“Society as a whole needs to live in a more sustainable way, not only football fans”
This was one of the key take-away messages of the only sport-focused session at the EU Green Week Conference that took place in Brussels on 15-17 May.
In the session titled “How to TACKLE the environmental impacts of football and other sporting events” two presentations and a panel discussion took place, all around sustainable management of sporting events.
The author of the above quote is Patrick Gasser, Head of the Football and Social Responsibility Unit of UEFA, who highlighted the importance of a much-needed shift in people’s thinking towards a more sustainability-focused one. He believes that the most important among all 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations is Goal #13, Climate Action. As also emphasised that all the stadia that will host games during the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship will be used after the one-month tournament, and this sustainable aspect will balance out the event’s negative environmental impacts.
During the panel discussion the LIFE TACKLE programme was presented. It is a project co-financed by the EU’s LIFE Programme and it aims at improving the environmental management of football matches and also the level of attention towards environmental issues in football. Project Director Tiberio Daddi pointed out that football can be used as a megaphone of environmental issues, as an awareness-raising channel among fans.
Annica Skanderbeck, Senior Project Manager at Stockholm Live AB - a company that runs six attractions, including five arenas in Stockholm - pointed out that apart from choosing energy-efficient solutions, recycling more and thinking consciously when purchasing goods for the arenas, collaboration with all stakeholders involved - from suppliers to fans - is also key in making sports events more environment-friendly.
More information about the session, including the two keynote speeches on exemplar green practices in sports, along with the video recording of the session can be found here.
ENGSO truly believes that sustainability should always be a priority when organising sporting and sport-related events, and therefore joined forces with some like-minded organisations within an Erasmus+ Sport collaborative partnership. The “PlayGreen” project aims to create volunteering opportunities for young people focused on sport and the environment. It is led by Asociacion Ecoserveis, and its implementing partners along with us are the football governing body of Malta, Latvia, Estonia and Flanders. You can find more information about the PlayGreen project on the Erasmus+ projects’ platform, its Facebook page and Twitter account.