Could the sports industry become one of the world’s biggest sustainability influencers?
Sports has always been widely perceived to generate social impacts. When you consider a sports influencer, you think of designer fashion, exercise regimes or even socialising habits, but what if this powerful machine could use its influence to encourage a more green conscious generation?
At the recent ATPI and iSportsconnect Roundtable event, the potential of the sports industry as a sustainability influencer was a much discussed topic between leading sports stakeholders and ATPI’s very own Pippa Ganderton, Adam Knights and Pete Gill. Throughout this article we will touch on the idea that the sports industry could become one of the biggest sustainability voices in the world.
In recent years we have seen a significant cultural shift to the climate change narrative, especially amongst Millennials and Generation Z. With growing consciousness amongst younger consumers and scepticism concerning the merits of capitalism being impossible to ignore, many global corporations are recognising the need to address the issue of climate change within the next ten years.
Sports clubs across the world however seem to be playing catch-up. Granted, teams such as Juventus FC now house a sustainability department, World Athletics now monitor air quality on 1,000 running tracks across the world and ATPI partners, The Ocean Race, who were one of the first to recognise the need to embrace sustainability to safeguard the future of their sport, have created an immersive, curriculum-based sustainability programme for school children, but are these initiatives enough?
A huge percentage of the industry still needs to be educated further on the pitfalls of climate change and with the power to influence the non-TikTok generation, now is the time to stand-up and create a buzz around environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) across the wider sports spectrum.
One of the themes that occurred during the iSportconnect event was that sports stakeholders and investors need further guidance from the experts and governing bodies on how sustainability initiatives can be implemented. Initiating such a scheme does sound daunting, but with offsetting offerings such a ATPI Halo available to corporations, sports stalwarts are able to measure, reduce and offset carbon emissions in an effective and easy process.
Once ESG and governance of truly auditable schemes are reflected within top federations and associations, the effect will ultimately trickle down to millions of sports fans across the world. Environmentally sound clubs and associations will become more attractive to global investors and sponsors but with the added benefit of actually doing something good for the planet.
Many large sports teams anticipate government legislation before considering green credentials, however, even small, achievable steps from federations and players will show the world stage that sport could in fact become one of the world’s biggest green influencers.