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The Sport Positive Summit is all about building a positive future for sport, and despite the challenges sport has faced this previous year, 2021 is set to be another year of improvements within the sports sector. In collaboration with UNFCCC Global Climate Action and the International Olympic Committee, the Sport Positive Summit annually brings together leaders from sport properties, government and governing bodies, federations, UN bodies and climate stakeholders to discuss the best ways to move forward. (1) 

The 2020 Sport Positive Summit went virtual and brought together sports leaders from across the world and focused on advancing towards a low carbon future for operations and events and the education and engagement of fans on climate change. The 2021 Summit is scheduled to take place in Wembley Stadium in London in September 2021 and is aimed at those looking to reduce the environmental impact of their sporting events. The summit allows for the entire community to get together and learn from each other by discussing good practises, developing new tools and sparking partnerships within mutual areas. Spectators will also benefit from networking opportunities, speeches from leaders of sport and climate and gain crucial insights into effective tools to reduce climate footprints.

With climate change and environmental concerns being at the forefront of public concern recently, it is more important than ever to take responsibility and action for reducing your environmental footprint. Within sports, this is especially crucial, Sustainability Report state that a growing trend in sports’ fans behaviour is for supporting teams and leagues based on “their values and actions away from the field of play as much as (if not more) than what happens on it”. (2) A Pew Research Study from 2020 also found that 60% of American view climate change as a major threat which is an increase of 44% from 10 years prior. This research is providing evidence that fans do in fact follow teams who share their values.

A great example of this is to consider the LA Lakers basketball team – a vast majority of their fans and supporters follow high-profile climate activists such as Greta Thunberg and fit the ‘LA stereotype’ of living healthy and sustainable lifestyles, also identifying as ‘outdoorsy’ and ‘nature lovers’. (3) This correlates to the LA Lakers team ethics as they strive to be more eco-friendly with initiatives such as ‘Trees for Threes’ – each time the Lakers score a three-pointer during a home game, they will be planting a tree in the LA community. (4) The team also promise to be ‘ECO All-Stars’ by hosting environmentally friendly events and providing content on how their fans can also be more eco-friendly in everyday life.

Climate change is having devastating effects on sport right now, with winter sports literally disappearing before our eyes. However, the sport industry is also in an incredibly powerful position at present to harness change and make a difference via its own activities and events and by positively impacting future generations of fans, supporters, and industry professionals into evolving sport into a more sustainable economic foundation.

So whether you plan on attending the Sport Positive Summit 2021 or you simply read up on ways you can make a positive impact, make sure to keep your fans engaged in your journey, there are probably much more interested than you think.

Reference sources: 2020; Social-media-analysis-explores-fans-sustainability-attitudes Environmental Programs Image Gallery