is pushing on this is France.”

The European Commission has formed two further expert working groups in sport: one focusing on integrity in sport, and another looking at human resources, such as education, training, skills and dual careers.

Read the full article here.

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