We’ve just released our new Impact Report for 2022-23! Take a look here.

Sports funding in England to depend on fighting climate crisis

Future funding for sporting bodies across England will only be granted if the sports can demonstrate their commitment to fighting the climate crisis.

Sport England, who invests over £300m into sports each year is making a change to their code of conduct. This means that organisations will be required to outline their plans to fight the climate emergency, in order to receive funding.

‘It’s the biggest topic that we will face.’

Sport England’s Chair Chris Boardman announced this change recently whilst highlighting support for the new commitment in the Government’s Get Active strategy. This states the government will work with Sport England to ‘embed environmental sustainability as a pillar of funding agreements.’ 

In the announcement, Chris stated that his organisation intended to work closely with sporting bodies to help them improve their environmental policies and protect the environment.

Some sports are already leading the charge and they will help others tackle what is the most complex and important challenge we have ever faced.

The status quo can’t be an option. We will tackle this seriously, quickly and most importantly, together.”

Chris Boardman
Chair, Sport England

“We have to do this.”

Meetings with sports will begin shortly. The idea is that Sport England’s future code of conduct – which organisations are required to sign before they can receive funding – will also include a requirement to outline plans to fight the climate emergency.

This announcement follows the recent article published by Sport England. This article highlights how climate change is already negatively impacting levels of physical activity. During periods of heavy rainfall in November 2022, physical inactivity increased by 40%.

Without action, it is feared that this will severely worsen sporting inequality.

What does this mean for sporting organisations?

Speaking at the Blue Earth Summit this month, Chris outlined several threats to sports and physical activity that we may encounter over the coming years.

This included the threat of flooding affecting football grounds, and a rise in temperatures affecting summer sports like cricket globally.

“The environment is central to our ability to stay healthy – that’s why the sports sector should take a leadership role in tackling climate change.

Chris Boardman
Chair, Sport England

Whilst there are some changes that can’t be made straight away – such as the eradication of 3G pitches which are bad for the environment – Boardman urges sporting bodies to consider what small changes can be made now, and what longer term changes can be worked towards.

Meetings with sporting bodies are planned to begin shortly. Through this, Sport England will help organisations to understand what is required of them in order to gain future funding.

What changes can I make to my environmental policy?

Active Norfolk are amongst a group of leading organisations in the sport, recreation and physical activity sector who have supported the launch of a new collaborative resources hub. This new website is aimed at supporting the sector to reduce its environmental impact and improve sustainability.

The SECC Resource Hub serves as a one-stop shop for the most relevant resources on sustainability and sport.

This carefully selected set of resources has been brought together to assist those who want to take positive action, regardless of where they are on their sustainability journey.

From clubs to venues, anyone involved with sport can engage with sustainability issues and make meaningful change.

The hub can be visited now, and provides some great ideas on how you can boost your environmental policy.

This hub is a great new resource for our partners and members of the wider community who want to take action.

Like many organisations in our sector, we acknowledge that we are responsible for our impact on the environment, and are taking immediate action on things we believe will have most impact.

Charlotte Collins
Active Environments Strategic Lead, Active Norfolk