Category Archives: News

I took the Eurostar to Paris this week to participate in the Sustainable Innovation In Sport Forum, part of the business forum event attached to the Paris COP 21 climate talks. With some estimates putting the size of sports business globally at $1.35 trillion, there are clearly some opportunities for sport to influence the many links in its supply chain, from spectator travel via venue design to catering and waste.

 

Beyond these direct impacts of sport on the planet, and the endeavours to minimise them (perhaps exemplified by UEFA’s new online sustainable travel tool demonstrated by Neil Beecroft, second from left in the photo) we heard about the efforts of athletes-turned-green-ambassadors like Gretchen Bleiler (far left). Silver medal half pipe snowboarding Olympian and X Games gold medallist, Gretchen, is now using her platform to promote Protect Our Winters, an athlete-led climate change campaign group.

 

 

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Here’s a detailed presentation on the Kafue River and Rowing Centre – a major Team Planet project for WWF International as part of WWF’s clean water alliance with FISA, World Rowing.

 

 

 

 

#OnWaterForWater

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Fishery Business Daily June 11, 2015To Tokyo (first time) to meet those involved with preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games including NGOs, banks, retailers and TOCOG organising committee. Also to participate in WWF Japan and MSC’s sustainable seafood forum prompting some (hopefully polite) media coverage in The Fishery Business Daily. This time I wasn’t reading off my slides ….

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Team Planet recently helped organise a fact finding trip for Japan-based Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting (MURC), the think tank arm of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. MURC have put together a ‘Team for Japan 2020’ consulting team to support sport mega-events including the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sustainability is central to Tokyo’s Olympic plans and Mr Naoki Motohashi, on behalf of the Team for Japan 2020, was keen to learn more about the One Planet 2012 sustainability programme that was a key to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Team Planet facilitated interviews with London 2012 sustainability experts including Katherine Symonds-Moore at Sancroft International (pictured here with Naoki Motohashi and Simon Lewis) and Shaun McCarthy OBE from Action Sustainability.

Transcripts of the interviews conducted during the Mitsubishi visit are here.

Mitsubishi Naoki and Katherine

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Speakers at Jossor Institute's Sustainable Sports and Events Workshop in Doha, Qatar. Image copyright qatarisbooming.com

Speakers at Jossor Institute’s Sustainable Sports and Events Workshop in Doha, Qatar. Image copyright qatarisbooming.com

This month, Team Planet has been working on sustainability in Doha, Qatar.

Clearly the development over a few decades of the gulf state of Qatar from tiny British protectorate subsisting on pearl fishing to global presence with the one of the world’s largest fossil fuel reserves is going to throw up a few sustainability issues! Doha is now energetically developing it’s next phase – transformation into a global sport city – which builds on the huge sports campus around the Aspire Dome constructed for the 2006 Asian Games in time to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This transformation, given yearly temperature ranges of 22-45 Celsius, precious little freshwater and poorly developed (as yet) waste and transport infrastructure, also throws out huge challenges for sustainability.

On this trip to Doha I have been surprised and impressed by the ambition and determination to find sustainable solutions to this development: from LEED rated buildings, to new metro systems. As part of the Qatar 2022 World Cup legacy promise, Qatar’s Supreme Committee established the Josoor Institute to establish world-class expertise in the event and sports sector. Team Planet was fortunate to be able to help deliver Josoor’s first training workshop for sustainable sports and events to an audience of MENA sport and event professionals, include Qatar 2015 Handball World Championships, Supreme Committee and Qatar Football Association staff working on the 2022 World Cup.

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I’m just back from a fantastic (apart from the cramped slog by plane) work trip to Zambia. Lots of exciting ‘exploring’ on dirt tracks and rivers for a new project – more details on this to follow.

While I was there, I got the chance to look around the Olympic Youth Development Centre – opened by Jaques Rogge and Ban Ki-moon in 2010 – in the capital, Lusaka. There are great signs that the centre is well used, but also a few little signs that maintenance (and perhaps revenue funding) for the impressive facilities is a challenge.

Olympic Youth Development Centre, Lusaka

Exploring the Zambezi River Basin

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Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Sport Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Sustainability in the equestrian world was the subject for my panel, which was organised around the launch of the FEI’s Sustainability Handbook for Event Organisers.

Three things were clear:

  1. The sustainability challenges facing these most natural-seeming sports (horse + human + nature) are huge when you consider the need to transport 750kg ‘athletes’, plus their entourage of riders, trainers, vets, equipment (even carriages) and their  food and quaranteen requirements.
  2. Many of the events and governing bodies are at the early stages of considering sustainability and are looking for help
  3. The FEI are very serious about driving and supporting sustainability within the equestrian disciplines and have provided, in the handbook, a very practical resource to help support those involved in equestrianism.

I got the sense that I was witnessing the beginning of one international sport federation prepared to do what was necessary to make their sport sustainable.

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Tokyo’s hosting of the summer Olympic Games in 2020 perhaps represents our next chance to see a step change in how a global mega event can drive forward the sustainability agenda. Tokyo’s plans for a compact urban Games in a developed mega city present a real opportunity to build on the sustainability innovation at the London 2012 Games.

So, I was pleased to make a video contribution to a conference organise by Japan’s branch of the Caux Round Table, CERESPO and SGS in Tokyo, looking at the lessons that Tokyo can learn from London’s experience. Video clips, conference notes and presentations can be found here.

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With thanks to the enthusiastic interview technique of New York City-based Lew Blaustein, some of my views on the sustainability lessons from the London 2012 Olympic Games and the state of sustainable sport in general can be read here.

Team Planet views the Green Sports Blog as essential reading for anyone interested in the intersection between sport and sustainability.

Simon

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It’s been a high-profile start for Team Planet, being quoted on the Sochi Games in Time Magazine even before the Team Planet website was up and running. Missed PR opportunity there! The sporting competition in Sochi is first class, but every time the cameras pan back to the stunning setting for the mountain events, I feel a wrench of regret. And half the time Sochi is on TV, it’s the politics making the headlines, not the sport.

 

I think the IOC is on a better track nowadays compared to 2007 when Sochi was awarded the Games. The brand damage done to the Games and its global sponsors will only reinforce the need to ensure there are better decisions made in selecting future Olympic host cities. Let’s work to ensure Sochi is the last Games where intolerance, jailed activists, displaced residents, squandered billions and the wrecking of a pristine environment and World Heritage Site are the backdrop to athletic excellence.

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