The AFL and Cricket Australia should act on climate change

Climate change and sport

With the AFL season now well underway, I’m reminded of how much work Australian sporting codes must do to catch up to some of their international counterparts on climate change.

This is not to say that our sporting codes do nothing on sustainability. WA Cricket is well known for its progress on diversity and inclusion. In the AFL, the West Coast Eagles made a strong effort to combat waste at their matches. And, the Fremantle Dockers were the first AFL club to publish anything that resembled a sustainability strategy.

But, the elephant in room is climate change, and, more specifically, the greenhouse gas emissions generated though their activities. This includes crisscrossing the nation on a regular basis, often on chartered aircraft, but extends to the energy consumed at games, as well as the carbon footprint of the merchandise, food and beverage purchased by fans.

Overseas, the English Premier League has a net zero emissions by 2040 target. A sustainability league table has also been created, where the sustainability performance of EPL clubs is ranked. Such competition led to some very comprehensive approaches to sustainability by several clubs.

It is foreseeable that major corporates will soon consider the emissions of the activities they sponsor as a part of their scope three emissions and make decisions accordingly. Which should provide a pretty good incentive for the AFL, Cricket Australia and our other major sporting codes to calculate their carbon emissions and implement strategies to reduce them.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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