Update from PlayGreen: Green Teams are forming to make sports events sustainable!

On 29-30 October, an Erasmus+ Sport collaborative partnership project where ENGSO is a partner, PlayGreen, had its second meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, hosted by the Estonian Football Association. The meeting was also attended by six international volunteers from our newly formed 'Green Team'. The Green Team members were introduced to the aims of the project and the tasks they need to fulfill in their countries to support our mission to lower the environmental impact of sports competitions and make them greener and more sustainable.

The meeting agenda included team-building activities, interesting discussions and workshops such as the development of the communication campaign of each national Green Team to bring more volunteers into our cause and raise awareness about the project aims. On behalf of ENGSO, Project Coordinator Dr Niki Koutrou delivered a workshop to support partners in mentoring, engaging, rewarding and supporting their Green Team volunteers, who will later be tasked to develop a ‘Green Football League’ in their respective countries.

“It is exciting to see that our joint efforts to promote Green Sports are well-received by young Europeans, who are willing to take climate action and join PlayGreen. I hope, with this training, we provide a rewarding, fun and capacity-building experience to empower our new volunteers in their journey towards promoting environmental sustainability in and through sports across Europe’’, says Niki Koutrou.

Later on, the Malta Football Association, Football Flanders and the Estonian Football Association led a workshop and exchanged ideas and information on their recently launched volunteer recruitment campaigns. These activities form part of the first Intellectual Output of PlayGreen which is to produce a guide on environmental volunteering in sports and transfer knowledge to other sports organisations that are interested in replicating the project.

Later in the afternoon, PlayGreeners visited the National Football stadium of Estonia, had a tour around the facilities, explored the potential impacts that sports events have on the environment, and brainstormed ideas on how to reduce such impacts. The team was also given the opportunity to play walking football, one of the most popular forms of football in Estonia and get to know each other in an active and fun way.

Browse through the gallery by clicking on the arrows. (Photo credits: Gertrud Alatare)

One key workshop of the meeting was dedicated to the mentoring relationship between the National Federations and the Green Team Volunteers, in which ENGSO provided input and facilitated exchange between the partners. ENGSO PlayGreen Project Assistant Dirk Falken presented two new tools for Quality in Learning Mobility of the Council of Europe and European Union Partnership in the field of youth.

“After learning about these new tools at a meeting in Budapest earlier this year, I am glad to share this with our partners. I hope these tools will help guide the federations in a positive mentoring relationship with the volunteers”, says Dirk Falken.

The day concluded with a workshop led by Ecoserveis on the indicators each Green Team could use to monitor the energy and other resources used during football competitions, and brainstorm about creative solutions to lower the ecological footprint of sports events.

The second day kicked off with a creative task. PlayGreeners developed a video to launch the Green Team communication campaign and raise awareness about the project. Green Team members then had a tour around Tallinn, while partners continued their work on the Intellectual Output 2. It is about understanding and evaluating volunteer experiences and motivations to join PlayGreen, the skills’ developed and other impacts. The Output will be a scientific study that will hopefully create positive impact and benefit other sports beyond football. The day concluded with a communication presentation and strategies to raise further awareness about the project.

ENGSO representatives, Dirk Falken and Niki Koutrou at the meeting (Photo credits: Gertrud Alatare)
ENGSO representatives, Dirk Falken and Niki Koutrou at the meeting (Photo credits: Gertrud Alatare)

The next project meeting will take place in June 2020. Until then, the football association project partners and their Green Teams will be busy with organising their Green Football Leagues. Ecoserveis and ENGSO will also provide mentoring and support throughout the next few months, so that our Green Team members feel empowered and confident in undertaking climate actions through sports.

For more information about PlayGreen and for joining our efforts to establish a network of sports organisations that are interested in environmental sustainability, visit the PlayGreen website.