Green-Sports Conferences

Sport Positive Summit II: A Look Back


Last week’s second Sport Positive Summit took place during a crucial period in the climate fight: After the August issuance of the sobering IPCC report and before the COP 26 global climate conference. Attendees needed substance, direction and legitimate, not “pie-in-the-sky” hope.

It says here that Sport Positive delivered, thanks to a mix of high wattage and impressive keynote speakers, panels that were long on substance and largely stayed away from ‘Kumbaya’, as well as vibrant networking.

Here is a sampling of comments from Sport Positive Summit speakers.



The world must adapt to cut its emissions in half by 2030 and sport must play its part. Sport has shown how to do this by the way it has adapted on COVID. It has the power to mobilize communities to do the same on climate.”

— Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


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Patricia Espinosa (Photo credit: UNFCCC)



“The climate crisis is a call to action for all of us; we are in a race against time. The International Olympic Committee has a responsibility to be part of the solution. So, we are working to reduce IOC emissions by 45 percent by 2030. The Paris 2024 Summer Games will make a positive contribution to the climate; by 2030, all Olympic Games must be climate positive.

— Thomas Bach, president, International Olympic Committee


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Thomas Bach (Photo credit: IOC)



I’ve moved from being a gas guzzling, Formula 1 driver to living a life of purpose by being a sustainable entrepreneur. All of the projects I work on are sustainable, from the Berlin Greentech Festival, which will accelerate new clean technologies, to fielding a team — we’re currently in first place — in the initial Extreme E off-road series. The latter is all emissions-free, using solar and water at each site to power the cars. And the sites are remote, from Senegal to Greenland. Our goal is to show the younger generations that real change on climate is possible.

— Nico Rosberg, Formula 1 world champion and sustainability entrepreneur


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Nico Rosberg (Photo credit: Rosberg Xtreme Racing)



“Sport inspires billions. It has the power to energize an incredible grassroots movement to take on the climate crisis! Our club, Forest Green Rovers, [currently in the fourth tier of English football], focuses on finding ways to do everything we can to reduce our energy, transport and food emissions. For example, we only serve vegan food at our home ground’s concession stands. Tottenham, which is in the Premier League, and Sky Sports recently hosted #GameZero. They added vegan items to the concession stands at Tottenham Stadium, which was a good start…”

— Dale Vince, OBE, chairman, Forest Green Rovers


“…But Tottenham and Sky Sports should only have sold vegan food that day. Sky Sports needs to have a much bigger ambition on climate!”

— Vince continued, issuing a challenge to Sky Sports presenter David Garrido, and moderator of the ‘Partnerships for Speed, Scale and Success’ panel at Sport Positive Summit


“Challenge accepted!”

— David Garrido, responding to Vince


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Dale Vince, OBE (Photo credit: Forest Green Rovers)



“Climate justice links climate action to human rights and sustainable development. My work at Bohemian F.C. in North Dublin, Ireland is to show how sports can lead on climate justice, how the climate crisis impacts fans and the community. We have to advocate for them…For example, what if a solar installation at a stadium could also provide power on non-game days to lower income families? Or planting trees in low-income areas without green space…Football clubs have to be brave and political to really take the climate issue on!

— Sean McCabe, climate justice officer, Bohemian FC


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Sean McCabe (Photo credit: Bohemian F.C.)



Climate change is an ‘everything issue’ and everything includes sports. Whoever we are, whatever we care about, we are perfectly positioned to care about climate change…The 3.5 billion poorest people on Earth are responsible for only seven percent of global emissions but are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change.

— Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Chief scientist, The Nature Conservancy, author of ‘Saving Us, a Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World’


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Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (Photo credit: Kathy Rogers/Texas Tech University)



At COP 26, our motto is ‘Keep 1.5 Alive’, as in keeping alive the goal of limiting global average temperature increase versus pre-industrial rates to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We are behind but it’s still possible. Sports must play its part; there is no other option.”

Alok Sharma, COP 26 president-designate


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Alok Sharma (Photo credit: House of Commons)



“Athletes often say that they don’t know about climate change, that they don’t understand it, that they feel guilty about their carbon footprints. We are here at BBC Sport to hold teams and sport organizations to account, not individual athletes.”

— David Lockwood, editorial lead for sustainability, BBC Sport


“Having a dedicated sustainability reporter at ESPN, like BBC Sport has with Dave Lockwood, would be a great step.”

— Dan Murphy, staff writer, ESPN


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David Lockwood (Photo credit: Twitter)



“We’re still learning how to deal with the climate issue; we not sure the best way to do it but we’re getting better. It’s so important to get it right because sports talks to audiences that don’t always engage on climate. One thing we do is let our audience knows that climate impacts the sports you love.”

— Helen Falkus, director of multi-sports, Sky Sports


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Helen Falkus (Photo credit: Sport Positive Summit)



I’m trying to use the power of sport to move the climate discussion beyond the Left-Right divide. So, I started a conversation with an editor of the right wing Daily Express who liked our work at Forest Green Rovers. We decided to have a weekly column, ‘Green Britain’, that highlights what our work at the club on transport, waste and food. Using the tabloid format has proven to be very popular, indeed. In fact it’s the most popular series ever for the paper. In fact, The Express has run about as many climate stories as [Left-leaning The Guardian.”

— Dale Vince



“On climate and sports, it’s quite simple: The most important thing is that climate change must be front and center in all aspects of decision making for a sports organization.

— David Lockwood



“Unlike sport, there are no winners and losers in climate. Either we all win or we all lose.”

— Sean McCabe



As Greta Thunberg says, ‘Hope on climate change doesn’t just happen. Take real action and hope materializes!’ Let’s get to work.”

— Katharine Hayhoe


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Nancy Hirshberg of the Climate Collaborative

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