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While the sporting organisation’s primary goal is to develop and grow their sport, high performing organisations are also aware of economic, social and environmental factors that impact on their responsibilities to the community.
The purpose of this document is to provide information on environmental issues currently facing sporting organisations and clubs within Western Australia and to equip them with the tools and skills necessary to reduce their environmental impact.
The intended audience for this document is made up of sporting clubs and organisations through to the owners or managers of sporting facilities and complexes. Despite this, the concepts covered and tools provided will be relevant to a broad range
of organisations, and as such can still be used as a reference tool by organisations of many types and sizes, sporting or otherwise. For the purposes of this document, these groups will generically be referred to as an ‘organisation’.
This document is split into three sections to assist organisations in understanding why they should address environmental sustainability, how to do so and how to find additional help.
You should use this document to help your organisation improve its environmental sustainability.
Western Australians love their sport and recreation and getting outdoors to experience the diverse natural environments our state has to offer. Our enjoyment of these environments, however, does not come without its share of challenges.
Issues such as climate change, sustainability and natural resource management will continue to put pressure on the sport and recreation industry into the future. These issues have been identified in Strategic Directions for the Western Australian
Sport and Recreation Industry 2011–2015 (SD5), which pays particular attention to sustainable organisational development, open spaces and natural environments.
Our communities are increasingly looking beyond businesses and governments towards other bodies to show innovation and responsibility in responding to these environmental challenges.
The very nature of sport and recreation and its use of natural and built spaces means our industry has an inherent duty to respond to these challenges. The good news is that the passion that exists for sport and recreation in the Western Australian
community sees our industry ideally placed to respond to these challenges.It is my hope that the tools and resources in this pack will assist WA sport and recreation organisations to understand their environmental impact, put processes
in place to reduce it and ultimately ensure that sport and recreation is equipped to thrive into the future.
Hon Tuck Waldron MLA Minister for Sport and Recreation
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Environmental sustainability is all about trying to maintain a minimum quality of life without adversely impacting on the environment or reducing our future generations’ ability to meet their own needs to live, work and play with the same quality
of life we currently experience.
Sport is a large part of the Australian lifestyle. All sports use natural resources to some extent and have an impact on our natural environment. Sports by their very nature bring people together; athletes, spectators, officials, sponsors and
suppliers come together to participate in and support sport. Furthermore, sport has requirements that impact on the environment such as equipment, facilities, infrastructure, transportation, catering, sanitation and merchandising.
When we consider the people and materials involved in sport, it becomes clear that all sorts of resources from energy, water and other consumables are required to enable sports. Inevitably, sport leads to the generation of waste and pollution
which impacts on our ecosystems. Environmental sustainability in sport is all about managing these interactions to minimise the negative impacts and maximise the positive.
The diagram above shows the components of sustainability for an organisation. This includes areas of energy, pollution, resources, ecosystems, water, waste, materials and people. Materials include sports equipment, facilities and infrastructure
with environmental considerations of buildings, parks, manufacturing, maintenance and transportation. People include athletes, spectators, officials, sponsors with environmental considerations of transport, catering, sanitation, uniforms
The benefits of bringing environmental sustainability into your organisation go beyond ‘doing the right thing’ by the environment. It is common for sustainability actions to lead to cost savings. For example, finding ways to
reduce your fuel, water and electricity use will lead to a reduction in your costs. When you consider that we are expecting to see increasing costs for most of our resources over the coming years, finding ways to reduce these costs
now is of much benefit. You may also find that the added recognition and reputation benefits you receive from ‘going green’ may lead to increased sponsorship and other funding opportunities for your organisation.
Whenever a person engages in sport there is an impact on the environment.
UN Sports and Environment Program
UN Sports and Environment Program
Climate change, often called ‘global warming’, refers to changing weather patterns and climates around the globe, and has been attributed to an increase in human generated greenhouse gases. These gases are created when we do things
such as burn fuel, consume electricity and dispose of waste in landfill.
