Greening sports for achieving participative and contributory circular communities: skills and know-how for getting there

Limited seats are available for the in-person event at the House of Scotland in Brussels on 8 June 2023. We expect to host 50+ delegates for 3 hours of interactive keynotes and debates.

Organised within the GSHE project’s framework and hosted by ACR+ and Zero Waste Scotland, the event is officially listed as part of the European Green Week partner events – which this year focus on the topics of skills for sustainable, resilient and socially fair communities. This is so far the only sport related event.

As sports can easily be considered one of the most popular leisure activities for a great share of Europe’s population – either through practicing them or enjoying them as a supporter, they have an intangible potential for provoking a positive mindset change in wider communities towards contribution to environmentally friendly practices and building resilience therein, in general.

While cities and regions have the ultimate responsibility to steer our lifestyles and habits towards securing well-being for all of us through relevant policies and strategies, their execution, deployment, and attainment considerable depend on the way communities adopt them and contribute towards achieving them. Environmentally friendly lifestyle plays a significant role in this mission – through the way we purchase, consume, and dispose of things. While goods and services and the necessary resource consumption are the obvious elephants in the room, the overall experience expands environmental impacts way beyond – affecting water use, energy consumption, biodiversity and ecosystems suffering, and much more. The experience we get from sports is what makes us happy (depending on the score).

“Projects and initiatives show that sports and the outreach they have – tens of thousands of people in each European city, are a largely untapped source of contribution to a more resilient and environmentally responsible society.”

Ernest Kovács, Project Manager, ACR+

Through the Green Week Panel Debate, the Green Sports Hub Europe partnership aims at gathering a ring of various stakholders to advance the debate. Indeed we believe that either as a beacon of excellence or a newcomer to the world of sustainability – the time is now for sport entities to embark on this journey! And this could not be done alone.

  • What skills and tools are needed to turn things around and consider sports as a driver for major attitude change?
  • How to make sports aware of this opportunity?
  • Why should sports entities and local and regional authorities work together rather than be in a love-and-hate relationship?

This is what this GSHE specific Green Week Panel Debate wants to give answers to.

Registration is now open and we hope to meet you in Brussels on this occasion. The number of participants is limited due to the size of the venue, so we will be confirming participation on a “first come, first served” basis.

Tentative Agenda

9:30 – 9:50 Welcoming and registration desk
10:00 – 10:45: Keynote speeches
* Cities and regions tapping into lifestyle choices for enhancing sustainable resource management; Iain Gulland, President, ACR+ and founding Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland

* The power of sports in contributing to more environmentally friendly communities; Peter Fischer, Policy Officer, DG EAC, Sport Unit, European Commission (TBC)

* In what ways do cities have the power to accompany the transition of the sports sector?; Adeline Plé, Plaidoyer for Sustainable Cities, Surfrider Foundation Europe
10:45 – 12:15: Keynote Presentations

* How sustainable are sports today and why aren’t they more sustainable? Motivations and barriers; Yann Leymarie, HORUS

* Assessing sports’ own environmental impacts and getting inspired to do better: The GreenSportsHub Self-Assessment Tool; Lucie Segalas, Sport Project Manager, Surfrider Foundation Europe

* Taking advantage of solutions for sports and adapting them to tourism and culture; Francesco Lembo, Deputy Secretary General, ACR+
Sport entities and their local and regional authorities: friends or foes?; Ernest Kovacs, Project Manager, ACR+

* Public authorities enhancing Sport organisations’ environmental performances: example of FA of Scotland; Warren McIntyre, Partnership Manager, Zero Waste Scotland*
12:15 – 12:45: Coffee and networking break
12:45 – 13:30: Discussion panel: Enabling actions and skills for improving environmental management in sports.
* Moderator: Ernest Kovacs, ACR+
* Raphaelle Moeremans; Head of the Sustainability Department OR Alex Muzio; President, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (TBC)
* Katrina Reuter; Development Coordinator, European Volleyball Confederation (CEV)
* Jonas Orset, Founder, Green Cycling Nordic Norway
* Warren McIntyre/Iain Gulland; Zero Waste Scotland
* Laska Nenova; Managing Director, BG Be Active (SportWithoutWaste Project)
* Bruno Van Pottelsberghe; Dean, Solvay Business School
13:30 – 14:00: Closing words
* Sustainable sports and the necessary European framework: policy recommendations; Gregor Grbec, Project Manager, Slovenian Olympic Committee

* Taking sports organisations on board for a joint effort and the biggest impact possible; David Baird-Smith, Corporate Affairs Manager, Rugby Europe

* Final word – Eva Rebmann, Acting Deputy Director and OCEAN Project Manager, European Olympic Committee
14:00 – 14:30 Cocktail lunch