The context

The UN Global Climate Action Sports for Climate Action Framework says:

Global warming is placing our planet and future generations at risk. Meeting the scale of the challenge requires action by all sectors, including the sport sector to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Around the world, governments, cities, and businesses are taking bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. By employing solutions to global warming each of us will be improving and contributing to public health, promoting social justice, preserving natural resources, creating reliable sources of energy and contributing to the society and economy as a whole.

Businesses are now looking to respond to the challenges of climate action in tangible ways. Companies are committing to renewable energy and energy productivity, are setting concrete targets in line with the climate science and cross-sectoral business initiatives are recognizing and addressing the climate impacts of supply chains…

The EUs Eurobarometer: Protecting the environment and climate gives a clear mandate for a change of thinking and action where:

EU citizens put the environment as the number one policy priority for the EU Institutions as reported in the special Eurobarometer : "94% of citizens in all EU Member States say that protecting the environment is important to them. In addition, 91% of citizens stated that climate change is a serious problem in the EU. European legislation is necessary to protect the environment, according to 83% of those surveyed.”

When interviewed, citizens considered that the most effective ways of tackling environmental problems were “changing the way we consume” and “changing the way we produce and trade”.

What will the project do?

The Green Audit project is a response from the fitness and sport sector.

The project aims to develop a Green Audit tool for fitness and sport stakeholders. Green audit is a way to show businesses what type of carbon footprint they are currently leaving on the planet, while also giving them ways to reduce it. A green audit will involve the review of an organisation to assess the total environmental impact of its activities.

The main objectives of the Green Audit are to:

  1. Enable a pilot of 30 European fitness and sport clubs in 5 different countries to assess their environmental impact through a comprehensive green audit or assessment scheme.
  2. Enable the pilot European fitness and sport clubs to reduce their environmental impact towards a sustainable and carbon neutral position by 2030 through a developed programme of actions arising from the audit.
  3. Support the fitness and sport sectors to become (more) climate sustainable by highlighting key areas of environment improvement based on the key findings.
  4. Advance policy recommendations for greener fitness and sport sectors.

How will it do this?

The Green Audit project partners recognise that for fitness and sport clubs to change their ways of thinking and working the green audit or assessment process will need to start with their businesses strengthening their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, and to set credible actions as hopefully they move towards a net zero carbon target.

There will be an on-line self-assessment with multiple choice answers to 25 questions, with guidance on how to select an answer which is most appropriate to their current operational position. Answers are developed in a cascade format that are cumulative and scored.

Depending on the answers given there will be signposting, or guidance on how to improve business performance to reduce carbon emissions. Put simply the assessment is to support clubs in understanding their own impact on the environment, and how they can minimise it by taking some specific actions.

An overall score will be given in an individual, downloadable report to be used for ongoing reference. The club will be given a certificate which will show their current ‘energy performance’ rather like domestic appliances and homes are given.

Clubs can then inform their members and users on their progress with confidence, transparency and with much enthusiasm.

The Green Audit project will demonstrate business benefits of focusing on sustainability that will be attractive and recognised by their users and members – many of whom will already be ahead of the thinking and actions of the club.

The Green Audit assessment results and certification should provide some of the tools and support to communicate the clubs’ commitment and sustainability achievements that will be recognised and appreciated in the wider community.

Phases and timeline

Phase 1: Research and Development (06-11/22): development of the audit content and digital platform prototypes and recruitment of 30 clubs in 5 countries

  • Kick off meeting (online)
  • Technical Expert Group Meeting 1 (Copenhagen)
  • Project Quality Team Meeting 1 (online)

Phase 2: Test and Trial (12/22-05/23): piloting of the audit in 30 fitness and sport clubs

  • Partners’ Meeting 2 (Brussels)
  • Technical Expert Group Meeting 2 (online)

Phase 3: Feedback and Review (06-11/23): collection and analysis of clubs' feedback on the prototypes, review and final design of the audit content and platform

  • Partners’ Meeting 3 (online)

Phase 4: Dissemination and Sustainability (12/23-05/24): dissemination of project results and policy recommendations for greener fitness and sport sectors

  • Project Quality Team Meeting 2 (Brussels)
  • Partners’ Meeting 4 (Brussels)
  • Final Conference (Brussels)