It is predicted that in Western Australia our climate will change significantly in the coming 30 years. It is anticipated that:
Part of the response is to change our behaviour to best deal with the affects of climate change, which we are already beginning to see. This is known as adaptation and includes examples such as replacing grass with artificial turf to reduce
the need to water it, or building shade structures next to buildings to protect them and their occupants from increasing temperatures.
The other half of the response to climate change is what we call mitigation. Here, we do what we can to prevent or reduce the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and hopefully reduce the level of climate change we will experience
in the future. Examples of mitigation include installing solar panels to produce clean energy and increasing our recycling to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
As climate change continues to affect our environment, we can expect it to impact on sport and recreation in a variety of ways. Increased temperatures and reduced rainfall will reduce the quality of playing surfaces; increased evaporation
will require more water for both irrigation and open water facilities; and sporting facilities and infrastructure may be at increased risk from storm damage and flooding.
Carbon neutrality is the process of measuring your carbon emissions and offsetting them so that you have net zero emissions. While achieving carbon neutrality is to be commended, there are a number of risks and pitfalls that organisations
considering going carbon neutral should consider. More information on the process of achieving carbon neutrality and what to be aware of when making public claims of carbon neutrality can be found in Part 3.
Energy efficiency goes hand in hand with climate change, as it is generally the burning of fossil fuels that leads to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Energy accounts for over 70% of Australia’s carbon emissions (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 2010). As such effective energy management is critical to developing a sustainable sporting organisation.
Energy not only refers to the use of electricity but also fuel, such as diesel, petrol or gas. However, the big issue with electricity is that its use is invisible for most of us. Unlike water and fuel, we can’t see it and don’t really
understand it. We often don’t understand how and where we use it and therefore we struggle to value and manage our use of it.
The cost of electricity and fuel is rising and will place increased pressure on budgets for sporting facilities and activities, leaving less money available for other purposes, such as upgrading equipment and supplies. By improving energy efficiency
organisations can not only reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but also reduce their spend on energy, making more funding available for more desirable purchases.
Over time it has become second nature to throw away things we no longer want or need. As we continue to grow as a population and our consumption of ‘things’ increases, the amount we are throwing away is also rising. This is not
only inefficient (in that we are not making the most of some resources by reusing and recycling them) but also takes up valuable space in landfills, which have their own environmental costs.
On a per capita basis, Western Australians generate the most waste at nearly 2500 kg per person, per year with the lowest recycling rate in the country. Furthermore, we often see litter lying around facilities after sporting events where athletes
and spectators have either not put their rubbish in the right place or bins and infrastructure to collect the rubbish are insufficient for the needs. Effective waste management needs to be put in place.
Waste is relevant to all facets of our lives including sport and recreation. As people come together to play sport waste is inevitably generated, which requires collection and disposal. Litter can also have a detrimental affect on the look
and feel of a sports facility. By addressing waste we reduce the negative environmental impacts and improve the look and feel of our sporting facilities.
Source: Environmental Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) National Waste Overview 2009.
Western Australia’s water predominantly comes from a mix of surface water, ground water and desalination plants. While water is an essential part of life, our increasing population and reduced rainfall is placing pressure on this once
abundant resource, requiring us all to re-think how we use our water and to minimise any wastage.
Rainfall in WA is highly variable from year to year and can range from as low as 200mm per annum in the centre of the state to more that 1600mm per annum in the extreme north and south (Bureau of Meteorology, 2011).
However, predicted lower rainfalls in the south-west of the state and an increasing population means we can no longer solely rely on traditional water supplies to meet demand. We all need to do our bit to improve our water efficiency and
consider alternative water sources.
Increased water scarcity is likely to lead to increased costs for water and potentially less water being available for irrigation or water-based sporting facilities, such as swimming pools and artificial lakes. By managing water consumption,
sporting organisations can work towards not only reducing their costs but also ensuring there is enough water available for all needs into the future.
Biodiversity is the sum total of the living resources on Earth and is important for many reasons:
WA is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. The south-west of WA is one of the world’s 34 internationally recognised hotspots for biodiversity and the only one recognised in Australia (Conservation International, n.d.). Our biodiversity is a resource we should aim to protect and conserve.
