On May 23th, Sport Interface’s team attended the inaugural Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) Congress at INSEP, Paris. More than hundred participants from 30 countries attended the event, representing a large diversity of stakeholders : IOC, European and national federations, eco-consultancies, event agencies and broadcasters to name few. Neil Beecroft, SandSI’s President, Former UEFA sustainability manager, emphasized the genesis of the movement « Never before have so many of the world’s most influential sports federations, their fans, and related businesses convened to promote urgently needed environmental remedies« . He was followed by Dr Allen Hershkowitz, SandSi founding Director, co-founder of the Green Sports Alliance, who called for actions « Time is running out and synergies among all stakeholders is a must ».
SandSI promotes a refreshed vision of sustainability for sport in society. Indeed, sport projects look sometimes like they have lost the “why”. Sport isn’t only about putting on a great show. It is about sharing an identity, values and strong opinions to the society. Sometimes values and messages of sport are hided behind an event, a product and the whole social role of sport is losing his sense.
In that line, new concepts of circular economy projects are emerging. Eco-Games, created by Didier Lehénaff, President of SVPlanete, who’s also one of founder of this movement, completely inverted the way of thinking an event. It’s a sport event that valorize the environment in which the game is happening. Every organisational decision is centred around “Zero-Waste” core principles. This is the perfect example of a managerial process that is caring about identity in their actions. Other stakeholders also brought those principles through the work they presented :
- Maël Besson, Head of sustainability projects, French Ministry of sports, presented the collaborative commitment of France’s 20 biggest sporting events to the environment.
- Jeremy Mathieu, BBC Sustainability Advisor and International Manager for BAFTA Albert introduced sustainability tools for broadcasters (calculator, certification protocol, training courses).
SandSI also strictly applied these principles for their general assembly. The core principles of the organisation are based on transparency, togetherness and commitment to sustainability. When it came to membership’s price, SandSI’s organizers explained and debated with his future members about a pricing strategy that should be inclusive for everyone in the world. The organisation is not only about spreading values but also about living them and acting through them. SandSI’s first general assembly has been the opportunity to consolidate a philosophy on strong basis.
Concretely, by focusing on venue and event operations, supply chain impacts, and community engagement, SandSI strives to promote sustainable practices and policies among all sports stakeholders. They plan to educate millions of fans about the environmental, social and economic value of sustainability, and to celebrate and encourage the sports industry’s growing embrace of sustainability.
Today a new movement in the sport world is born and Sport Interface will go ahead with it. We committed to involve on a voluntary basis and take membership, to help developing the organisation and philosophy.