Like so many sectors, the football industry was devastatingly exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. While most of the top European leagues and tournaments managed to navigate towards a conclusion, there was a peculiar and disconcerting feeling to it all.
And while many in the game will be hopeful that solutions will be found to the public health crisis and, in the short-term, bringing people back into stadiums safely, what’s happening now could be the tip of the iceberg.
Climate change and its impacts have the potential to impact football – both grassroots and professional – in an even more negative and profound way. A piece of research conducted by renowned journalist David Goldblatt and the Rapid Transition Alliance found that, in England alone, a quarter of its 92 professional league clubs could be affected by flooding every season.
Sustainability is a growing topic of interest within the world of football, but being sustainable is not just about managing risks like climate change – it’s about building a vision that captures value. It’s about strengthening relationships with fans. Becoming more efficient. And improving your brand and reputation.
Together with Touchline – our parent company and agency that specialises in sport, sustainability and reporting – we’ve put together ‘The football executive’s guide to sustainability strategy’ to help those in the football industry who want to get started with sustainability, but don’t know where to begin.
The guide explores how a football organisation can capture value through sustainability, and also how you can build your vision and align sustainability objectives with stakeholder priorities and international standards. We’ve reflected on some of the latest research in this area, and captured the experiences of some of the most renowned sustainability professionals in football, including:
– Patrick Gasser, UEFA’s head of football and social responsibility
– Bodour Al Meer, environment and sustainability senior manager for the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (Qatar 2022)
– Orjan Lundberg, sustainability expert for the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (Qatar 2022)
– Nico Briskorn, VfL Wolsburg’s head of corporate responsibility
– Andrea Maschietto, Juventus’ sustainability and external relations manager
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) launched its Sustainability Policy on October 12, 2020. This Policy provides the roadmap for the federation’s ten-year Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030 and outlines how the IBU will honour its commitment to establishing biathlon as a leader in promoting and upholding the highest standards of sustainability in sport.
The Policy builds on the work the IBU begun with the approval of its strategic plan Target 26 and demonstrates the IBU’s ambitions by going beyond minimum requirements and setting an example that will influence change across the world of sport.
FIFA recognises its obligation to uphold the inherent dignity and equal rights of everyone affected by its activities. This responsibility is enshrined in article 3 of the FIFA Statutes, according to which: FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.
This human rights policy specifies FIFA’s statutory human rights commitment and outlines FIFA’s approach to its implementation in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The IRF’s aim is to ensure the sport of rafting is sustainable. To achieve this goal, each event should monitor and take appropriate actions to limit the impact on the environment.
Events have an impact on the environment through:
All these elements compose the ecological footprint of an event. Environmental considerations have to be taken into account before, during, and after the events.
Before the event: Most of the ecological footprint reduction can be completed through good planning from the very beginning as that is when you set in stone the overall framework of the event.
During the event: During the event, the organizers need to make sure that the strategies agreed with the venues’ managers and other stakeholders are properly implemented. They will also need to assist attendees and participants in their own individual efforts to contribute to the event’s ecological footprint reduction.
After the event: Organizers will communicate the results to relevant people (venue’s managers, participants, etc).
It is important to take advantage of the efforts put into these event to spread the message that organizing greener events is possible.
This guide to Climate Action is part of the “Sustainability Essentials” series developed by the IOC. IOC aim here is to provide a general understanding of the issues related to climate change and managing carbon (or greenhouse gas/GHG) emissions. The IOC examine what this means, why it is important, how it relates to sport and what a sport organisation can do to address climate change. In addition, IOC look at climate adaptation measures that organisations increasingly need to adopt in order to continue their day-to-day activities in the face of more extreme and variable weather patterns.
Sustainability is one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 alongside credibility and youth. In line with its recommendations, the IOC has developed a Sustainability Strategy. Based on the responsibility of the IOC as an organization, as the owner of the Olympic Games, and as the leader of the Olympic Movement, it focuses on infrastructure and natural sites, sourcing and resource management, mobility, workforce, and climate.
Here you can find the following elements of the IOC sustainability strategy.
A total of 11 White Papers have been produced, clustered into four themes referring to key stakeholder groups. These White Papers aim to present the latest thinking, practice, and debate in relation to key human rights issues involved in the planning, construction, delivery, and legacy of MSEs. Each paper also considers the case for, and potential role of, an independent centre of expertise on MSEs and human rights.
