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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

COP26 and sport - small gains for big impact?

Many coaches talk of making small changes, to achieve a series of smaller gains, for a bigger collective impact. One rugby coach I had the pleasure of serving as a member of his management team, always spoke of getting an extra half or one percent from players, to get a collectively much better performance.  

Clearly, I'm not a climate expert but the more radical the solution appears, the more difficult it seems to be to embrace for many.  One immediate reaction to COP26 has been from critics suggesting that the event should take place online and without people congregating, to reduce the carbon footprint of the event. But surely that principle can’t be the answer to the climate challenge faced, or we’d never leave our homes, unless it was truly vital.  

That principle, applicable in other ways such as permitting people to work from home, would be very difficult to apply for many different types of sporting activity and many different levels of sport, where travel and interaction is key. For sport, Wednesday’s gathering of leaders and thinkers from international sport at COP26 will be intriguing. The challenge for sport must surely be what small steps can be taken across all sports, to secure meaningful change, without fundamentally altering the sporting landscape.  

What can be changed or reduced, around the edges, to bring a cleaner event, tour, sport? Discipline work I am involved in, in various sports, has moved to reduce its carbon footprint, using technology.  I am also seeing a reduction in travel in various other ways, with increased effectiveness to technology and communication platforms providing a cleaner means of organising governance in sport.  

What other steps can be taken to make improvements, around the edges, that can add up to a greater sum than all of its parts, without fundamentally changing sports we love and which keep us active and engaged? As with all of COP26, we will watch with interest.

Wednesday is the day when sport will come into focus in Glasgow. Key figures from the world's biggest sporting organisations are expected to attend including the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


sport, employment law