PARIS, FRANCE—(Marketwired – Jun 1, 2017) – A global initiative mobilizing the global influence of sports to promote urgently needed environmental initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was formalized last week at the inaugural Congress of Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI). The meetings, which took place at the French National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP) in Paris, involved more than 130 representatives from the world's most influential sports federations and businesses, and included the election of many of the industry's most important sustainability experts to leadership roles within SandSI.
In all, representatives from 30 countries and six continents — Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and North and South America — representing soccer, rugby, tennis, motor sports, sailing, skiing, golf, cricket, cycling, running, equestrian sports, water sports, and basketball, among others, joined together to focus on the threat that climate change poses to the games loved by millions and the communities in which they are played. The Sport and Sustainability International Congress was convened to ensure that a shift away from fossil fuels and towards more sustainable operations is established as a key business principle throughout the global sports industry, leveraging sports' cultural and market influence to promote healthy, sustainable and just communities.
“By bringing international sport and sustainability experts together we are able to support the global fight against climate change and address some of the urgent social issues our world is confronting,” said Neil Beecroft, SandSI President. “Sport can play a crucial role and SandSI will leverage this opportunity.” Beecroft is the former Sustainability Manager at UEFA.
“The Sport and Sustainability International Congress in Paris was an event of great consequence for the global environmental movement, going well beyond being 'merely' a sports industry event,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a Founding Director of SandSI and former President of the USA–based Green Sports Alliance. “It reflects an unprecedented expression of unity and support by the international sports industry for the Paris Agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and healthy, just and sustainable communities worldwide.”
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a founding member of SandSI, partnered with the organization to sponsor the Congress. The organization's involvement reflects the important role of health and wellness through the built environment as a vital component to comprehensive sustainability programs. Organizations across the world seek IWBI's WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) to ensure their facilities promote the health and wellness of the people who live, work, and learn in them.
Newly–elected members to SandSI's Board include:
Neil Beecroft (SUI), SandSI Founding Director and President, Former Sustainability Manager, UEFA
Margot Chave (FRA), Sustainability expert
Vincent Gaillard (SUI), SandSI Founding Director and Director General, European Professional Club Rugby
Geert Hendriks (SUI), SandSI Founding Director and Head of Projects, AISTS
Allen Hershkowitz (USA), SandSI Founding Director, Founder and Former President, Green Sports Alliance
Julia Justo (PER), Executive Director, Peruvian Environment National Fund (FONAM)
Didier Lehenaff (FRA), SandSI Vice–President, President of SVPlanète, Founder of the Eco–Games
Alexis Leroy (FRA), Founder and CEO, Allcot
Julia Pallé (FRA), Sustainability Manager, Formula E
Fabian Putzing (GER), SandSI Founding Director and Treasurer, Founder Sustainable///sports
Leonie Schreve (NED), Managing Director ING
Paula Stringer (GBR), Head of Productions Sport at BBC
Susie Tomson (GBR), Sustainability expert
Anne–Cecile Turner (FRA), Sustainability Programme leader, Volvo Ocean Race
Steven Rockefeller (USA), Cushman and Wakefield
Special Advisors to the SandSI Board include:
Mael Besson, Sustainability Officer, French Ministry of Sport
Viviane Fraise (FRA), Head of Projects, Fédération Française de Tennis
Van Kirk Reeves, SandSI General Counsel
Pierluigi Zacheo, Founder, MyStadium
Moreover, Benjamin Camus (SandSI COO), David Muller (former Membership Director, Green Sports Alliance), Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO, International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), Dr. Srinandan Kasi, CEO, CueTree Platform Services, Finn Partners, among others played a key role in making the event a success.
Prior to the event, participants attended the Formula E Grand–Prix and Roland–Garros to view the implementation of sustainability initiatives at international events.
Video of the full SandSI Congress can be accessed HERE.
UPDATE: SandSI released the following statement regarding the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Agreement:
“Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) stands united with the global sports industry in support of international cooperation to address the serious threat of climate change, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. SandSI deeply regrets the decision of the United States to withdraw from the Agreement, and will support all sports federations, leagues, teams, venues, and events in re–doubling efforts to mobilize operations, business partners and millions of fans in response to the urgent global threat posed by worsening climate change. SandSI supports united collective action. We urge all members of the global sports industry, and all fans alike to join Sport and Sustainability International's work to respond to the increasingly dangerous threat that that climate change poses to current and especially future generations.”
The next SandSI seminar will be held in Geneva (Switzerland) between the 4th and the 5th of October. People and Organisations that wish to join SandSI's efforts can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Sport and Sustainability International
Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable and just communities, aligning itself on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Its core priorities include assisting exisiting sport and sustainability organizations increase their influence, enhancing the sustainability of events, venue design and operations; influencing procurement by the sports industry and its supply chain; and, mobilizing fans, athletes and sport federations in support of more sustainable behaviour. To learn more visit www.SandSI.org.