The Welsh Football Association and the GAA spoke at Sustainability in Sports Conference

Hosted by the Welsh Sports Association (WSA), in collaboration with the Federation of Irish Sports (FIS) and supported by the the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru initiative, the Conference aimed to deliver cross-border and economic co-operation across shared interests.

At the event which took place at the Principality Stadium on 16 November, attendees heard from Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden MS, who opened proceedings.

Following the Deputy Minister’s words, the room then heard from the event’s opening panel. Noel Mooney, CEO at the Football Association of Wales, discussed Cymru, Wellbeing and the World, how sustainability is at the forefront of the sporting landscape and its wider social value.

The room also heard from Padraig Fallon from the GAA on the organisation’s Green Club Programme and how, while the sport still has a long road ahead, sustainability had become a key aspect in every management structure within the sport – from club committees across Ireland to the GAA’s headquarters in Dublin.

Many other speakers appeared as panellists or presenters covering a wide array of sports including volleyball, lawn tennis, canoe, golf and swimming and explaining what environmental sustainability means for them or showcasing their concrete steps for achieving it.

Additional speakers, such as Jennifer Huygen, Head of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, at Community Leisure UK, or Impact3Zero founder Patrick Haslett contributed tot he Conference with various platforms and opportunities to build internal capacities, skills or seek support, such as the Carbon Literacy Programme, designed to educate a wide range of individuals on sustainability, eventually aiming to shift behavioural tendencies and other.

The final panel of the day saw the nominees of the Best Sustainability Initiative award at the WSA Sport Industry Awards 2023 take to the floor, namely Steve Ward, Newport Live CEO, Canoe Wales CEO Alistair Dickson and Dilwyn Griffiths, Sustainability Lead at Wales Golf.

“There were clear messages at the Conference and ‘collaboration’ and the ‘power and reach of sport’ were two of them. I have no doubt that all delegates left feeling that they had a responsibility to make a difference and if our Members can influence their players, coaches, officials and volunteers, to make lifestyle changes, then using sport’s reach, there is a quite a movement to tackle climate change.”

Andrew Howard, WSA CEO

“Sustainability, decarbonisation and the impact of climate change on sport are some of the issues that are becoming more and more prevalent for sporting organisations. Bringing together such a diverse and informative group of speakers throughout the day provided the opportunity to learn from those already on their sustainability journeys and the variety of steps that they have taken to mitigate their impact on the environment.”

Clare Louise O’Donoghue, Federation of Irish Sport Commercial & Business Services Manager

Source and photo credits: Welsh Sports Associations

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