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How are the Biggest Sporting Events Around the World Tackling Sustainability Drives?

Sport Stadium, Clean Energy Capital, Sustainability

An increased awareness and understanding of sustainable sport has been an important focus for many of the world’s biggest sporting events over recent years. Once an industry of excessive gas consumption, plastic overuse and deforestation, now new and improved sustainability pledges and goals have recently begun to emerge from some major sporting brands.

With so many significant sporting events in the calendar over the next few months, the spotlight has been shifted onto the ethics and sustainability of many of the competitions - from the fuels of Formula 1 to the reformed travel plans of the Rugby World Cup. Global sporting events are a key element of international collaboration, and their impact on the planet has never been more important.

World Rugby and The Environment | Men’s Rugby

8th September 2023 - 28th October 2023

‘With climate change affecting all aspects of society and impacting rugby communities around the world, rugby has a duty to take relevant and credible steps to minimise negative impacts while adopting positive actions.’

In the summer of 2022, World Rugby released their official sustainability pledge and commitment statement - sharing the different ways that the sport would be making positive sustainable changes throughout the industry. With their three central values being Climate Action, a Circular Economy and Natural Environment Protection, and promise to improve the environmental conditions of the rugby communities at higher risk of climate change, their goal is to help improve the sport overall by 2023.

As the Rugby World Cup is currently underway, these values have been accurately reflected in some of the changes found within the arenas and sport itself. From swapping 83% of the teams airline travel to international train journeys and instilling a tried-and-testing recycling waste management system, the game organisers in France has also engaged a carbon absorption programme to reduce and offset the emissions of the event.

Ryder Cup Green Drive | Men’s Golf

29th September 2023 - 1st October 2023

‘Combining inspirational sport with social and environmental responsibility.’

As the Ryder Cup approaches, many will be looking forward to a weekend of quality mens golfing on the beautiful Italian green, with plenty of spectators and fans in attendance. The event is set to be led by sustainable targets established through the Ryder Cup's Green Drive and the UN Decade of Action, with a desire to create ‘net positive’ impacts for players, teams, investors and supporters throughout the tournament.

Sharing their focus on energy efficiency, clean events, responsible consumption and demonstrative carbon reductions, the Green Drive is a clear set of examples of how the Ryder Cup and all major sporting events can prioritise sustainability in sport.

Formula 1 aims to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 | Formula One

5th March 2023 - 26th November 2023

‘We continue to lead the way in creating a sustainable sport for fans around the world to enjoy, using innovative technology & changing the way we work’

The ongoing season of racing has already delivered fans some great scenes, with surprising podium placements and some early driver knockouts making it an exciting race to the finish. With the final race taking place in Abu Dhabi, many countries and host cities have had to deliver their own sustainable approaches to supporting the race, from Singapore and Silverstone to Miami and Monaco.

Within the sport itself, however, Formula 1 has been rapidly experimenting with and developing new sustainable alternatives for their fuel, cars, equipment and materials, with each team delivering new updates on a regular basis. With a detailed Sustainability page featured on the core Formula 1 website, a goal of becoming net zero by 2023 and plans for hybrid engines and clean fuels by 2025 , the drive for sustainability is certainly clear.

Cricket For Good | ICC Cricket

5th October 2023 - 19th November 2023

‘ICC is currently developing a sustainability plan for Cricket World Cup 2023’

Established as one of the most ‘significant sporting events worldwide’, the Cricket World Cup 2023 in India is a long-awaited and much anticipated tournament, with fans from around the world expected to attend en masse. With the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) learning from past cricketing events, this year’s World Cup is set to be a more sustainable, ethical and efficient competition than ever before.

Over recent years, cricket as a sport has faced some of the most difficult repercussions of climate change, with players spending long hours outside in increasing temperatures, unpredictable weather and dangerously unsafe environments. But through the BCCIs insistence on the reduction of plastic packaging throughout the stadiums, playing fields and equipment, a more efficient waste management system and a reformed approach to managing the cricket green itself, they’ve helped to make the 2023 World Cup a much cleaner and greener event.

Paris 2024 - Environmental Ambition | Olympic Games

26th July 2024 – 11th August 2024

‘Placing sustainability at the heart of the Paris 2024 project’

Finally, after a long four year wait, the Paris Olympics are fast approaching. With the eyes of the world watching, the pressure is on for Paris to meet the high standards of the host countries who came before - both in terms of cultural extravagance and in terms of their approach to a sustainable event. Following the commitment made in IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, the Parisian organisers have taken significant steps to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable and environmentally-friendly event.

By reusing existing buildings and venues, implementing carbon offsetting, installing eco-friendly woodburners, using renewable energy and sourcing sustainable food options for competitors and fans, the 2023 Paris games are competing to be one of the greenest to date so far. Even more favourably, the organisers have promised to outsource several key elements of their sustainability drives to start ups, local businesses and SMEs to help retain a positive circular economy within France itself.


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