EU Green Week 2019:
tackling environmental issues in the sport sector
On 13-17 May, the European Commission organised in Brussels the 2019 edition of the EU Green Week on environmental laws and the process of environmental implementation. As environmental issues are rising in the sport sector, this week was the perfect opportunity to come together and discuss new ideas and solutions. This is particularly relevant as every sport event today, such as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, have to design new strategies to work on cleaner mobility, plastic waste reduction, more efficient infrastructures, etc.
The discussion took the form of a conference on the environmental impacts of major sporting events. The partners of the LIFE Tackle project co-financed by the European Union and UEFA presented their solutions to improve the environmental management of sport events and raise supporters’ level of awareness towards sustainability. This pioneering project has started last year and is coordinated by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, it brings together the Italian, Romanian and Swedish federations, as well as ACR +, Euractive, LIPOR and AMIU.
All these actors took the floor to present the achievements of the project as well as the limits encountered so far, the lack of data on the environmental impact of football being one of the major one. This conference has shown how many challenges the sport sector will face but also how motivated everyone is to do so. Indeed, initiatives all over Europe are proving we are moving in the right direction. For example, Antonio Ortega from Real Betis presented the achievements of the club to raise public awareness and build greener infrastructures. At the end of the conference, there were two clear priorities identified: energy efficiency and mobility. As Patrick Gasser, Head of Football & Social Responsibility Unit at UEFA highlighted: “if you want to be strategic, try to manage mobility and transport: they are the biggest issues when it comes to climate change”.