Whether a sport takes place on land, water, indoors or outdoors, it generates an impact on its environment. A new Sports for Nature report, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), analyses sports’ impact and dependency on nature, and highlights the need for sports to adopt new practices which protect the natural world.
The report, produced by researchers at Loughborough University, reveals that while sport organisations are generally aware of their reliance on nature, and concerned about nature and biodiversity loss, they are unclear about what can be done to protect and preserve nature.
The report’s main recommendations to sports organisations are to:
- Set a baseline – determine your sport’s dependency and relationship with nature, and critical protection and conservation needs
- Align with the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy, a global framework of action to support nature.
- Join forces – learn from and work with partners, inside and outside of sport
- Educate and advocate – leverag sport platforms to educate participants, fans and viewers about how they can play their part in acting for nature
The report’s launch sets the scene for the upcoming introduction of a Sports for Nature Framework, designed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), created with and funded by/supported by Sails of Change, in collaboration with UNEP, the International Olympic Committee, the Convention on Biological Diversity and sports partners.
The Framework will inform, activate, support and inspire sports to become nature positive. It will provide clear targets for sports organisations committed to taking action for nature, and require them to report on their progress. The framework will be introduced at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal in December 2022. Sails of Change, through its Sports for Nature partnership with IUCN, will play a key role in supporting the Framework’s implementation – watch this space for more details!