Environmental sustainability is finally taking centre stage, for which no sectors will escape, including sport and fitness. With the European Union setting ambitious and essential goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and global initiatives like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework, as well as the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) sustainability strategy, the sport and fitness sectors are gearing up for their green transitions.
The work required
Enhancing environmental sustainability in the sport and fitness worlds requires a significant bulk of work and efforts, which more often than not, can be discouraging and end up in stakeholders shying away from taking action. In a humble attempt to support fitness and sport stakeholders to take the first steps in their sustainability journey, EuropeActive, together with the Green Audit project consortium, has been working together since June 2022 on a user-friendly self-assessment tool, whose launch we are thrilled to announce! Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, the Green Audit project is hereby launching its Self-Assessments Tool!
The tool has been designed with, and specifically for, fitness and sport club/centre managers and/or owners, and seeks to offer respondents a comprehensive overview and understanding of their club/centre’s current sustainability efforts, while providing them with insights for further progress. Through a series of multiple-choice questions, the questionnaire will navigate users through an evaluation of their club's sustainability performance, with a particular focus on GHG emissions, and will further benchmark against similar-sized fitness and sport clubs/centres. Based on their answers, an automated report and certificate will be generated, offering an illustration of the club’s rating, valuable insights and suggestions for further improvement.
Participating in the Green Audit self-assessment enables clubs’ managers/owners to gain valuable knowledge about their club's sustainability impact, compare their performance with similar clubs, and receive practical recommendations and examples of successful practices implemented in the fitness and sport sectors to reduce energy consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The tool also includes a benchmark that places an answer against a backdrop of comparable others, offering a respondents a tentative idea of how well they are perfoming in comparison to other similar stakeholders. The greater the numbers of clubs who complete the self-assessment and share their experiences, the better the benchmarking will become, and the more extensive the collection of good practice examples will grow, benefiting the entire fitness and sport communities.
It is important to note that the Green Audit self-assessment tool is not intended to replace or serve as a professional audit evaluation but rather as a valuable resource for clubs starting out on their sustainability journey, or who are curious to see how their efforts compare. This point is essential, notably given increasing commercial trends that claim to be ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ to remain competitive and attract environmentally conscious clients. A 2020 Commission study revealed that a sizeable portion of environmental claims being made in the EU, 53.3%, were either unclear, misleading, or unfounded, and 40% were unsubstantiated. In March 2023, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on Green Claims, with the aim of addressing the issue of greenwashing by addressing false environmental claims that are increasingly promoted to consumers seeking sustainable products and services. According to the proposal, when companies choose to make a ‘green claim' about their products or services, they will have to respect minimum norms on how they substantiate these claims and how they communicate them. Before entering into law, the Green Claims Directive proposal will be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council. Member States will then have 18 months to transpose it into national law, followed by an additional six months before the rules take effect.
Stay tuned for the Green Audit project’s next deliverables! They will include a set of policy recommendations for greener sport and fitness sectors, and a final conference where the latter will be presented and discussed.
TAKE YOUR SELF-ASSESSMENT NOW!