Stronger together: UEFA member associations join forces to develop sustainability strategies
vendredi 28 octobre 2022
Résumé de l'article
Football Social Responsibility (FSR) managers from UEFA’s member associations gathered in Florence to exchange best practices and experience on building robust sustainability strategies.
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The two-day FSR Manager Community meeting took place at the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) technical centre in Coverciano, where guests attended interactive workshops and expert presentations on sustainability.
UEFA is working hand in hand with its member associations around the common sustainability mission to inspire, activate and accelerate collective action to respect human rights and the environment across European football. Each association is at a different development stage, and it is crucial to bring them together to create a community and a culture of support among peers.
The meeting in Coverciano zoomed in on UEFA’s framework as laid out in its ‘Strength through Unity’ sustainability strategy, and offered ‘learning by sharing’ opportunities aimed at accelerating the development of strategies at national level across each member association by the end of the 2022/23 season.
Michele Uva, UEFA Football and Social Responsibility Director
“UEFA has set out its long-term commitment to drive collaborative and measurable actions. As part of this investment, we are working closely with our member associations to support their endeavours to design and implement their own strategies. On that path, we are guided by the belief that social and environmental sustainability is at the core of the success of European football.”
Dominique Blanc, Chair of UEFA’s Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee and President of the Swiss Football Association
"It is very important that we create an active FSR community to exchange our experiences and implement sustainable social and environmental projects for the European Football landscape now."
Tackling issues strategically
Last year, UEFA committed to bringing sustainability and human rights topics to the heart of each of its member associations by making it mandatory to appoint an FSR manager.
FSR managers have one common clear objective: define and validate a sustainability strategy for their association by June 2023. The associations of Liechtenstein, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Scotland, and Sweden showcased their current efforts around drafting and securing approval for their respective sustainability strategies.
UEFA incentivises associations to reach that goal by providing funds specifically linked to sustainability efforts through the HatTrick programme.
Dal Darroch, Head of Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Programmes at the English Football Association
“The FA is fully behind UEFA’s FSR initiative, and we have multiple national strategies already in place covering UEFA’s eleven pillars, such as equality, diversity and inclusion, safeguarding and environmental sustainability. Taking part in the workshop alongside other national associations to learn more about the detail behind their sustainability strategies, and to meet other nations to understand their journeys, was highly beneficial as we collectively continue to drive positive change across football.”
Respecting human rights
The meeting was also an opportunity for UEFA and participating national associations to reflect on ongoing projects and upcoming initiatives taking human rights policies forward. Herewith some highlights from the discussions:
- Anti-racism: using the award-winning documentary Outraged to generate awareness and educate on the issues of discrimination in football.
- Child and youth protection: building on the network of dedicated officers across Europe and UEFA's partnership with Terre des Hommes to provide a safe and empowering environment for all children and youth to play football.
- Equality and inclusion: applying new UEFA inclusive language guidelines to contribute to establishing a football ecosystem that guarantees equal rights and opportunities to all active in the sport, on and off the pitch.
- Football for all abilities: working on football environment and infrastructure accessibility, welcoming players and fans of all abilities.
- Health and well-being: enabling healthy lifestyles across all age groups, for instance through dedicated work on walking football.
- Refugee support: supporting refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people to remain physically and mentally healthy and bond with host communities, such as through UEFA’s UNITY EURO Cup, carried out in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
- Solidarity and rights: continuously improving solidarity mechanisms, including natural disaster grants, that contribute to the restoration of football assets through seed funding.
Respecting the environment
In the environmental domain, the sessions focused on generating tools and enhancing knowledge to advance measurement, build knowledge and catalyse action around the following environmental domains:
- Circular economy: leveraging the recent UEFA guidelines that advocate a so-called ