Charlotte Ellingham, Senior Account Manager

Right Formula Senior Account Manager, Charlotte Ellingham, reviews recent sustainability activations and how the power of sport can highlight and affect positive change – starting with rightsholders’ commercial partners.

Sport is a powerful vehicle that contributes to making a positive change. Whether creating a cultural shift that helps communities through technological innovations or simply inspiring a new generation through world class performances, each step results in a bigger and more influential impact which in turn creates a continuous positive chain of reactions.  

A scan of the news in recent months can attest to the urgency in which we need to make a change in our day to day lives, particularly when it comes to creating a greener and more sustainable future. This need for a more immediate long-term improvement in our society, aided by sport, is instrumental in making that significant difference. 

Some of the world’s most renowned sporting occasions embody this foresight already and continue to make strides in this area. Increasingly, sustainability is becoming a common theme as major sporting events and venues seek to actively promote not only their environmental efforts but also the improvements that they are making now that fans are back in the stadiums and arenas. 

This year the ATLEC, in partnership with the BBC, COP26 and the Met Office, introduced the first Environment Day at Wimbledon. Their aim was to highlight the growing climate crisis through a variety of bespoke discussions featured throughout the day on TV broadcast and social media. Noticeable changes were also made on site and included the recycling of used racket strings, reusable cups for cold drinks and zero waste to landfill.

Their aim is to achieve much needed awareness to inspire others to follow suit whilst showcasing the latest in the innovative technologies we now have at our disposal. This in turn creates impactful change whilst shedding light on those best practice brands and sporting organisers which can become a beneficial marketing tool for both parties.

 

What more can brands do in this space?

Inspiring change is exactly what Tokyo 2020 Olympic Partner and one of our clients Aggreko, is setting out to achieve. As a temporary power and energy solutions company, Aggreko are setting the stage for many of its long-standing clients by developing ground-breaking technologies, and filling the urgent need to provide a more sustainable and renewable solution, at a green sporting event.

A range of new innovative products and services are provided at many of the biggest stages across in the world. 

 No stone is left unturned, which was the message of the partnership announced at the recent 149th Open Championship. A hybrid system was installed that was made up of two renewable microgrids which supplied 100% reliable power without a connection to the grid, powering a fleet of electric vehicles used during the championship. In addition, for the first time in the R&A’s history, all generators on site were entirely fuelled by HVO – a sustainable biodiesel derived from waste and residue feedstock. 

Through a collaboration with the R&A, Mercedes-EQ and Connected Kerb, the project became the focal point within the sustainability zone, positioned at the entrance to the course, stimulated a conversation with golf fans. 

Aside from sustainability and inspiring a new generation,
sport provides the catalyst for a cultural shift
on a wide variety of important topics. 
 

 
One great example of this is Olympics and the work conducted by the IOC.

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has wrapped up, it’s clear to see the impact that the two weeks will have on both old and new sports. Those newly included in the recent Games each started their Olympic campaign with individual reservations about whether they would provide as much entertainment as the long-standing and high-profile events like the traditional track and field events. As soon as the games began this quickly dissipated and the world was introduced to the likes of new superstars in sports such as Skateboarding and Rock Climbing, who were catapulted into the global spotlight and a new realm of fame. 

Significant moments at an Olympic Games can have a huge impact on sport participation at a global and local level. For example, when the Team GB Women’s Hockey team won gold in Rio 2016, the average hockey club across England grew by 54% – particularly amongst under 16’s. Although some players continued to play with a focus on winning a medal in Tokyo, others decided to use their newfound fame to promote matters close to their hearts such as diversity and inclusion and took positions within the media to further increase their profile and efforts. 

There is a role for brands to play with joining and building on this momentum, which mutually benefits the ambassadors by increasing their profile, but also allows the brands to align with key messaging that a business stands for. 

In recent years, Aggreko have supported LGPA Golfer Mel Reid who champions the message of inclusion and the importance of women in sport. A unique partnership such as this allows Aggreko and Mel to work together and make a difference in areas that matter to them both. 

The promotion of sport around the world with the message of inclusion provides a platform for the quality of sport to grow further, and ultimately also produces a better calibre of sport as a more diverse skill set starts to be included.

The legacy that is created from events such as the Tokyo Olympics and the stars its produced, will result in more fan participation in sport as well as provide help with the plight of increasing diversity and inclusion across sport on a global level. 

CHARLOTTE ELLINGHAM, SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER