The Sport Environment Alliance (SEA) is a not-for-profit membership organisation that provides guidance to the sports industry on how to become more environmentally aware and take action to reduce impact.
There are three alliances around the world – in the UK, North America and Australasia.
On a big scale, clubs in the National Football League in the US are replacing lighting at their major stadiums with LED lighting – drastically reducing emissions and also slashing operating costs.
At an Australian level, the MCG is well advanced in its environmental efficiency, recycling water for irrigation and composting food waste.
But it’s at grassroots sport in Victoria that the Sport Environment Alliance has set its sights.
Feedback from local clubs highlights many have limited awareness of their environmental impact, or the steps they can take to reduce it.
It can be as simple as turning off the lights as soon as training is finished, or changing watering patterns during the year when grass is dormant.
It could be installing an automatic sprinkler system to increase efficiency by watering overnight, or replacing a turf bowling green with modern low-maintenance synthetic turf.
Sport and Recreation Victoria is partnering with the Alliance and investing $100,000 to develop guidelines and resources to help local clubs, councils and facility managers at grassroots level to future-proof our sport and recreation sector.
The resources will provide a useful and hands-on reference for organisations to lead practical and behavioural change.
The resources build on existing environmental initiatives: Sport and Recreation Victoria requires a minimum of 25 per cent of grant amounts for pools, major facilities and stadiums must be attributed to environmentally sustainable design elements.
It’s not just the environment that’s a winner with the Alliance. Many initiatives such as irrigation systems and LED lighting can significantly reduce costs for clubs, helping to keep sport and recreation affordable for Victorian families.
The Australasian Alliance is led by Chairman Malcom Speed (AO) and Executive Director Dr Sheila N. Nguyen. Members include representatives from groups such as the AFL, Cycling Australia, Cricket Australia, Golf Australia, Football Federation Australia and the Australian Sports Commission.
Their goal is not just to help clubs, but to educate and empower members and local communities.
“Sport has the power to influence, and we want to help the sport industry to tackle environmental health from the grassroots up with education and empowerment, and from the top down with elite sport setting the agenda,” said Dr Nguyen.
Ultimately, the alliance will help local clubs reach a point where environmental considerations are a fundamental part of their everyday operations and decision making.
For more information on the alliance