Captains at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 in Argentina play their part in supporting World Environment Day by planting a ceibo tree, the country's national tree

  • World Rugby Executive Committee affirms support for sustainable rugby activity
  • Commitment to educate, support and report on initiatives to reduce climate change
  • Announcement coincides with World Environment Day on 5 June 

World Rugby has reaffirmed its support for sustainability in sport on World Environment Day by signing the Sports for Climate Action Declaration and Framework.

Sports for Climate Action is a collaboration between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, UN Climate Change, and is also endorsed by the International Olympic Committee. In signing the Declaration, World Rugby is seeking to build on efforts to-date linked to the UN/IOC Clean Seas initiative launched on World Environment Day last year.

World Rugby is committed to furthering sustainable practices across the economic, social and environmental elements of the sport, while encouraging and supporting stakeholders to do the same. 

Signing up to the Declaration is an expression of World Rugby’s intent to implement the five key principles enshrined in the Sports for Climate Action Framework:

  1. Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  2. Reduce overall climate impact
  3. Educate for climate action
  4. Promote sustainable and responsible consumption
  5. Advocate for climate action through communication

World Rugby continues to advance sustainability initiatives across a variety of areas, including: 

  • tournament and venue appraisal for existing structures and proximity to transport links
  • enhanced sustainability requirements and reporting obligations in tender documentation for key events
  • dedicated tournament sustainability initiatives including generic branded clothing instead of event-specific items to reduce waste and minimise cost
  • rugby for social development initiatives such as World Rugby’s Spirit of Rugby programme and ChildFund Pass It Back
  • rugby kit collection and redistribution to developing unions through SOS Kit Aid

Internally, efforts to enhance the organisation’s sustainability credentials are accelerating with positive impacts on emissions and waste reduction as well as improved waste management and recycling facilities, plastic reduction, smart heating/lighting/water systems, volunteer programmes and support for public transport and cycle-to-work schemes. 

Such initiatives have been recognised and are positively influencing stakeholders. The International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme have recognised World Rugby’s June 2018 commitment to join the IOC’s Clean Seas movement and to take action within the campaign. The IOC has also promoted World Rugby’s efforts as part of its Olympic Movement Sustainability Case Studies.

Following the signing of the Declaration, World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Tackling climate change is everyone’s responsibility, and World Rugby is committed to positive change as a major event rights holder, organisation and guardian of rugby worldwide. World Rugby is a proud champion of rugby for good initiatives and through our strong values of teamwork, solidarity, passion, integrity and discipline, the rugby family is uniting in partnership with the wider sports community to making an impactful contribution across all aspects of the sport.”

Signing-up to the framework will enable World Rugby to organise and align its actions as part of a recognised sport-specific framework and support its membership and stakeholders as part of a wider global effort to reduce carbon emissions and their evident climate impacts to safeguard the future practice of sport for all. 

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper added: “With rugby’s global reach, universal appeal and ability to inspire the next generation of players, fans, parents and influencers, we are proud to be actively supporting the objectives of the Sports for Climate Action Declaration and Framework.

“By aligning with the United Nations, the IOC and other local, national and international sporting bodies, including Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, to tackle carbon emissions and climate change, we can collectively frame, guide and track sustainability actions that will make a real difference.” 

For further information on World Rugby and sustainability and to see how stakeholders can join the team effort, visit