Sport as a Force for Good.
Sport has been hit hard over the past six months. Silence in the Stadiums, Mass participation events like London, Boston, Berlin, New York and Chicago Marathons all cancelled or postponed. Disappointment for participants and audiences alike and huge financial loss for Charities many of whom rely on these annual events for their income.
So whilst we wait for Sporting Events to return and we find new ways to celebrate and participate in sport virtually and in our own space and time for now. I wanted to recognise and look at how sport can play a part in the future of our planet. And to showcase some of the fantastic things organising committees have done and are doing going forward.
WE LOVE SPORT.
We all know Sport is good for you. For both Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Sport not only has a positive impact on your weight, Heart and Lungs, it also reduces stress, helps you sleep better and improves your confidence.
I myself have taken part in numerous events - Triathlons, Half Marathons, and Marathons and spent a large part of my career organising Mass Participation Sports Events. One of the key elements of any sporting event is Hydration but of course this often comes in the form of bottled water. Time and time again I have witnessed hundreds of bottles littering the streets and the finish line, and what about the huge number of people travelling to take part and watch that event.
It has left me wondering what we can do to be more sustainable and what is the alternative to single use plastic.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM WORLD LEADERS?
In April 2019 London Marathon Events (LME) committed to becoming a World Leader in delivering sustainable mass participation sports events, and ensuring zero waste to landfill, by December 2020, and whilst this date may have shifted slightly due to Covid they are definitely on the right path.
In 2019 LME published its first Environmental Report 'Leaving the Right Impression' which sets out the waste, emissions and products produced across all of LME's events, headquarters and Warehouses. You can read the full report here
What I thought was really inspiring about this, is that they looked at all areas of the business. What people see is plastic bottles on the side of the road, but if organisations want to make a real difference they need to look at the whole picture, here are some of the changes that they implemented:
TOKYO OLYMPICS 2020 (NOW 2021)
Another really big leader in this field is the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics is a huge event for any Country let alone the host city and Tokyo recognises the impact the games will have not only on their country but on Society as a whole..
"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are among the worlds largest sporting events. This impact is not limited to sport, but also on Society, the Economy and the Environment we aim to ensure that the positive impacts of the Tokyo 2020 games will extend far beyond the parameters of Tokyo, the host city to encompass the whole of Japan, and the world".
Below are the key areas that they have looked at:
I like the fact that they have really considered their audience in this, providing advise on travel to the venue such as choosing an airline which can offset the CO2 emissions produced from your flight through various schemes, as well as utilising public transport and even advise on how to reduce your carbon emissions in your hotel accommodation.
They have also outlined on their website how waste will be segregated at the venue so that people are aware of what to do before they arrive.
So much of sustainability is about education and changing behaviour and your audience plays a big part in that. Its great to see sports stadiums implementing sustainable solutions but if your audience aren't playing their part then this can really impact on all your fantastic efforts.
FOREST GREEN ROVERS
And finally we can't talk about sustainability in Sport and not mention 'Forest Green Rovers'. The worlds only vegan football club and first U.N certified carbon neutral sports club. FGR was recognised as the worlds first Vegan Football club in 2017 after receiving investment from Dale Vince a British Green Energy Industrialist .
So how has this gone down with fans and players.....
"That might all sound a little strange to fans used to burgers and chips at games but since we replaced red meat and stodgy snacks with freshly made veggie burgers, vegan fajitas, and a revolving menu of locally -sourced vegan dishes we've made a big impact on fans, players and even other clubs".
...and they have big plans, following on from their green initiatives at their current football ground 'The New Lawn' they plan to build what they believe will be the Greenest football Stadium in the world. Read more about the club and their future plans here.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Whilst its clear that the leaders of the sports world have a responsibility to lead from the front in order to impact on others and to show what can be done. We should not forget that we all have a part to play from grass roots clubs, to mass participation events organisers, as a participant or a spectator, in the words of the Tokyo Olympics 'Be Better Together'.
Look out for future blog posts from me as I explore Sustainability in different types of events. I am also trying to go plastic-free, follow my progress via Instagram. @greensenseevents
If you require a Sustainable Event Management Service, or would like to talk to me further about how to plan a Sustainable event please contact Green Sense Events for a free consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org