Sustainability can be explained as taking a balanced approach as to how we operate to ensure we can meet existing and future demands. It is the practice of managing existing and available resources in such a way as to ensure ongoing benefit into the future, essentially, putting in more than you take out.
Issues of economic, social and environmental sustainability have increasingly come into focus as the world faces financial risks, societal demands and ecological threats. In a sporting context, rugby is also impacted and must always identify challenges and opportunities to ensure the continued practice and enjoyment of the game in a sustainable manner.
"“Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”"
UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
World Rugby recognises its role and the need to collaborate with stakeholders to identify and manage available and potential resources in a sustainable way. This will ensure that decisions taken today have a positive impact not just on the game for existing players, fans and other stakeholders, but for the economy, environment and society for generations to come.
Incorporating Sustainability into World Rugby’s Vision:
In collaboration with its member unions, regional associations and other stakeholders, World Rugby has successfully steered the growth and development of the global game to record levels of participation through sustainable investment driven by its flagship tournament, Rugby World Cup, Olympic inclusion and improved governance worldwide.
World Rugby wishes to innovate and inspire rugby as a sport for all through grassroots participation, community engagement, stakeholder education, resource management and targeted investment. We can do this through harnessing the sport’s character-building values - discipline, respect, integrity, passion and solidarity - to inform, excite and engage existing and potential audiences in traditional and new rugby markets to grow the game in a coordinated and sustainable approach.
World Rugby Sustainability Actions
World Rugby continually reviews its processes and operations to further enhance its sustainability activity with the added benefit of reducing operational costs. Some examples of actions across the three key sustainability areas are listed below:
- Spirit of Rugby programme aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Rugby for All partners including International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, International Gay Rugby
- Impact Beyond programmes to engage communities and boost participation before, during and after major events
- Requirement for event hosts to provide detail around sustainability planning and post-event reports
- Agreements with suppliers for ethical/sustainable production
- Sourcing of tournament volunteers locally and globally
- Staff Community Volunteer Programme and fundraising initiatives
- Video conferencing facilities to reduce travel; grouped meetings to maximise events
- Reduce/Reuse/Recycle applied where possible e.g. signage, clothing, equipment
- Energy-efficient workplace with cycle-to work facilities, smart lighting, water, printing, heating systems and recycling stations
- Support for used kit and equipment redistribution
- Maximise return on investment for reinvestment in the game
- Identification of funding opportunities and partners to assist development e.g. Olympic Solidarity, EU Funding
- Improved efficiencies in systems and processes to better manage resources
Be a part of the sustainable rugby team
There are many ways that the rugby family can support sustainable initiatives
Foods and drinks:
- Avoid single-use products
- Choose tap water over bottled water (if safe to do so)
- Empty water bottles when finished
- Re-use water bottles
- Order seasonal food
- Avoid consumption of red-list/endangered species
- Look for sustainability labels e.g. FairTrade, Certified Organic
- Reduce food waste
- Re-use bags when shopping
- Purchase products that are certified/labelled environmentally friendly
- Travel light - more weight increases fuel consumption
- Walk or cycle to training or the game
- Use public transport where possible
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator if possible
- Limit use of packaging
- Sort your garbage into recyclables, compost or waste
- Do not litter
- Re-use towels to save water and reduce use of chemicals
- Turn off all electricity when not in the room
- Bring your own bathroom supplies
- Choose accommodation close to venues so you can walk or cycle
- Accommodate more people in one room
- Donate old sports equipment to those who need it
- Purchase sustainable and ethically produced clothing and equipment e.g. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Rainforest Alliance etc.
Clubs and Stadia:
- Support local community initiatives, schools outreach
- Look at venue share/multi-user opportunities to increase efficiencies and reduce costs
- Consider investing in updated facilities including smart lighting, rain water recycling for pitch watering/toilets
- Install recycling facilities
- Encourage local flora and fauna and avoid construction/activities on or near sensitive habitats/ecosystems;
- Source local suppliers
- Consider proximity to public transport links
- Encourage healthy lifestyle through no-smoking venues, healthy food options, family zones etc.
- Promote your sustainability objectives, activities and results
Discover more about Rugby, Sport and Sustainability
For further information on sustainable sport and to see what other rugby and sporting organisations are doing, please visit: