A framework bringing together the sports sector to tackle climate change will be proposed by the United Nations in June.
Following a meeting with a group of sports stakeholders in Bonn, Germany in October 2017, the international development organisation decided to construct the framework to help the sector “map out” potential action in this area.
During her keynote presentation at Sustainable Innovation in Sport, UN global climate outreach officer, Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, admitted that during the meeting it became apparent that climate change was “not a priority” for sports organisations, who are grappling with other issues.
But she said the framework – which emphasises collaboration – didn’t have to be too costly and would catalyse innovation if everyone came together. To make the framework credible, the UN is investigating different reporting mechanisms to demonstrate impact.
Taking climate change action was “not rocket science”, said Xhaferi-Salihu, pointing to areas such as emissions, water, waste, energy, food, transports and offsets as potential areas of change.
Her speech reference two priorities for sports organisations: looking organisationally at how they can get their house in order, and how they can “leverage the power of sport” to reach fans and global citizens.
“In hearing people talk about sustainability, the costs and benefits of climate change are disproportionate,” said Xhaferi-Salihu. “We can take action today but the benefits are way in the future. If you undertake sustainability approaches and use your resources in a sustainable manner, that makes a lot of sense. But it still seems sustainability is a difficult thing to do because of a lack of economic moderators.”
She added that looking at sustainability from just a financial point of view was a “strategic error” and that the moral considerations were just as valid, if not more.