Strong Willingness For Sport To Implement Sustainable Goals, But Expert Assistance Required
March 28, 2022
Ben Page provides his takeaways in a look back at iSportConnect and ATPI’s recent round table on sport and sustainability.
Last month, iSportConnect and ATPI combined to host a fantastic round table event in London for a variety of sports organisations looking over the topic of sustainability in sport.
The event provided an educational session for those involved and a great opportunity to see how the wider sports industry was approaching the subject when it comes to the implementation of sustainability projects.
“According to the 2021 PwC Sports Survey, 80% of sports executives said that the growing expectation for sport’s societal role are the sector’s key market forces.”
According to the 2021 PwC Sports Survey, 80% of sports executives said that the growing expectation for sport’s societal role are the sector’s key market forces, while 84% added stakeholder pressure is the primary driver for sports organisations to engage in social and environmental sustainability.
More than 55% of respondents also said as part of their corporate strategy they have concrete initiatives they’re implementing, indicating that this is one of the most prominent focuses for the entire industry in 2022, similarly to many other sectors who are trying to change long-standing methods.
From our session it is clear that there are still a lot of question marks from within sport as to what they can do to truly implement sustainable goals, and the variety of the roles and the width of their scope in sport that different organisations play has an impact.
A number of those within the room had experienced sport trying to start making small changes, but were keen to understand more on how to maximise this and some of the adaptations that can be made within the work environment.
What was the role that Covid had played in companies trying to transform their sustainability strategy?
“Much was made of how sport had adapted its business model in order to survive through Covid… but did this also translate to the sustainability side?”
One question I was keen to ask those in the room was whether the Covid period had offered some of those working within sport the time to be able to step back and evaluate their organisational objectives when it came to sustainability.
Much was made of how sport had adapted its business model in order to survive through Covid, taking many of the operations online and making the most of the digital world while showing flexibility when it came to things such as partnerships. But did this also translate to the sustainability side?
According to those in attendance it did provide more time to look more closely at certain areas of the business thanks to the gap in sports events which had to all be postponed at the time.
“The biggest challenge that sport is facing when it comes to being more sustainable and making a difference in the running of their organisations is the lack of knowledge and understanding.”
But the biggest challenge that sport is facing when it comes to being more sustainable and making a difference in the running of their organisations is the lack of knowledge and understanding in how to make these changes, stated some of the attendees.
But sustainability does not just cover being environmentally friendly, there are other factors that have to be taken into consideration such as societal and financial sustainability, the latter being a difficult topic for many sports both pre- and post-Covid.
On the societal side, one organisation in attendance has implemented a new method into their job hiring process, where applicants are faced with three questions relating to the position, with no background information on the candidate available until after those who had been shortlisted for interview from their initial answers were narrowed down, creating a fair environment to choose the best person.
Overall there was a sense of optimism that sport was moving in the right direction, with our experts from ATPI emphasising that small steps will be the difference and that sport does not need to overhaul itself immediately.
It is those small steps that need to take place to make future changes possible.