In the autumn, several events focused on sport and its development took place. Sustainability linked to sport was discussed at the first Sport Alive sports business conference. The Czech Olympic Committee at the ASAP Forum also provided unique inspiration for sustainable projects. Sustainability seems to be reaching the sports sector as well.
How does sustainability reach sport?
At the ASAP Forum, the Czech Olympic Committee presented the results of the ASAP – As Sustainable As Possible project and the Sustainability Strategy of the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak Olympic Committees. The afternoon programme was dedicated to representatives of Czech sports associations and to the topic “How to face new challenges”. The debate on the future of sport and how to respond to the inevitable changes and take them as a new opportunity was followed by workshops on operational and organisational challenges and the decline of the membership base. All members of the Czech Olympic Committee’s Sustainability Board actively participated in the programme.
Over 30 speakers took the stage at Prague’s O2 Universum on the occasion of the first annual Sport Alive conference, which focused closely on sports marketing and sharing successful business stories. The topic of sustainability was mentioned twice.
One of the sports projects with a significant sustainable footprint represents recycled and further recyclable medals made from floorball balls. According to the manufacturer, producing these medals is 86 % more efficient than burning the same amount of input material (based on the CO2 equivalent). The Czech Floorball project won 2nd place in the Best Sports Innovation category within the Sport Alive Awards. The Běhej lesy (Run the Forests) project was a difference maker thanks to the sustainable elements applied in the organisation of the outdoor running series.
What is the main motivation for sport to engage in green and social initiatives?
The motivation is to be different and to have a competitive advantage over other sports, but also among clubs. Going with the trends and satisfying public pressure thus seems to be a good path to take also from a sports marketing perspective. There are legitimate concerns from associations and clubs about the financial and operational demands of sustainable projects or measures. Moreover, the actual implementation of the project and the new operational settings is only one side of the sustainability coin. Emphasis must also be placed on communication to avoid greenwashing.
What sustainability services are suitable for the sports environment?
A whole range. From the development of a long-term sustainability strategy to the implementation of specific projects focused on materials or products and their life cycle analysis. The sports environment is characterised by organising events that can be done sustainably and where the principles of the circular economy or “zero waste” approach may be applied. Sport cultivates as well as educates, which is an opportunity for training and educational events with environmental and social themes both internally and externally. For example, diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities are addressed areas for which many associations have a designated expert committee. Sustainability on a large scale is to be considered when dealing with the operation or construction of a sports complex, where circular and sustainable requirements can already be included in the contract specifications, e.g. for the operating system including additional services, the materials used, the use of the surrounding area of the building with an emphasis on biodiversity or adaptation elements to climate change.
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