ChangeNow, in partnership with 17Sport, has announced the Sport Sponsors Climate Pledge, a commitment to correlate sponsorship with reduced emissions for the first time. International sport sponsors EDF, Orange, Accor and Sodexo became the first signatories of the pledge, which aims to decarbonise the sports industry and embrace science based targets.
This marks the beginning for the pledge, and it is expected that several other signatories will come onboard in the coming weeks. Companies that sign the Sport Sponsors Climate pledge agree to work in accordance with the Paris Agreement and science based methodologies such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set GHG emission reduction targets for their business and demonstrate concrete, audited results.
As part of the Sport Sponsors Climate Pledge, signatories commit to act beyond their own footprint in the following ways:
From 2023 onwards, signatories will call on all the sports organisations (clubs, federations, competitions, event committees) that they are partnered with to commit to GHG emission reduction objectives aligned with the Paris agreement, and to validate these targets by 2025 with the SBTi or a third party mutually agreed upon.
Signatories will co-create a framework and toolkit to help their partners and the sports industry make concrete steps towards decarbonisation.
From 2025, all signatories’ sponsorship investments in the sports industry will be contingent upon the following criteria:
Sponsored private sports organisations with a turnover equal to or above €40 million a year must have a GHG emission reduction target which is aligned with the Paris Agreement and validated by the SBT initiative.
All other sponsored sports organisations must demonstrate a commitment to setting GHG emission reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement, and verified and validated by a third party mutually agreed upon.
By committing to the Sport Sponsors Climate Pledge and embracing science based targets, signatories will align their sponsorship with emissions reduction and drive the decarbonisation of the sports industry. They will also play a vital role in channelling capital towards the best in class climate friendly organisations in the sport ecosystem and society as a whole.
The French Minister of Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games supports this ambitious initiative and its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will accelerate the ecological transition of the sports sector by encouraging the financing of the sports organisations most committed to these reductions.
Athletes also recognise the importance of decarbonising the sports industry and the fact that they act as role models for the rest of society. Today the athlete community has expressed its support for the Sport Sponsors Climate Pledge, with supporting athletes including:
Nikola Karabatic, professional handball player, three time Olympic champion, four time world champion.
Virginie Dedieu, synchronised swimmer, Olympic medallist and three time world champion.
Luka Karabatic, professional handball player, two time world champion, European champion and Olympic champion.
Laurence Fischer, three time world champion of karate, former ambassador for sport at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Julien Pierre, former professional rugby player, finalist of the 2011 World Cup, founder of Fair Play For Planet.
Michael Jeremias, French wheelchair tennis player, Paralympic champion in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Stan Thuret, committed sailor, co-president of the association La Vague.
Benjamin Kayser, former rugby professional, XV de France, Stade Français.
The Sport Sponsors Climate Pledge demonstrates ChangeNow’s unwavering commitment to accelerating environmental and social transition by fostering tangible actions and innovative solutions.
Kevin Tayebaly, ChangeNow, co-founder, said: ‘The role of sport to address this climate crisis is key. It has the power to open our eyes to our own reality, but to do so, it must set the standards we aim to adopt globally. With this pledge, the sport ecosystem today shows the way forward. Starting with our first signatories: EDF, Orange, Accor and Sodexo Live, joined by major international athletes and sport organisations. Their call to action is very strong. It will help us gain precious time in this race against climate change by accelerating exponentially our collective ability to respond to these global challenges.’
Fabien Paget, CEO, 17 Sport, said: ‘Sport has a massive role to play in order to be part of the solution and the corporate sector has a key responsibility in this transition. In order to drive systemic change at scale, we have to redirect financial investment towards committed climate friendly platforms. We are proud to welcome those corporate signatories, supported by other stakeholders from the sport industry such as the Ministry of Sports and the French Tennis Federation.’
Carine de Boissezon, Chief Impact Officer, EDF, commented: ‘EDF has been committed to sports for more than 30 years, and we truly see it as a powerful platform to inspire changes with regards to environmental and societal issues. We are proud to be one of the first signatories of this pledge, which is in line with our actions on climate and just transition. It will enable the sport ecosystem to play its role in the fight against global warming, by carrying values of responsibility, diversity and inclusion.’
Sophie Bonnier, head of international partnerships, Orange, added: ‘At Orange, we are convinced that the green transition is a real breakthrough, a challenge that involves a profound transformation, in all areas. For years, Orange has been fully committed to reducing its environmental footprint. Today we sign this pledge, driven by the objective of building together, with citizens, customers, our service providers and our employees, innovative solutions to help meet this major societal challenge.’
Brune Poirson, chief sustainability officer, Accor, stated: ‘Sport and environment seem to be natural allies. However, transforming the sport practices and organisations and those who support them must go even faster. Sport, through its ability to federate a large public, can give a decisive boost to the fight against global warming. Accor, as a major sponsor joining the coalition, will continue to put all its energy into accelerating this transformation of the Sport world.’
Nathalie Bellon-Szabo, CEO, Sodexo Live!, said: ‘By signing this pledge, I would like to share my firm belief that achieving success in the decarbonisation of major sports events is a collective responsibility. This is precisely what Sodexo Live! strives for every time we partner with major sports events. And this is why we are actively committed to participating in Paris 2024's environmental ambition to reduce the carbon footprint of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.
‘Undoubtedly, this is a challenge that demands our humility. Nevertheless, we are all well aware that it is an imperative if we aspire to continue experiencing the unique emotions generated by attending live events!’