Many of our sporting and recreational activities take place in outdoor environments amongst the natural environment, made possible by our range of biodiversity. To continue to participate and enjoy the outdoor sporting lifestyle, it is
important to maintain our biodiversity to ensure it plays its part in maintaining the environment to the standard that we have come to expect.
The process of improving your organisation’s sustainability involves four-steps: Commit – Make a visible commitment to sustainability within your organisation Plan – Assess what actions are available to you and develop an action
plan Do – Work towards implementing the actions listed on your action plan Review – Check your progress regularly to ensure you are on track and respond as necessary
Before you begin the environmental sustainability journey, you should make a commitment to sustainability within your organisation. This will ensure all stakeholders are aware of what you are trying to achieve and can help you get there.
Your commitment to sustainability can be a broad vision or mission statement, a pledge or a more detailed strategy or policy. It can be an internal document only or can be made publicly available. For maximum impact, you may be interested
in making a media release regarding your commitment.
Consider developing a ‘Green Committee’ or creating a new role for a Green Rep on an existing committee to ensure that environmental considerations are included in the ongoing management of your organisation.
If you choose to develop a sustainability policy, you should include:
An example pledge and sustainability policy have been provided in ‘Part 3 – Additional Tools and Resources’.
Once you have made your commitment, start planning what activities you can do to improve your sustainability profile and reduce your environmental footprint.
To help you with planning these activities a list of options have been provided on the following pages. When you have decided what actions you want to implement, you should document these in your action plan.
Your action plan is the list of all activities you want to implement to improve your sustainability. It provides details of how you will undertake your activities, who will be responsible for doing it and when it should be done by. An
action plan template has been provided in ‘Part 3 – Additional Tools and Resources’.
Don’t forget to plan how you will report on your progress. Reporting is an important part of sharing the sustainability message and you should give consideration to how you would like to share the outcomes of your journey with your
broader stakeholders. Give consideration to how you promoted your commitment to sustainability and ensure that the same stakeholders are kept informed of your progress and achievements. Some options to consider are updates in regular
newsletters, incorporating an environmental section in your annual report or briefing stakeholders at key events such as award ceremonies.
When it comes to improving environmental sustainability, there are a vast number of things you may choose to do. They can vary in ease to implement and the time and money required to do so. To assist with your planning, a list of options
has been provided for the key themes. They have been broken down into three categories:
Once you have started implementing your action plan, you should review it regularly to check your progress. If you assigned a Green Rep or Green Committee during Step 1, ensure they schedule regular reviews to check the status of the
action plan. Consider monthly checks for the ‘do it now’ items with longer checks on ‘do it soon’ and ‘do it later’ options.
Remember, you not only want to check that you have done what you said you would but that the change is also doing what you hoped it would (e.g. if you were going to install dual flush toilets check your water bills to ensure there
is a reduction in how much water you are using).
Much of the sustainability journey revolves around the concept of continuous improvement. As you review your performance and have realised some of the goals you hoped to achieve, you should also give consideration to what the next
step is. While you may start the journey with small actions, you should supplement these incrementally to ensure your organisation is continuously improving its sustainability.
There are two major ways of improving energy efficiency:
When trying to manage our waste, the waste management hierarchy is a well-used model which shows the order of preference of different waste management strategies, reminding those who generate or manage waste that:
Improving water efficiency can be achieved by finding ways of using less water to achieve the same outcomes or to find alternative sources of water to reduce the demand on scheme supplies.
Managing our biodiversity is about taking a positive attitude to the management of our natural resources and their conservation.
This section is designed for larger organisations (with bigger environmental footprints, or those who may manage large sporting facilities or run larger sporting events) or just those organisations that feel they have
progressed along the sustainability journey and want to push themselves to go further.
Some of the options below may require the assistance of external consultants – but don’t forget, you can also get advice from other organisations that have already implemented these actions and learn from
An environmental audit will help you to understand what your impact is on the environment and how it can be improved. They can be targeted specifically to review energy, waste or water, or they can take a holistic look
across all of these areas and more of your organisation. Environmental audits can be conducted on your own, or you may chose to use an external supplier experienced in the auditing process.
