This week in sustainable sport (2 June)

This week in sustainable sport (2 June)

LTA unveils Environmental Plan, sustainability licensing obligations for Bundesliga clubs and World Athletics lets us know that Every Breath Counts

In this week’s sustainability and sport news round-up, the Lawn Tennis Association unveils its Environmental Sustainability Plan, the German Bundesliga links sustainability to licensing agreements and World Athletics doubles down on air quality awareness.

British men’s No. 1 backs LTA Environmental Plan

Cam Norrie, the British men’s singles No. 1 tennis player, has given his backing to the Lawn Tennis Association’s first Environmental Plan, acknowledging the organisation’s “long-term commitment” to protect the sport from the worst of climate change.

The LTA’s plan has three main priorities: 

– To achieve net zero emissions (LTA operations and events) by 2030, with operational carbon emissions reduced by 75%

– Reduce waste and energy usage related to LTA operations and major events  

– For British tennis to have a net positive impact on biodiversity, increasing the area of land controlled by the LTA managed for biodiversity by 25% by 2030

Other targets include achieving ISO 20121 certification, ensuring all LTA pension funds and investments are in sustainable portfolios, publishing a biennial sustainability report (all by 2023) and on-boarding sustainability-focused commercial partners by 2026.

“This will necessarily be a long term plan, but we know that changes to climate and our environment are the most significant concern for younger generations,” said Scott Lloyd, the chief executive of the LTA. “It is critical that we listen to these concerns and all play our part to safeguard the sport for future generations, our future tennis fans, players, coaches and volunteers.”

German Bundesliga clubs adopt sustainability criteria

Football clubs competing in the top two leagues in Germany will have to adhere to sustainability requirements to comply with the Deutsche Fußball Liga’s (DFL) licensing criteria, and will be expected to provide evidence of a sustainability and environmental strategy.

As part of the new obligations, clubs – including FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – will have to provide annual measurements of water consumption, wastewater production and energy consumption, as well as mobility and traffic analyses.

All club staff will have to sign up to a code of conduct that demonstrates a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, while the DFL will provide sustainability training opportunities for employees of all clubs.

Sustainability obligations are divided into two ‘Minimum Criteria’ sections. Proof of compliance with Minimum Criteria I is compulsory in the licensing process for the 2023/24 season. Minimum Criteria II is still being defined and will remain optional for the time being.

‘Every Breath Counts’ campaign launched by World Athletics

Kajsa Bergqvist, the Olympic high jump bronze medallist, and world 800m record-holder David Rudisha, are among the athletes to get behind World Athletics’ air quality campaign, Every Breath Counts.

The campaign calls on people across the world to sign a Declaration for Clean Air, which urges national governments and businesses to set more “stringent targets” for air pollution and to increase monitoring in line with World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

It follows a piece of research conducted by the international federation that found 75% of citizens in the UK, US, France and India would like to see a more robust approach to air quality. Two-thirds (65%) believe that governments are not taking the issue as seriously as they should, while 83% agree that clean air is a human right.

Poor air quality claims the lives of seven million people per year, according to WHO, and World Athletics has made it a priority sustainability topic since 2018 when it started to install air quality monitors within its certified tracks.

“In Kenya, ambient air pollution is the fourth-biggest risk factor driving death and disability combined,” Rudisha said. “It saddens me to think about how this will hinder the next generation of aspiring athletes, and how it’s already destroying the health of our people.”

Bergqvist added that it was “deeply unjust” that athletes in parts of the world with poor air quality “face serious health implications” and are “hindered in their pursuit of sporting achievement”.

World Athletics president, Seb Coe, said: “As a runner, I want to ensure that future generations can experience the same freedom and joy that I’ve felt throughout my life. Right now, we have a golden opportunity to come together to call for the change that we need to see in the world.”

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