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Inspiring insights into climate action in sport shared

Our first online National Conversation focussing on climate action in sport took place today with 70 delegates joining online to hear from a panel of inspiring people.

With more than 3 in 4 people agreeing that sports clubs and Governing Bodies should work to reduce emissions and impact on the planet*, according to recent research which we commissioned it was clear that action is taking place, and there is an appetite for greater collaboration.

The keynote was given by Maree Todd, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport. She set the scene and highlighted the urgency for us to kick start real climate action in sport from professionals to community teams.

Panellists included Hearts Women and New Zealand international Katie Rood, Jim Crawford and Keith Lasley of St Mirren, and Calvin Cox, rugby player and RBS youth ambassador for Aberdeenshire RFC. They all highlighted steps they and their clubs are taking to develop climate action plans, amplify messages to fellow athletes and colleagues, fans and indeed the wider community to raise the need for greater climate action in sport.

Both Katie Rood and Keith Lasley spoke about the importance of the role sport has to play because of the voice it has and the potential it has to make positive change. Our research found that the public agree with this sentiment as 58% of Scots agree that sports clubs should use their platform to encourage climate action with this rising to 60% for Sports Governing Bodies. Keith also spoke about the importance of education on the topic of climate change.

Our public polling highlights that 91% want action to be taken to reduce waste at sports venues so it was great to hear that at both St Mirren and ARFC steps have been taken to increase recycling of waste and reduce single use cups and items.

76% state that action should be taken to improve nature and biodiversity in and around sports facilities. It was heartening to hear Calvin speak about how ARFC is already taking action to improve nature and biodiversity and also mental health by implementing a planting zone at their club.

Catherine Gee, our deputy CEO, who chaired the session, commented: “I’d like to thank the panellists who gave up their time today to join us to talk about their experiences and to help raise the profile of the work being done to combat climate change in sport. I was inspired by the conversations and to hear them talk about practical action that is possible, particularly at a time when so much of the focus more generally is on what can’t be done. We hope that we have created the platform for today’s conversations to continue and to turn into action and collaboration to help us transition to net zero.

“There was a genuine appetite in the event chat for more support to get started, and we look forward to playing our part and working with partners and organisations to realise the significant potential that our sports sector can have.

“We have developed a package of support for clubs, governing body, trust or associations to help understand the risks, responsibilities and opportunities ahead – from training to helping you set sustainability and climate goals. Please just get in touch to find out more.

Our series of online national conversations continues with the next focusing on litter on 23 January 2024.

Find out more about how we can support you to take climate action for sport or watch the session again online.

*All stats are taken from a survey designed by the Diffley Partnership. 

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28 September 2023

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