Your guide to sustainable leadership, innovation and strategy in the sports industry
Can sport shine a light on climate injustice?
Forest fires, melting ice caps, extreme storms. It’s easy to perceive climate change as an ‘environmental problem’, external from the everyday lives of humans, particularly for those of us who live in parts of the world where climate impacts aren’t quite so stark yet.
But climate change is a human problem, with people’s health, jobs, security and recreation impacted.
Some people are affected more than others. In general terms, people who are poorer economically, who come from certain ethnic backgrounds and live in certain neighbourhoods or nations feel the negative consequence more keenly than richer counterparts living in more developed nations and regions.
That’s where climate justice comes into play.
In this episode of the podcast, Jessica Murfree, visiting professor at Texas A&M University and academic focusing on the intersection of sport, climate and justice, and Sean McCabe, the climate justice officer for Bohemian Football Club in Ireland, discuss how sport can shine a light on this inequality.
Episode #82 talking points:
– What climate injustice is and how people experience it
– How leagues, clubs and federations can help to bridge inequalities when it comes to the impact of climate change on human beings
– Why climate justice should be a key consideration for sports organisations putting together sustainability plans
Working with similar organisations to achieve sustainability goals
Support and practical help, or lack of, is often the number one reason for inaction when it comes to sustainability. The will is there, but the fear persists that it won’t be done right, leading to a number of negative consequences.
In episode #81 of the podcast, we explore the ASAP (As Sustainable As Possible) project, in which three National Olympic Committees (NOCs) with relatively mature approaches to sustainability (Finnish, Danish, German) support three mentee NOCs who want to reach a similar level (Czech, Slovak, Hungarian), with comprehensive sustainability strategies.
Jana Janotova (Czech Olympic Committee) and Igor Kovac (Slovak Olympic Committee) reveal what they learned from their respective mentors, while Karoliina Ketola (Finnish Olympic Committee) details her role as a mentor.
Episode #81 talking points:
– How sports organisations of a similar size and structure can work together to address sustainability challenges
– What the six NOCs did to support each other with sustainability strategy creation and early implementation
– Why existing tools are an important starting point for strategy work – and why the “wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented”
Organising a climate neutral World Championships
Becoming a sustainability leader has been earmarked as a way to differentiate and attract new fans and partners for emerging sports.
In this episode of the podcast, we discover how the sport of floorball is making environmental responsibility a key part of its growth strategy, principally through one of its key events: the Men’s World Floorball Championships in Zürich later this year.
Daniel Kasser (Zürich 2022 organising committee), Kai Rassmus Landwehr (MyClimate) and Tero Kalsta (International Floorball Federation) talk us through the preparations to make the event climate neutral.
Episode #80 talking points:
– What the World Championships organising committee and MyClimate are doing to reduce carbon emissions by 56% compared with the 2018 event
– How the fans will play their part in this reduction plan through “fun” initiatives
– Why the International Floorball Federation believes its sustainability credentials can be leveraged to appeal to new fans and partners
How to be a sustainable champion
Instigating a large mangrove planting project. Free-diving to collect trash from lakes and ocean. Collecting unwanted table tennis equipment and giving it a new life.
These are just some of the endeavours being undertaken by world-class, Olympic-competing athletes who also care strongly about the planet. In an effort to get more athletes to get behind the environmental cause, the IOC has told these stories and paired them with practical advice in its latest guide, ‘How to be a sustainable champion’.
In this edition of the podcast, Julie Duffus, the IOC’s senior sustainability manager, talks us through it.
Episode #79 talking points:
– How athletes can speak up for the environment and be a friend to nature
– What current athlete sustainability champions are doing to support the cause
– Why the guide and athlete advocacy is important for the IOC’s overall sustainability plans
How sport is accelerating circular innovation for carbon fibre
Around 80% of Winter Olympic sports and 50% of Summer Olympic sports use carbon fibre in their equipment. Indeed, according to Dan Reading, sport is the industry that uses the third-largest amount of carbon fibre for high performance equipment.
The problem is that carbon fibre is very difficult to repurpose when equipment is broken or no longer fit for purpose.
But as part of the Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance, Reading has helped to accelerate a method to extract material from unwanted products to be used again in new pieces of equipment. In this podcast, Reading and Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance colleagues Bill Severa and Lourens Blok explain what they’ve done and how they’re taking the project forward.
Episode #78 talking points:
– Sport’s role in accelerating the repurposing of carbon fibre from unwanted or broken equipment
– Progress made on the development of a tennis racket produced with 50% recycled carbon fibre
– How the technology used to extract and realign the carbon fibre can scale up
Crafting your voice as an athlete climate activist
Olympic medal-winning racewalker Evan Dunfee started getting politically active around climate change when the Covid-19 pandemic put his competitions on ice. Jules Burnotte, the Canadian biathlete, has been a lover of the natural environment, and politically active to protect it, for as long as he can remember.
Two athletes, two experiences. But both intent on using their influence to make a positive environmental impact.
In this episode of the podcast, Dunfee and Burnotte detail their unique journeys that have helped them craft their voice.
Episode #77 talking points:
– How athletes can craft their voice, when to use it and how avoid “missteps”
– What Evan and Jules do to balance climate activism and elite sports performance
– Why and how sports organisations should support athletes wanting to be more vocal or involved