Athletes, spectators, and other stakeholders are expecting sustainable and carbon neutral sporting events including at practices and matches. This expectation isn't only for professional clubs and leagues, but anyone can practice sustainability and carbon neutrality in their sport such as:
If you are a team manager, coach, team owner, investor, or athlete, and you want to learn about how sports can become carbon neutral, then this is for you! We will share some of the environmental impacts of practicing sports and their events and some examples of associations and teams that are going carbon neutral so you can go carbon neutral too. We'll also tell you how Net0 can help measure, reduce, and offset your carbon emissions and how you can become carbon neutral certified fast.
UN Climate Change has created the movement Sports for Climate Action (UNSCA) to unify athletes, teams, spectators, and stakeholders of every kind to get involved in the change. While the sports industry has been the receivers of problems regarding climate change such as uncomfortable temperature increases, debates about geography for international events, and more, they have also been large contributors to energy costs in large arenas due to lighting, air conditioning, merchandising, and other unsustainable actions lying outside of carbon neutrality such as plastic water bottle and cup use and other poorly packaged food and drink materials, and what is more, with no place to recycle.
The two main encompassing objectives are:
Moreover, the signatories of the movement are being asked to halve emissions by 2030 (with 2019 being their baseline) and eliminate emissions by 2040. Within one year of signing, the signatories will have to submit their plans to achieve their targets. They are encouraged to join working groups to fulfill the principles in the framework that combat climate change. The principles are required although the working groups are optional. There are more than 200 signatories at the moment between professional leagues, teams, and federations, and over 60 on the race to net zero. However, this isn't only limited to professional sports. Local clubs in various sports and activities at any age and level can achieve carbon neutral athletics.
While sports are healthy and fun, we have to take responsibility for environmental care. Even though achieving net zero is important, other parts of the environment are damaged through waste, plastic, lack of recycling receptacles, wasted water, and more. It's not only CO2 emissions that are destructive but we'll focus on that. It isn't a bad thing to enjoy and participate in these sports but some emissions are going to be unavoidable so these sports can exist. In that case, they would need to be offset with other projects that will benefit us in the future, like renewable energy so we can switch to alternatives and therefore, need less offsets in the future. We'll point out some of the most CO2 emitting scenarios although these are not all of them.
If you want to know more about combating climate change, please check out our library of free resources including:
• Article: 10 Reasons Net0 Is the Best Carbon Accounting Platform
• Article: Carbon Offsetting for Events
• Article: Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Carbon neutrality in sports would be nearly impossible without carbon accounting software because emissions have to be measured to be able to reduce them and offset the unavoidable ones presently. Obviously in other eco-friendly matters, we can all take actions not to litter and use plastic although people do not take them. They are easy steps. But it would be impossible to see an ice hockey game in a place without a frozen lake and not safe to play sports on one either, so we need a rink. While switching to renewable energy is the solution for excessive energy use, until we fully transition to zero carbon, we will have to measure and offset the emissions in order to make proper reduction strategies leading to the elimination of emissions.
Net0 provides a carbon calculator for athletes so they can calculate and offset their emissions.
Between 2018 and 2021, the Olympics more than halved their emissions from 1.637 million tonnes CO2e to 489,000 t-CO2e. This year they are going carbon neutral. How are they doing this?
Although many teams, leagues, and associations have signed carbon neutrality agreements, we'll highlight a few examples of what is happening in professional sports and climate action.
The ATP tour has set targets to fight against climate change and the players are enthusiastic about the ATP Serves Sustainability strategy. They even offset all emissions from the Nitto ATP Finals for tennis families and spectators transport in 2019.
Arsenal was the first Premier League Club member to sign the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. In 2019 they topped the league on sustainability measures. They also partnered with Octopus Energy in 2016 to be fully reliant on renewable energy and with Ball Corporation for aluminum packaging. A complete list of Arsenal's sustainability actions can be read on their website including water recycling, lighting, food and drink packaging, and more.
Tottenham Hotspur FC encourages sustainability in everything they do in their stadium, even planting tens of thousands of plants for a nice ecological habitat. Back in 2010 they founded the 10:10 initiative which encouraged the community to cut carbon emissions 10% that year. They're also committed to sustainability in other areas of their stadium such as packaging, waste, and energy.
Juventus was the first Italian football club and the 150th signatory to the UNSCA Framework. They were also the first Italian club to join the UN's Climate Neutral Now which encourages the community and businesses to measure, reduce, and offset their carbon emissions.
To name an example of the most recent way sports are on the receiving end of climate change, Los Angeles, California, USA hit a temperature on February 13, 2022, during Super Bowl LVI. The average February daytime temperature is 53F/12C. But during Super Bowl LVI, temperatures rose to 87F and only two days later dropped to 45F at night. What is usually a winter occasion, the football players and spectators were exhausted in the heat. It was the hottest Super Bowl Sunday ever recorded, (but the hottest February 13th was recorded at 90F).
However, don't forget that the spectators of the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB emit 35,000 tons of CO2 per year, according to wm.com, and that the Super Bowl Halftime Show alone emits a ridiculous amount of emissions through energy, the transportation of stage materials, and the construction, breakdown, and waste of those same stage materials right after. Plus, the production of TV and all of the infamous commercials that run for seconds specifically for that event, never to be run again, and the emissions from that equipment.
All sports associations and clubs are being asked to join the UNSCA this decade and pressure is on from spectators around the world. Setting benchmarks and making goals with carbon management software will get your team and venue on the fast track to becoming carbon neutral.
Whether you are a professional or local team, venue, league, or stakeholder, you can contribute to taking climate action now. Book a demo for free with Net0 today and we can show you how easy it is to achieve net zero fast.
Main image photo credit: Canva