News article

Environmental sustainability consultation

December 02 2023

Earlier this year, we carried out a sector-wide consultation, supported by our external partner, Useful Projects, to co-develop a vision for our future – a plan for how we can support sports and communities to protect and adapt the environments in which sport and physical activity takes place and work together towards our collective net zero ambitions.

Environmental sustainability consultation

The consultation used a variety of approaches to understand current challenges, action, opportunities and support needed, and comprised of three key pillars:

  • Survey – open to everyone, in particular for grassroots sports clubs and local physical activity groups
  • Interviews – with a range of sustainable sport partners and leading organisations in this space
  • Focus groups – bringing together a range of our system partners, facility owners, leisure providers, and outdoor activity partners.

Why this consultation matters

Extreme weather, the energy crisis and wider climate change are increasingly likely to impact participation levels, inequalities and when, and where, activity takes place.

Equally, the sport and physical activity sector has a significant environmental impact that reinforces these effects.

We have considerable scope, opportunity and obligation to create positive change – and have made a first step towards this by holding a consultation, the findings of which are now published.

This forms part of our Uniting the Movement commitment to tackle climate change by influencing how people live and travel, by connecting this agenda with local priorities around health and active environments, and through the sustainable planning and design of the nation’s sport and leisure facilities.

What we found

Our consultation revealed that the sports and physical activity sector already has a good understanding about environmental impacts and how this will affect clubs, organisations or groups, and plenty of ambition to tackle the issues.

However, the ability to act has been restricted by a wide range of factors, including lack of funding and capacity, rising energy and material costs, extreme weather events (floods, drought and heatwaves), reliance on cars, and waste issues such as recycling.

The key environmental challenges the sector would like training, resources and help to tackle are:

  • Travel – reducing carbon emissions associated with travel to/from the places where sports and physical activity takes place.
  • Buildings – reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions from buildings.
  • Circular economy – reducing consumption and waste associated with kit, equipment and general operations.
  • Water – improving water quality and use, managing rising water costs, and the impact of flooding and drought.
  • Climate change – adapting to extreme weather events, now and in the future.

The results of this consultation will be used to help shape our forthcoming sustainability strategy, to support and influence the grassroots sports and physical activity sector and will be published in due course.

Environmental Sustainability in Sport and Physical Activity

Read our executive summary for an overview of our consultation.

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