Zero Waste Scotland gets in touch with ACCESS in order to exchange experiences on improving environmental management in football

While ACCESS is focusing its efforts to support sport organisations to improve their environmental performances in the four project countries, similar initiatives are happening elsewhere – an opportunity for mutual learning not to be missed.

Only eight months after it started, ACCESS is already positioning itself in the field of environmental management in sports as a project which could contribute to developing innovative methodologies and approaches to both systemic and systematic solutions for “greening” sports. The latest call between ACR+, as the project coordinator, and Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), a Scottish agency leading Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. On of their recent activities, launched and announced back in 2020 saw them teaming up with the Scottish Football Association to offer free environmental support to football clubs across the country. By receiving guidance to help identify ways of reducing energy, water and waste management costs, as well as increasing recycling, football clubs could benefit from a financial lifeline, whilst becoming more eco-friendly through the reduction of operational carbon emissions.

As ZWS’s Warren McIntyre and Nayantara Sudhakar explained to Ernest Kovacs of ACR+, the current support they are giving to the Scottish FA revolving around regular meetings which involve advising on a range of environmental initiatives with a focus on integrating more circular economy considerations into both the direct operations of the Scottish National Stadium and individual clubs. As Warren further added “A longer term more strategic aim of our engagement, however, is to develop a proposition to use the citizen reach of these clubs to educate fans on the climate impacts of consumption and circular economy opportunities”. On the ACCESS side, Ernest took the opportunity to present the ongoing screening phase at the Gaelic Athletic Association, FC Porto and the Danish and Welsh FA. He focused on the methodology being used and announced the upcoming spring activities.

The call further allowed the exchange of experiences and lessons learnt, mainly as consequences of different enabling and impeding factors and occurrences in sports that need to be taken into consideration when going into such endeavours.

For what concerns the Scottish FA, they certainly took advantage of the partnership with ZWS as they outlined their sustainability commitment as COP26 Climate Summit was taking place in Glasgow back in 2021. Titled “Environmental Sustainability in Scottish Football” the FA committed to even more stringent measures as part of their new strategy, “The Power of Scottish Football”, over the ongoing decade. You can consult the strategy here. Nonetheless, the FA’s commitment is also reflected in the ongoing European project “SDG Striker” which they are partnering in. This particular project seeks to increase the organisational capacity for Good Governance in grass roots sport organisations by assisting them to implement and communicate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to develop a joint understanding about best practices before, during and after being tested, and assess their potential for replication across national sports federations – and beyond national borders.

ACCESS project will certainly continue to build synergies and partnerships with other like-minded initiatives and projects in order to enrich its knowledge database and skills, and at the same time, to disseminate its own outputs and results.

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