Sustainability is on the mind of nearly every company and industry in the world and even sports leagues are considering how to make a positive impact on a changing world climate. FIFA and associated major soccer leagues are looking at five main areas of improvement when it comes to sustainability: renewable energy, vendor contracts, waste management, green building techniques and initiatives for both players and fans of the sport.
Renewable Energy Sources
Ongoing improvements in the use of renewable energy is making it more affordable and practical for sports leagues to invest in these types of power generation. Solar panels are more efficient and less expensive to install, making it easier to retrofit stadiums with panel systems and to include them in the design of new ones. The capacity of solar battery storage is also improving, making it easier to have solar powered games any time of the day and giving facilities reliable backup power during times of peak usage and stress on the power grids. Not only are more sports teams looking to renewable energy sources such as solar power, but many are also changing out lights and fixtures for more energy efficient ones and switching to biofuel for team transportation.
One of the biggest ways that individual sports teams and major soccer leagues alike can help the environment is by checking vendor contracts and supply chains for sustainability. By writing a commitment to sustainable sourcing and manufacturing into the contracts with vendors, leagues can show business partners, players and fans how committed they are to environmental and cultural concerns. These contracts help ensure that the materials used to make everything from team memorabilia to concessions are harvested with as little environmental damage as possible and incentivize those industries to develop more sustainable methods.
Recycling bins at sports’ stadiums are nothing new, but the management of those bins and the variety of items separated from the landfill have improved over the last couple of decades. Major soccer leagues around the world are also evaluating their contracts with waste management companies to ensure that more items are being recycled, that waste water treatment methods are keeping up with the science and even that the same recycling options open to stadiums are offered to whole communities. Many sports teams host informational events at their stadiums or announce initiatives designed to tackle how much is thrown away at major events and bring the impact of these things into public focus.
Building Greener Stadiums
Sustainable sports start with how green the related buildings and communities are. FIFA has expressed a commitment to greener building techniques and worker’s rights concerns and has already released sustainability reports for upcoming World Cup events. These reports include more than just stadiums, however, with office buildings and traffic concerns addressed as well. Using green building techniques, working with city planners to address traffic congestion as well as noise and light pollution, are sustainability commitments with benefits lasting far beyond the event.
Player and Fan Initiatives
Major soccer leagues are getting players and fans involved in environmental concerns by holding fundraisers and charity events focused on replanting trees, recycling everyday items and reducing single-use plastics in communities. Some of these initiatives include donating to those developing biodegradable food and beverage containers, playing fields which are better for the local environment and for players, and much more. Getting fans involved with these initiatives can help create a more environmentally conscious culture as well as provide good press about teams, leagues and individual players.
When you think about environmentally friendly industries, professional sports leagues may not make the top of the list. FIFA and major soccer leagues are looking to change that, however, by focusing on sustainability both on and off the field. Whether it is building greener stadiums which incorporate renewable energy sources or hosting events to plant trees and clean up local green spaces, your favorite soccer teams can lead the fight in combating climate change around the world.