If you would like to try conducting your own audit, the Ecological Footprint concept is a useful tool for doing so. A link to this is provided in Part 3.
Many sport and recreation organisations are involved in the running of events. This can range from small weekly competitions to regattas, state championships and large-scale competitions attracting international competitors.
Often these events are run outside of the day-to-day operations of the host organisation or outside of their own facilities. In these instances, they may fall outside of the actions listed in an organisation’s
action plan. Despite this, you can still choose to run the event as sustainably as possible by running through the same ‘Commit, Plan, Do, Check’ process as outlined previously. Many of the actions listed
can be modified to fit the temporary or short-term nature of the event.
Additionally, some activities such as catering or waste management may need to be increased to support the size of the event. This in itself presents many opportunities to engage with suppliers and improve the event’s
sustainability even further. For example, ensuring that caterers reduce their waste where possible and provide biodegradable cutlery, plates and cups at all times.
Sustainable procurement is the process of choosing to buy goods and services that provide the optimum combination of costs and benefits where the social, economic and environmental impacts have been considered. This
means coming up with a policy that gives preference to products that are more environmentally friendly.
For example, products that are more energy efficient; made of recycled material; are recyclable at the end of their life; or have minimal packaging should be given preference over others that are less so.
You may often find that by simply talking to other businesses within your supply chain and telling them of the sustainability goals you are trying to achieve, they may have other options to help you achieve your goals.
Developing a sustainable procurement policy will assist you with implementing sustainable procurement across all areas of your organisation. An example policy document has been provided in Part 3.
If your organisation has one or more vehicles it may benefit from a vehicle fleet review. If you want to conduct a vehicle fleet review, you can use the following steps to guide you in what to do:
A life cycle assessment (LCA) models the interaction between a product and the environment from ‘cradle to grave’. It enables the estimation of the total environmental impacts resulting from all stages in
the product life cycle, often including impacts not considered previously, such as raw material extraction, material transportation and ultimate product disposal (Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society, 2010).
Life cycle assessment is a very defined and detailed exercise that can be difficult and time consuming to undertake. If you are interested in exploring the option of LCA, links to further information have been provided
in Part 3. Additionally, the Department of Sport and Recreation has created some guidelines on life cycle cost assessment that follows the same process of LCA, but applies the methodology specifically to costs.
A link to these guidelines is also available in Part 3.
Environmental management systems
An environmental management system (EMS) is used to manage your current and future environmental impact by integrating environmental management into the day-to-day operations of your organisation and long term planning.
An EMS can be designed to suit the size of your organisation from a simple plan through to a comprehensive strategy that can be certified under the international standard ISO 14001.
There are a number of components in an EMS, including:
Links to more resources on EMS have been provided in Part 3.
Sample documents to use for achieving better sustainability.
the ABC Baseball Club, we pledge to embed environmental sustainability
into the ongoing management of our club. We recognise that we all have a
part to play in ensuring the protection of our environment for the
benefit of all current and future generations.
We pledge to
monitor and strive to improve our performance on energy efficiency,
waste management and water consumption. We aim to reduce our
contribution to climate change and to actively protect and conserve our
Baseball Club recognises that baseball is a sport that brings people
and communities together with our natural environment. We recognise the
importance of maintaining our environment so that our members and the
local community, both now and in the future, can continue to enjoy this
ABC Baseball Club is committed to environmental sustainability through the following principles:
primary purpose of this policy is to minimise negative environmental
impacts of the ABC Baseball Club’s activities by ensuring products and
services are purchased that:
ABC Baseball Club commits to:
in this policy shall be construed as requiring a product be purchased
where it does not perform adequately for its intended use; is not
available at a reasonable price or within a reasonable time frame.
ABC Baseball Club members shall identify and purchase the most
environmentally responsible products and services that are available for
the intended purpose and that meet the performance requirements.
Factors that should be considered when determining environmentally
preferable products or services include, but are not limited to:
Do it now
Do it soon
Do it later
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