This week in sustainable sport (8 July)

This week in sustainable sport (8 July)

World Athletics tests Sustainable Event Management System, sport urged to go plastic free and tennis and football encouraged to review calendars

In this week’s sustainability and sport news round-up, World Athletics tests its Sustainable Event Management System and unveils its first sustainability report, the Environment Agency urges sport to go plastic free and tennis and football encouraged to review calendars

World Athletics tests Sustainable Event Management System

More than two dozen one-day athletics events have been used as the testing ground for World Athletics’ Sustainable Event Management System (SEMS) – a piece of “best practice guidance” that covers 15 areas of event planning and delivery. These 15 areas include having a sustainability plan in place, sustainable procurement, waste, energy, food, water and monitoring and reporting, among others.

The System is tiered by gold, silver and bronze levels, aligned with the level of commitment an event shows around sustainability. Cities bidding for World Athletics events from the latter half of 2022 will be required to commit to a gold level of achievement.

In addition, World Athletics published its first-ever sustainability report, reflecting on early progress on the objectives set out in its 10-year sustainability strategy in early 2020.

Sports sector urged to go plastic-free

A ‘Plastic Free July’ campaign established by the Environment Agency in the UK has encouraged the sports sector to “kick plastic out of sport”.

Toolkits have been sent to more than 100 sports organisations to raise awareness of environmentally-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic items. As part of the campaign, sports organisations will be urged to use deposit return schemes, re-wear old kit, avoid single-use plastic waste at celebrations and sign up to Hannah Mills’ Big Plastic Pledge.

“Everyone has a part to play in minimising their avoidable plastic consumption and carbon footprint to help conserve the natural world,” said Hannah Amor, Environment Agency project lead. “Sport can influence thousands of people that may otherwise not engage with environmental issues.”

Tennis and football ‘need to reduce’ their calendars

Both tennis and football have been encouraged to reduce the amount of tournaments and fixtures played in an attempt to reduce the related carbon emissions.

During a sustainability event at Wimbledon, former British No. 1 Laura Robson said that a reduced calendar would not only be helpful for the planet, but also player health and performance.

“We need to be more aware of what we’re doing and be more cohesive throughout the tour about tackling this issue,” she told the BBC.

In the same week, at the Play the Game conference in Denmark, football was encouraged to do the same by Canadian professor, Tim Walters.

“I think we need to be treating this as an emergency and that requires fundamentally rethinking the way we do sports. For me, that involves reducing the amount of sport. You can cut the amount of football in half any day and forever,” he said.

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