Sporting codes urged to take the lead on environment and climate change

19 March 2013

Five years ago sporting codes had the health of the environment top of mind as they cancelled practices and matches due to the drought and now a Deakin University academic is asking them to look at the role they can take in improving the environment and get their fans to do the same.

Dr Sheila Nguyen, from Deakin University's School of Management and Marketing, is organising two Sports Sustainability Summits – one in Melbourne, Monday, March 25 and the other in Sydney, March 26.

The conference stems from her interest in the role sport can play in developing environmental stewardship and her research in the US during 2011, where she explored the relationship between sport and the environment.

“There are immense efforts by sport teams, leagues and venues to be innovative and to improve the environmental impact they have on their communities,” she said.

“It has even got the President’s attention with the President Obama inviting key sport industry leaders to discuss strategies to combat and address climate issues.

“These were later highlighted as a priority in his second inauguration.”

Dr Nguyen said initiatives by sporting organisations in the United States included recycling and composting, sustainable development and construction and better waste management.

"The US sport industry is educating their fans in very visible ways and are proactively connecting with their partners in finding and exploring strategies to reduce their environmental footprint," Dr Nguyen said.

“While sustainable practices have been 'bread and butter' for the Australian construction industry, the sport industry, with the exception of leaders such as Sydney Olympic Park, has remained somewhat under the radar.

“There are great initiatives taking place in Australia and the conference will be a good opportunity for the American and Australian leaders to share what they are doing and by doing so inspire and educate others in the sport industry on how to work towards being an environmental change agent all the way from the grassroots to elite sport.”

The keynote speaker for the Melbourne summit will be the CEO of Carlton Football Club, Gregg Swann and the keynote speaker for the Sydney summit will be Richard Griffiths, COO of GWS Football Club.

While other speakers will include Kevin Carr, VP of Player and Community Programs, National Basketball Association, (USA), Brad Mohr (Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball, USA), Brian Thurston (Waste Management, USA), Simon Gorr (AFL), Natalie Valentine (Simonds Stadium, City of Greater Geelong), Roy Depczynski (Patersons Stadium, WA), and Darlene van der Breggen (Office of Public Works, NSW).

What the speakers are saying

Further information on the conference

News facts
  • If one really stops and thinks of all the resources used on a gameday – water for the grass, players, fans, cleaning, and air conditioning, electricity used around the clock for light, heating and cooling, cooking, scoreboards, the hundreds of televisions, and food for the players, staff, and fans – ballparks are consumers. Using less, reusing and recycling are strategies to not only save those resources but also costs.
  • Melbourne Summit, 25 March, 2013, 9am, Deakin Prime - Level 3, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
  • Sydney Summit, 26 March, 2013, 9am, Allianz Stadium - Captains Bar, Moore Park Road, Moore Park

Media contact

Sandra Kingston
Deakin Media Relations
03 9246 8221/ 0422 005 485

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

19th March 2013