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Wales Climate Week 2023: What is Sport Wales doing to tackle climate change?

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It’s Climate Week in Wales! The perfect opportunity to highlight what Sport Wales is doing to combat climate change and the role that everyone involved in sport in Wales can play.

We’re committed to helping the nation achieve net zero by 2030 and creating a greener, stronger and fairer Wales.

How does sport affect the planet?

We have all felt the impact of climate change on sport in Wales with fixtures and events cancelled or postponed due to flooded pitches or extreme heat. But how does sport contribute to the climate problem?

Sport may not come to mind when you think about emissions and pollution but believe it or not, its global carbon footprint is equivalent to that of a medium-sized country, contributing an estimated 0.8% of global emissions according to the Rapid Transition Alliance. Two of the main contributors to the problem within sport are energy consumption and travel (participant and spectators.)  

How is Sport Wales helping to tackle climate change?

It has become a Sport Wales priority to decrease our own carbon footprint while supporting and encouraging sport clubs and other organisations in the sector to make sustainable changes themselves.

Here are some of the steps being taken...

Energy Saving Grant

Using Welsh Government funding, we were able to offer sports clubs a chance to apply for our Energy Saving Grant earlier this year. Sports clubs could apply for a grant of up to £25,000 which could be used towards the cost of energy-saving measures such as the installation of solar panels or better insulation. 

Those who are successful with their applications will not only benefit from reduced utility bills so that they can become more financially sustainable, but they’ll also be doing their bit for the environment too. We’ll soon be announcing details of the clubs who have been awarded funding.

Capital Funding 

Community clubs aren’t the only ones to receive green investment from Sport Wales. Some of our capital funding for 2023/24, allocated by Welsh Government, has gone into funding energy sustainability at leisure centres and sports facilities. Solar panels and heat-distribution fans are some of the green solutions that will be installed at different leisure facilities across Wales to reduce their utility bills while also becoming more environmentally-friendly. We’ll be announcing full details of these projects soon.

Electric Pool Cars

Hwyl fawr fossil fuels and helo green energy! Sport Wales has invested in a fleet of electric pool cars, reducing our emissions when we need to take to the road. Our staff based at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff can use these vehicles safe in the knowledge that they are making greener journeys.

A blue Hyundai Kona car outside of the Sport Wales National Cantre in Cardiff
One of our new electric cars.

Environmental Sustainability Plan

In February, we launched our Environmental Sustainability Plan in partnership with the Carbon Trust. This plan provides us with direction on our sustainability journey, maps out our route to net zero and ensures that we deliver an environment in which sport can continue to thrive for future generations.

Resources for sports clubs

Sport Wales, as part of the Sport Environment and Climate Coalition (SECC), has helped to develop the SECC Resource Hub for sports clubs and organisations in Wales.

Available in Welsh as well as English, it includes videos, articles and guides to support clubs those in sport who want to make a difference and engage with sustainability issues.

What can my sports club or organisation do to help?

To reduce the carbon footprint of Welsh sport, we don't need someone to do everything perfectly, we need everyone to be doing something as best as we can. 

The SECC Resource Hub is a great place to start researching and planning how you can start your sustainability journey or take your impact to the next level.

It’s not always easy when you go it alone but there are many others in Wales who are embarking on the same journey towards net zero. Reach out to local organisations, collaborate on your sustainability work and share knowledge. Don’t worry if they don’t have anything to do with sport – there are charities, public bodies and businesses across the nation with the same climate change goals. 

You can also read our top tips about how to become a sustainable sports club and learn where the best places are to recycle your club’s sports kit.