Based on a case study from the Commonwealth Games, this paper explores the human rights duties and responsibilities of mega-sporting event (MSE) ‘Hosts’, defined as the event organising committee and their local and national government counterparts.
It reviews frameworks including UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles) and Children’s Rights and Business Principles as appropriate roadmaps for implementation by the state and private sector actors engaged in MSE delivery and legacy realisation.
It highlights an emerging area of good practice using a case study from the Commonwealth Sports Movement, providing an overview of the steps taken to date, future plans, and lessons learned so far. Whilst at an early stage, it provides a potential direction of travel for other international federations thinking of undertaking a similar journey to integrate human rights considerations in event hosting.
It concludes by reflecting on what this case study implies for an initiative for collective action, and how the initiative with the Commonwealth Sports Movement can provide valuable lessons to inform the development of more universal roles and functions.
It concludes by focusing on the changing support requirements the Commonwealth Sports Movement is likely to need over time as buy-in and capacity in relation to human rights are built.
The science is clear.
What were once suppositions are now irrefutable facts.
Human activity has had an enormous negative impact on the Earth to the point that its regenerative capacities are overshot, threatening ecosystems and lives.
Like any other, the sports’ industry we belong to must share responsibility. It is our duty to minimise likely negative impacts and use our incredible potential to reach the masses and bring about positive change that can still make a difference.
This document is an invitation to our event organiser partners to engage in the journey of social, economic and environmental sustainability within and through the delivery of their event.
Some are already engaged, either on a voluntary basis or due to local legislation, and others have not yet started. Regardless of where you are on this journey, this
document offers a non-exhaustive list of actions to help keep you moving into the direction of sustainability.
It will also serve as a framework for a World Triathlon Sustainability certification system, which will recognise the commitments of Local Organising Committees (LOCs) to minimise their footprint.
All organisations, including those in the world of sport, are responsible for respecting human rights. Through preventing potential negative human rights impacts linked to major events, and providing adequate remedies for abuses that do occur, all organisations involved in delivering a mega-sporting event can better harness sport’s potential for good.
The lifecycle for a mega-sporting event also serves as a microcosm for the whole range of business and human rights issues. With the large amount of public investment associated with these events, and their impacts on local communities, mega-sporting events should be delivered to exemplary standards in all respects – especially with regard for human rights.
The capacity of mega-sporting events to promote human rights is enhanced by the fact that sport is inherently tied to sporting values and fair play, and sport’s history of providing a stage for progressive interventions in issues such as community relations, discrimination, gender equality and personal and social development.
This guide presents the lifecycle of a mega-sporting event, with specific elements of good practice at each stage that those involved in hosting the event should integrate into their planning, delivery and legacy in order to ensure a rights-compliant event.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made great progress in promoting gender equality in terms of balancing the total number of athletes participating at the Games, offering leadership development, advocacy participating at the Games, offering leadership development, advocacy and awareness campaigns, and more recently appointing more women to leadership roles within the administration and governance. The priority of gender equality is reaffirmed in the Olympic Agenda 2020, Recommendation 11.
Meanwhile, many Olympic Movement stakeholders have also implemented significant gender equality initiatives so that girls and women are being given greater access and the opportunity to participate in sport.
However, there are still many challenges which need to be addressed, and the pace of progress is slow, particularly in this fast-paced environment.
To address those challenges, the IOC Executive Board (EB) launched the IOC Gender Equality.
Review Project on 16 March 2017 with a mandate to “push gender equality globally” with “action oriented recommendations for change.”
The adoption and implementation of these project recommendations will fulfil the IOC’s obligation under the Olympic Charter “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures.” It would also significantly contribute to the gender equality objectives of Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Promoting gender equality not only enhances the positive reputation of the IOC, it demonstrates corporate social responsibility to our commercial partners and it utilises the influence of the IOC to benefit society at large.
The positive impact of gender equality is well documented by social science research and business management studies.
Gender equality within the Olympic Movement creates opportunities for women to participate in public society and allows for women to contribute in roles of influence and decision-making responsibilities. It encourages physical activity and healthy lifestyles for women and girls. It encourages diversity of opinion, a key component of good governance and risk management.