Budgeting for Sustainability in 2023

It’s been impossible to miss the climate crisis’s growing impacts during the past fortnight.

With extreme temperatures hitting Europe, major sporting events were affected in ways we highlighted in a piece last week.

The Irish government is locked in negotiations about emissions targets for the agri-industry and even the two hopefuls in the Conservative Party leadership race in the UK share a commitment to net zero.  Much is happening.

Now to the role of sport.

There’s growing consensus that athletes and sports organisations have a role to play. Many are still trying to figure out what that role is, and others are already thinking how to fund sustainability in 2023.

If you’re in the latter camp and planning to take action next year, that’s fantastic. You can start your sustainability journey small, but start as soon as you can. Three elements to think about in year one:

Budget for Planning. Budget for Housekeeping. Budget for Influencing.

— Planning.

Goes without saying, right?

Take the time to review attitudes towards sustainability in your organisation. Talk to your people. Identify the immediate improvements you can make. Start thinking about the bigger, longer term initiatives that are right for you and your sport.

A review and planning process with a reputable consultant could be conducted in six to eight weeks and would be money well spent.

— Housekeeping.

Start with the small. Look at what needs to change at your HQ, at your offices, at your stadium or at your event. Day-to-day behaviours of staff, in-person attendance, waste reduction, reusing, switching to green energy providers etc. There are many small operational changes that will also save your organisation money – now.

You can do this as you start planning for your bigger initiatives – i.e.  the move to renewable energy and its long term minimised costs and security. With payback from capital investment now taking under five years, there’s never been a better time for sport to drop its reliance on fossil fuels.

— Influencing.

This is enormous. With a plan, point of view and a genuine commitment to sustainability, you can start impacting the views of hundreds, thousands, and possibly millions of people who play and follow your sport.

Small behavioural changes amongst large groups of people, influenced by you, can have meaningful and long-lasting impacts on the health of our environment, our communities and our economy.

Budget time and money to share and promote the most relevant and meaningful actions. These could include active transport, energy use, biodiversity, food choices to equality, health & wellbeing and inclusion etc, but may differ depending on your sport and organisation.

If you already have people and partners in place to create content and promote your sport, then your priority is to identify the appropriate sustainability messages for you, your sport and your fans. The action areas for your sport should be pretty clear on the back of a robust planning process.

And this influence should also extend to pursuing sustainability through your organisation’s supply chain. Check out how the Commonwealth Games are approaching this opportunity in another of our recent pieces.

— Summary

Budgeting for sustainable development in year one should not be prohibitive.

Talk to a reputable consultancy about that all-important ‘Planning’ stage, then take the rest of the year to get your house in order and start sharing the right messages with your followers and fans.

If you would like more information around how you should approach sustainability, get in touch with our Managing Partner, Patrick

Sustainabil,ity finance and budgeting for sport in ireland in 2023