In the media

What the sporting world can do to improve its sustainability

By Ian King Live

Sky News

10 November 2021

PA’s Head of Climate Response, Jonquil Hackenberg, is interviewed on Sky News' Ian King Live, where she discusses what the sporting world can do to improve its sustainability.more than 30 different organisations in the EV space

Commenting on which sports have the biggest carbon footprint and whether it’s the ones that draw the largest crowds, Jonquil says:

“If you look at the supply chain across a whole number of sports, not just for the sport itself, then we’ve got to take that into consideration too. Football is one example alongside Formula 1 - anything that draws large crowds to it. Think about the entire supply chain of people travelling to the sporting event but also the kit that’s made and the materials that are used for the sport overall. All of that needs to be taken into consideration as it’s adding to the carbon footprint.”

Get the latest sustainability and climate response insights straight to your inbox
Sign up here

Jonquil is asked whether she thinks sports administrators and professional sports clubs are thinking enough about their carbon footprint right now. She says:

“No, I don't, and I think there’s a massive opportunity for sport to play a much bigger role in climate response in general, as well as in diversity and inclusion. Think about the correlation between sponsorship and sport - there are brands not wanting to be associated with things that are out of date, so it's got to be taken into consideration.”

Jonquil continues:

“I think sport has just focused on getting the crowds there, but now consumers and sports people are being much more conscious in their decisions of what they’re buying, and also in terms of the sports that they’re watching. If sport wants to remain relevant, it really has to focus on that in order to attract future sponsorships which, of course, will be the future of the sport too.”

Ian asks if there are any sports that Jonquil would single out for praise. Jonquil responds:

“A good example would be sailing, which is a sport that I support and partake in. If you look at the ocean race, they’ve really moved away from it being about sailing to being about purpose and the ocean health and they’re really trying to drive gender parity in that, although there’s quite a long way to go. In a similar fashion, Formula E is trying to focus very much on decarbonisation because it’s using electric vehicles.”

Ian asks Jonquil whether she sees a time when sponsors are going to start taking money away from professional sports that aren’t addressing sustainability issues. She agrees with this and says:

“Look at what football has done around racism over the last decade - brands and companies do not want to be associated with anything that’s not tackling that. This is where sustainability and climate response is going as is diversity and inclusion. The correlation is dramatic, and money is being taken away, and a recent example is the sponsorships with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

When asked what she thinks about Yorkshire Country Cricket Club's response to this, Jonquil explains:

“I think it's a good result that the sponsorship pulled away and I think this is what needs to be focused on and should be used example of why sponsorship and sport have to have a correlation, specifically around climate response. I think the Club still has some way to go in terms of changing behaviours, but they're moving in the right direction.”

Commenting on what she thinks the next big scandal in professional sport is going to be, Jonquil says:

“I think it’s going to be sustainability and climate response especially for those that aren’t really addressing it, whether that’s from a carbon or water waste perspective, but also ethics across supply chains which is part of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). I think we also have to mention that governance is focused on diversity and inclusion, and that's going to be a big driver in decision making as to whether companies are going to engage and sponsor specific brands and sporting clubs.”

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.