BBC Sport’s David Lockwood covered BASIS’ plan to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the opportunity sport has to build back better from COVID-19. Click here to read on the BBC website.
Professional athletes should be given sustainability training to learn about the issues facing our planet, climate change experts say.
They want sportspeople to be able to talk with confidence about the subject and help spread awareness.
It is one of the ideas in a 10-point action plan from Basis – the British Association for Sustainable Sport.
“Sport in the UK can lead, or it can follow,” said its chief executive Dr Russell Seymour.
The action plan for sport features in a report set to be submitted to the government in the new year.
It concludes that elite sport in the UK needs to do more in 2021 to contribute towards a more sustainable future and to help combat climate change when it recovers from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report draws on a six-month consultation Basis ran in the second half of 2020 across the industry.
The UK government’s own 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”, which aims to create 250,000 jobs, covered many areas of the economy – including energy, transport and technology – but it did not extend to sport.
Basis believes sport has a role to play and is calling on the government to support and encourage those in positions of power within the industry to take action.
“Sport is a reflection of our society and an expression of who we are as a country – so it should be active on the big challenges we all face,” Seymour added.
“Once we move past Covid, how we tackle climate change will become the central question of our times.
“Our plan offers the chance for sport to build back better and lead the sporting world towards net zero [emissions].”
As well as urging professional athlete bodies to provide voluntary training for sportspeople, the plan calls for major sport governing bodies to commit to meeting sustainability goals.
It also wants them to carry out risk analysis on how sustainability will affect them.
Other elements include ensuring that:
- All national and international competitions held in the UK meet minimum sustainability standards;
- Grant-making bodies consider sustainability when distributing funds;
- Amateur and recreational sport gets the support it needs for improving sustainability performance.
Basis’ members include three Premier League football clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea and Southampton), tennis’ Wimbledon Championships, horse racing’s Jockey Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“The sports we love and play are exposed to the impacts of climate change,” said Seymour.
“Sport also contributes to climate change through avoidable pollution and waste. The big powers in sport need to get on top of this paradox now and put in place plans to move sport towards net zero as quickly as possible.
“The Basis plan, and our commitment to the sports sector in the UK, is to help them design and deliver that change.”