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Sustainability is a very broad subject. Positive behaviour change to promote and enable good health and wellbeing, embed gender equality and strengthen local resources and the capacity to reduce inequalities is at the core of the work of Sport England and our partners.

This information considers some of the principles to apply to effectively respond to climate change, create sustainable communities and drive industry innovation across the sector. Sustainability plays a key role in the design and management of sports recreation and leisure facilities. Promoting sustainability can help you drive down running costs and make a real contribution in the battle against climate change.

We encourage you to embrace environmental sustainability from the very start of your project and to treat it as a vital consideration throughout.

A rugby coach speak to a group of children who have formed a huddle around her.

The government declared a climate emergency in 2019, setting a net-zero carbon target by 2050.

Climate change, and the risks of extreme weather that it brings, are already understood and the impact on community-based sport is very real.

The need to raise awareness, find solutions and build in resilience are an ever more pressing matter.

We know sport and physical activity is essential to physical and mental wellbeing, and part of encouraging and enabling physical activity is about making positive choices – choosing to get around without using polluting vehicles, making neighbourhoods more easily negotiated on foot or by bike and connecting neighbourhoods to where we need to get to and from.

There’s a keen interest and awareness about environmental sustainability across the sector and a willingness to promote change where needed.

Everyone understands there’s much more to be done, from the management of major events, sustainable travel policies and selection and use of recyclable materials, to the creation and operation of energy and resource-hungry facilities.

Sports organisations should continue to lead by example, take a critical look at how we operate, quantify and record consumption and waste, and set challenging targets to reduce or eliminate it.

Responding to climate change is not an easy task but there’s no choice here. The sport and physical activity sector is a force for good and has a major contribution to make.

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