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Global Sustainable Sport launches the GSS Champions of Sustainability Programme 2023

May 05 2023
Global Sustainable Sport launches the GSS Champions of Sustainability Programme 2023

Global Sustainable Sport (GSS), ahead of The Spot conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, is today launching its digital interactive Champions of Sustainability map in partnership with Iventis, a leading digital event software company. The digital map highlights sports organisations from all parts of the world that are driving sustainability through sport. The map is part a series of initiatives that GSS will be launching in the coming months as part of its GSS Champions of Sustainability Programme 2023.

The GSS Champions of Sustainability programme will provide a framework against which sports organisations can assess their sustainability programmes. It will also showcase the great work that organisations are doing in the area of sustainability, and provide workshops and an education platform to continue to improve their practices, as they “Champion” a more sustainable future for sport and the planet.


The Champions of Sustainability Survey

The full programme will launch at the end of May, when the GSS Champions of Sustainability survey will be sent out to over 5,000 events and organisations, providing the most comprehensive survey on sport and sustainability to date. The survey, which is free and simple to complete, will assess events and organisations across the seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport. A summary of answers will be provided to participants after completing the survey, and each participant who achieves a certain level of rating will then appear on the GSS Champions of Sustainability map. Just under 300 companies have already been identified as reaching the minimum standard to be recognised as a Champion of Sustainability.

After completing the survey, participants will be invited to participate in the GSS Champions of Sustainability programme in 2023. Using their survey responses and an assessment of the level of their sustainability programme, they will be graded into four groups: bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. The platinum groups will feature organisations and events who are leading the way in sustainability, while gold, silver, and bronze groups will feature participants at earlier stages of their sustainability journey. Particpants in the programme will then be taken through a phased process to achieve their final and official grading at the end of 2023.

Workshops and an education platform will be available for participating organisations, providing participants with the opportunity to move up a grading as they develop their programmes. Following on from the first workshop, Sustainability in Sport, which took place in April, further workshops will be held throughout the year, each covering one of the seven sustainable pillars. Meanwhile, a dedicated School of Sustainability, an online educational platform developed in collaboration with expert sustainability practitioners and academics, will offer a range of courses for anyone interested in any aspect of sustainability to ensure a positive impact on their day-to-day work. Those interested in receiving further information are encouraged to register here.

At the beginning of 2024 Global Sustainable Sport will publish a series of digital reports highlighting key findings of the programme, showcasing best practice in sport sustainability from across the world and providing in-depth analysis of each group, broken down by region, nation, sport, and sector. Planned reports include regional reports covering Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America, and the Pacific; national reports covering a wide variety of countries like Australia, Canada, Finland, France, India, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA; and sport reports covering athletics, football, golf, motor racing, rugby, sailing, tennis, and winter sports. The reports will provide an unprecedented global assessment of sport and sustainability and a critical resource for the industry as it looks to 2030 and beyond.


The seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport

The GSS Champions of Sustainability programme is based on the seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport, a bespoke framework that meets the specific needs of the sports industry and captures the true value of sport.

Until now, assessing the sustainability of a sports organisation has been a challenging task. Existing models, such as the SDGs, the UNFCCC, GRI, ISO certifications and ESG frameworks, do not fully capture the reach and scope of the sports industry. By bringing the best of these frameworks together, the seven Sustainable Pillars of Sport—covering partnerships, participation, people, planet, power, profile, and prosperity—finally provides a standard framework that can be applied to assess sustainability in sports organisations globally.

The Champions of Sustainability survey will assess organisations across these pillars, providing a comprehensive, industry-specific, standardised framework against which organisations can measure their progress.


Building on success stories

The Champions of Sustainability programme will build on Global Sustainable Sport’s features and news that highlight and promote sports sustainability across the world.

GSS has already identified over 800 sports organisations who are driving sustainability through sport, including sports, nations, cities, federations, leagues, teams, Olympic committees, events, venues, suppliers, and academic institutions. These organisations come from over 360 cities from 60+ nations, covering nearly 100 sports. A wide range of international, continental and national federations are featured, alongside a variety of leagues, clubs, teams, venues, and events.

