The #FPFP challenge, launched last week, is part of an environmental awareness campaign for the younger generation and the result of a partnership between France’s environment agency Ademe and the green label for sports clubs Fair Play For Planet.

As part of the challenge, clubs and athletes, whether amateurs or professionals, have been urged to take “10 actions for a greener sport”.

These include collecting and sorting waste, consuming locally, abandoning single-use plastics, remembering to turn off lights, cycling, and more.

According to former French rugby player, Julien Pierre, the world of sport has an essential role to play in accelerating the ecological transition.

“Thanks to sport, we can reach everyone, all socio-professional categories, companies, communities and supporters,” he said. “It is important to raise public awareness through an educational message, especially among the younger generation,” he added.

“Sport today is a powerful vehicle for getting messages across, so it was important for us to embark on this campaign, on these steps,” the rugby player added.

And the call to action appears to be working. French handball player Nikola Karabatic, former tennis player Paul-Henri Mathieu, and international rugby player Lénaïg Corson have already joined the movement – a move Pierre said sent “strong messages and examples for the younger generation.”

A heavy carbon footprint

While lawn maintenance comes at a heavy price given the abundant use of water, electricity, fertilisers and pesticides it requires, the transport of fans and players is even more carbon-intensive as it accounts for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions during a sporting event.

However, Pierre remains optimistic despite the heavy carbon footprint the world of sports leaves behind. “Things are really starting to move. Until now, it has been a somewhat confidential subject in the world of sport. Today, we are in the process of setting up quite a few actions and communicating about them,” he said.

According to him, it is now time for things to change.

“In the ecosystem of a sports club, there is a lot of work to be done and the impact that a sports club has on its territory is enormous,” he said.

“The ecological transition is everyone’s business, on a daily basis. Sport, because of the values it promotes, particularly among amateurs and their clubs, is a particularly rich field for making this transition a reality through actions that are […] joyful and collective!” said Ademe president Arnaud Leroy.

With this awareness-raising campaign, which will end in December 2021, Pierre hopes to convince clubs to reduce their environmental impact, while raising awareness among future generations.

“I am convinced sports can be a real accelerator of the ecological transition,” he added.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]