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How do you assess the sustainability of a sports organistaion?

Assessing the sustainability of a sports organisation is extremely challenging in the current environment

There is an increasing pressure to be seen to do the right thing and to be accountable and transparent but there are no comprehensive frameworks for the sports industry

There are a mix of programmes and frameworks but none that comprehensively assess the sustainability of a sports organisation

Existing frameworks include the SDGs, the UNFCCC, GRI, ISO Certifications and ESG frameworks

GSS aims to bring these frameworks together into one comprehensive structure for sport

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

UN Sustainable Development Goals


Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

More recently, investors, regulators, as well as consumers and employees are now increasingly demanding that companies should not only be good stewards of capital but also of natural and social capital and have the necessary governance framework in place to support this. The focus has shifted to environmental, social and governance, ESG. These are called pillars in ESG frameworks and represent the 3 main topic areas that companies are expected to report in. The goal of ESG is to capture all the non-financial risks and opportunities inherent in a company’s day-to-day activities.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

UN’S Sport for Climate Action

The UN’s Sport for Climate Action Framework, launched in 2016 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and some of the leading sport entities, has the aim of providing a systematic framework to the multiple, fragmented initiatives already in existence. The UNFCCC encourages sport organizations to help reach the Paris Agreement’s goals, compelling the signatories to take systematic measures to reduce their carbon emissions and reach climate neutrality by 2050. The recently held United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, included numerous sport and climate change focused events, including a panel exploring sport’s role in climate action gathering high-level speakers and signatories of the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework; a panel discussing actions to make sport more sustainable; a panel on the role of sport broadcasting in helping addressing climate change; and a day of youth-focused panels on sport and climate action.

UN’S Sport for Climate Action


Global Sustainability Certifications

There are a wide range of certification programmes including the ISO certification programme which is popular with many major sporting events.

ISO 20121 Certification

Events take a heavy toll on resources, society and the environment, often generating significant waste. In addition to promoting more responsible consumption, this International Standard has been developed to relieve the strain on local infrastructure and utilities, reducing the potential for conflict in communities where events are hosted.

ISO 20121 Certification