Sport, climate change and environmental sustainability

Sport, climate change and environmental sustainability

Sport and recreation and the environment are intrinsically linked.

Our natural and built environment provides the places and spaces for people to be active – from pitches, parks, courts and swimming pools to mountains, rivers, coasts and lakes.

And being active has a hugely positive benefits for our environment and the wider community in which we live. Active travel through cycling and walking reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and local air pollution and participation in sport, recreation and physical activity contributes £85bn annually in improved health, community cohesion and economic growth.

But to protect our sporting environment for our millions of participants – both now and in the future – we must act to reduce our collective impact on the environment and adapt to the increasingly evident climate change happening around us.

And we have a responsibility to make a difference by using the enormous power and reach of sport, recreation and physical activity to encourage everyone to take positive environmental and climate action.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is committed to helping our members become more sustainable and this is a key element of our new strategy Support. Recover. Achieve. We will work with partners to tackle climate and environmental sustainability on a cross-sector basis and support our members through the provision of advice, guidance and training.

More broadly, the UK Government has legislated to achieve net zero by 2050 with a commitment to cut emissions by almost 80% by 2035. This will require every sector across the economy to play its full part in decarbonising and contributing to the wider effort to transition to net zero.

In this context we will continue to engage with national and local government to shape the policy debate and advocate for solutions where sport and recreation can make a positive contribution to the UK’s net zero and wider environmental ambitions.


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