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    In the ever-evolving world of sports, sustainability has become a cornerstone for hosting events that not only captivate but also conscientiously contribute to our planet's well-being. Our recent webinar with AISTS, "Navigating Sustainability: Insights from Sports Events Experts," brought together industry leaders to shed light on integrating sustainability practices into sports events management. This blog encapsulates the enriching discussion and invaluable perspectives shared by our esteemed panellists. 

    Hosted by Will Lloyd, Chief Executive of Global Sports, the webinar featured a panel of distinguished experts: Giovanni Battista Derchi, Professor at AISTS, moderating the discussion, Martin Grimont, Sustainability Project Manager for Paris 2024, and Alexandra Rickham, Head of Sustainability at World Sailing. Their combined expertise offered a deep dive into the sustainability strategies, challenges, and innovations shaping the future of sports events.

    Embedding Sustainability in Sports 

    The webinar began with an insightful discussion on identifying and prioritising sustainability initiatives within sports organisations. Alexandra highlighted the integrated approach of World Sailing's Agenda 2030, emphasising stakeholder engagement and the dynamic nature of sustainability strategies. Martin shared Paris 2024's journey towards sustainable games, focusing on the importance of stakeholder consultation and the challenges of integrating sustainability across various operational facets.8

    "We worked with the consultancy, built up what we thought were the major impact areas, and then put it out to consultation to the community; it’s evolving constantly,"  

    Alexandra said, emphasising the importance of community feedback in shaping sustainability strategies. 

    The conversation then pivoted to accountability in sustainability efforts. Both panellists stressed the significance of embedding sustainability within all departments and not isolating it within a dedicated team. They shared innovative practices, such as carbon budgeting and incentivising sustainable procurement, to ensure the broader adoption and implementation of sustainability measures across organisational and operational structures.7

    "We really needed to discuss with a lot of stakeholders to design the sustainability metrics and then try to implement them,"  

    Martin highlighted, underlining the necessity of stakeholder engagement and the complexities of operationalising sustainability. 

    Accountability and Sustainability 

    Discussing the importance of accountability in sustainability efforts, the panellists shared strategies to ensure widespread adoption of sustainability practices. Martin spoke about building alliances: 

    "We are lucky to have almost 20 people in Paris 2024 working directly on sustainability, but also making alliances with teams that have a strong link with sustainability activities is crucial,"  

     

    he noted, advocating for collaborative efforts across different departments. Echoing the sentiment, Alexandra stressed the shared responsibility:  

    "I work with the other department heads and department members to enact that implementation piece. It is key in terms of how we prioritise sustainability,”  

     

    Alexandra shared, pointing out the collaborative nature of sustainability initiatives. 

    Transportation: A Persistent Challenge 

    A recurrent theme throughout the webinar was the monumental challenge of transportation in the context of sustainable sports events. The panellists elaborated on the substantial carbon footprint associated with event transportation and the strategies employed to mitigate these impacts. From advocating for sustainable aviation fuels to encouraging the use of public and alternative transportation modes, the experts discussed the complex interplay of cost, feasibility, and stakeholder cooperation in striving for greener mobility solutions. 

    The Path to Sustainable Sports Events 

    The webinar concluded with a forward-looking discussion on the urgent and challenging aspects of managing sustainability in sports. The panellists shared their insights on the importance of resilience, innovation, and critical thinking in navigating the multifaceted landscape of sustainability. They underscored the evolving nature of sustainability roles within sports organisations and the necessity for upcoming professionals to adapt, engage, and drive change across all levels of operation. 

    The "Navigating Sustainability: Insights from Sports Events Experts" webinar offered a rich combination of perspectives, experiences, and strategies that underscore the pivotal role of sustainability in the future of sports. As the industry continues to grapple with environmental challenges, the insights shared by our panellists serve as a beacon for current and future professionals committed to fostering sustainable practices within the realm of sports events. The journey towards sustainability is complex and continuous, but with concerted efforts and innovative solutions, the sports industry can indeed make significant strides towards a greener, more sustainable future. 

    The International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS), Located in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, delivers a comprehensive curriculum designed to professionalise sports management. The Master of advanced studies in sport administration and technology combines academic study with practical industry experience, focusing on sustainability in sports, management, and technology.  

    Discover more about the programme and how to apply here. 

    Interested in hosting a similar webinar? To start the conversation and learn more about our webinar hosting opportunities, click here. 

     

     

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