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Boys scrabble around picking up coloured discs on a court, it looks great fun

Going green

We’re in a climate change emergency. Rising temperatures, caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, are creating more extreme weather events. This threatens our ability to do the things we love, like taking part in sport.

To successfully tackle climate change, we all need to change our behaviours. The sport and physical activity sector has an important role to play in limiting the effects of climate change. Acting now is crucially important.  


How to get started

Our hints and tips will help you become more environmentally sustainable... for your sake and the planet's. 

We'll give you advice on everything from reducing the frequency of new kit, to removing single-use plastics, sourcing local produce or installing solar panels.

There are a number of easy and low-cost changes you can make to improve your carbon footprint.  


You could also... 

... explore the ‘Your stories’ section to see how others have done it.

... spend three minutes watching our animation on quick wins that you can implement today.

Make a commitment to change

Making a commitment to change is the first important step. It takes someone with passion, interest, and perseverance to start the conversation and get others on board.

Try and get everyone at your organisation engaged with the issues too. 

Once you’ve made a commitment:

  • Communicate it internally and externally.
  • Explain what you’re doing and why.
  • Ensure environmental sustainability is a fundamental part of your decision making and operations.

You can do this by:

  • Writing a pledge.
  • Developing a policy statement.
  • Creating a working group.
  • Including sustainability as a standing agenda item in regular meetings.
  • Continually checking that sustainability is embedded in your values, culture, attitudes, behaviours, operations, and marketing.

Set targets

two men run across a football pitch in the dark - they wear pink bibs and look really happy

To act on your commitment, you need to understand your organisation’s impact on climate change. This will depend on what type of organisation you are and how you operate.

Everything has an impact, from the activities you run, to the membership cards you use, the kit you buy, suppliers you use and how people travel to your activities. 


Calculate your carbon footprint

Try to calculate your carbon footprint to see where your biggest impacts are and where you can make reductions.

There are free tools and templates available online. 

Prioritise actions that can have the biggest effects. You might also want to identify some smaller, ‘quick wins’ to build momentum and get you started. Once you’ve worked out what you can do, set yourselves targets, and tell people about them.

You can do this by:

  • Building them into your decision-making processes.
  • Regularly monitoring your progress.
  • Communicating your progress and encourage others to act too.

Make facilities as efficient and sustainable as possible

If you hire facilities

Ask whoever manages your facilities what they are doing for the environment. See if you can help them to become more sustainable.


If you have your own facilities

Think about what you could do to reduce energy consumption, like:

  • Monitoring your energy usage by installing energy meters.
  • Switching lights and electrical equipment off and exploring automatic controls.
  • Encouraging people to take shorter showers or using aerating shower heads.
  • Programming your thermostats and using thermostatic radiator valves.
  • Using low energy bulbs.
  • Improving your insulation.
  • Exploring different energy tariffs and providers.
  • Moving to providers that use renewable energy sources.
  • Recycling greywater or rainwater.
  • Using irrigation and sprinkler systems overnight.
  • Maintaining or improving your glazing, to avoid drafts when it’s cold and aid ventilation when it’s hot.
  • Installing renewable energy sources on site.

This is an evolving market and there are multiple solutions available. Take time to find the right ones for you. Fundraising projects can help you cover costs.

Talk to your Council and other community partners to see if you can be included in local projects and work towards the national target of net zero.

Support nature and wildlife

Climate change affects nature and wildlife. A diverse range of plants, animals and habitats exist within every local community. They play an essential part in producing oxygen, cleaning the air and water, and creating food.

Supporting this biodiversity can help to stop the acceleration of climate change and improve our own health and wellbeing.

There are lots of different things you can do to help.


If you hire facilities

  • Ask the managers what they’re doing to support biodiversity in your local area.
  • Get involved in local planting or gardening schemes, take your members on wildlife walks, or do a sponsored litter pick to raise awareness and funds.

If you have your own facilities

  • Think about whether there are unused areas of land that could support wildlife - you could leave the grass to grow longer or plant wildflowers, shrubs, or trees.
  • Consider whether grass cutting patterns and equipment could be changed to enhance their impact on the environment and reduce costs.
  • Reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilisers and chemicals you use and switch to organic products.
  • Explore on-site composting.
  • Create an organic garden, sell what you grow and raise awareness in the process!

A boy practices his judo, while his friends look on

Encourage responsible travel

Consider how people travel to your activities. You may be able to influence their behaviour.

You could: 

  • Encourage people to walk, cycle or scoot.
  • Provide bike storage. 
  • Promote public transport routes.
  • Suggest lift sharing or carpooling.
  • Recommend the use of low emission vehicles. 
  • Tell people about electric car and e-bike charging points.
  • Find out about Active Travel plans in your area (check with your local Council).

Remember to keep accessibility in mind, some of these travel options may not be suitable for everyone.

Active Travel

Manage and reduce waste

The waste we create never really goes away. It's usually buried in a landfill site or burnt. The smoke and chemicals can end up in the atmosphere and damage the environment.

Reducing the amount of waste you create is vital. Encourage people to repair, recycle or re-use things as much as possible.

For example:

  • Consider going paperless or digital.
  • Can you avoid changing your kit every season?
  • Offer rental, return and recycling schemes. 
  • Donate used kit and equipment if there are schemes in your area. 

Reduce plastic waste

Plastic has a significant impact on climate change and the natural world. You can help to eliminate single-use plastics and polystyrene waste.

You can do this by: 

  • Providing opportunities for people to refill their water bottles.
  • Removing single-use items.
  • Introducing reusable cutlery, straws, cups, plates and containers.


Recycle as much as possible and discourage a 'throw away' culture.  

You can do this by:

  • Offering clearly labelled recycling, composting, and green-waste bins. 
  • Following the local rules for recycling in your area.
  • Making the most of local services to recycle and reuse electrical equipment and furniture.
  • Asking your facility provider if they help too. 

Rethink the food and drink you offer

Large scale industrial farming

A significant part of all emissions comes from large-scale industrial farming. This is driven by the amount of meat and dairy we consume.

You may be able to make the food and drink you offer more environmentally sustainable.


  • Providing more plant-based food and drinks.
  • Offering smaller portion sizes of local meat.
  • Asking people if they’d be supportive of some meat free days.

Buying produce

Buying produce out of season in the UK often means it’s transported from other countries or is grown in greenhouses. This adds to its carbon footprint.

Think about:

  • Using produce that’s in season in the UK.
  • Buying local produce where you can.

Leftover food and drink

Talk to charitable food distributors like local foodbanks, cafés, or soup kitchens. Would they be interested in accepting donations? 

Connect with local networks

Sport, recreation and physical activity brings people and communities together. It’s a fantastic catalyst for inspiring individual and collective action. Your network and influence is probably bigger than you think.

It’s important to lead from the front and use your voice to help raise awareness about climate change.

Join up with others. 

You could: 

  • Look at your local council’s website - you may find networks of local organisations that are interested in the environment. 
  • Talk to your national governing body or other representative body.
  • Contact your regional Active Partnership. 

You are not in this alone: you’re now part of a local, national and global movement!

Active Partnerships

Inspirational video: Black Prince Trust