Through its features and news section GSS has highlighted organisations that are leading the sustainability drive. Features have included the work of Birmingham County FA in England, the Oslo Bislett Games in Norway, event host cities in Denmark, and Project Long Game in Ireland, as well as UEFA’s work in European football and the sustainable ambitions of Paris 2024.

By highlighting the great work these organisations and events are doing in the area of sustainability, GSS is helping to promote the importance of collaboration, sharing best practice, and inspiring change to create a more sustainable future for sport.


Sustainable regions, cities, venues and events


The recent feature on Sport Event Denmark and the host cities of Aarhus and Copenhagen, for example, provided concrete examples of how host cities can collaborate with event organisers and national bodies to develop a broader sustainability culture at a national level through sport.

In neighbouring Norway, the Oslo Bislett Games provided an industry-leading example of how sports events can make bold changes and create commercially as well as socially and environmentally viable sports venues. Once branded the ‘oil games’ due to its 29-year partnership with ExonnMobil, the Bislett Games, under the leadership of meeting director Steinar Hoen, began a remarkable transformation in 2017 to become an ‘eco-lighthouse’ in the field of sports and sustainability. Six years on, they have now cut emissions by 40%, replaced their single stream of sponsorship revenue with thirteen sustainable partnerships, and made long-term savings by cutting travelling budgets and investing in solar energy and waste management systems.

At the grassroots level, Project Long Game, a local project in County Meath, Ireland, is demonstrating how local government and local sport can work together to empower smaller clubs to develop their own sustainability initiatives. The team identified challenges facing grassroots sport—including limited resources, packed schedules, and inaccessible information—and have launched a year-long pilot project to help local clubs identify their own needs and develop sustainable solutions.

These are just three examples of positive work that is already taking place across the world of sport. The GSS Champions of Sustainability programme will bring together thousands of organisations across the world to share their own stories and best practices. By doing so, organisations will be able to learn from each other, make progress on their goals, and join a growing global movement for positive change.


A phased approach to building a sustainable future


The GSS Champions of Sustainability programme will take place over a series of phases, beginning this month with Phase 1 and the launch of the , featuring over 300 organisations who are leading the way in sport and sustainability.

Phase 1 will also see the launch of the Global Champions of Sustainability Survey, which will be sent out at the end of May. In June and July, events and organisations will be evaluated and graded into one of four groups: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

In Phase 2, in September and October, a more extensive interim survey and evaluation will take place to provide further guidance and support to organisations involved in the programme. Phase 3, in November and December, will see a final survey and evaluation for events and organisations.

Finally, Phase 4, in early 2024, will see the publication of a series of global reports and a GSS Champions of Sustainability global awards programme. The global awards programme will recognise the tremendous work that many sports organisations are doing today to deliver a more sustainable future for sport and the planet.


Commenting on the launch of the global Champions of Sustainability map, Joe Cusdin, CEO of Inventis, said,


“We teamed up with Global Sustainable Sport to visualise their ‘Champions of Sustainability’ on an interactive map. We believe that mapping/geospatial technology can support sustainability in the sports/event sector in a number of ways. These include direct benefits, such as reducing the need to travel to event sites or offices, as well as indirect benefits such as enabling organisations to understand their environmental impact and act accordingly.” Joe Cusdin, CEO of Inventis
“It is great to see the launch of the first phase of our Champions of Sustainability programme with our geospatial map. It has been great working with Iventis to bring this digital data to life and to see where in the world sports organisations are developing their sustainable programmes. We are looking forward to working with many of these companies as we develop the rest of the “Champions” programme helping to promote and support sports organisations on their sustainability journeys”. Mike Laflin, CEO & Founder,, Global Sustainable Sport


Are you a Champion of Sustainability?

Global Sustainable Sport is inviting organisations and events across the world to get involved in this exciting new initiative by registering their interest in participating in the Global Survey and the Champions of Sustainability programme 2023.

To register your interest click here


Iventis provides software for event organisers which enables them to plan and manage their site operations using maps. Events of any size can design, share and manage their plans collaboratively, working in real-time across departments, stakeholders and suppliers. This makes planning more efficient, improves decision making, reduces risk and creates opportunities to improve plans.

For further information on Iventis click here

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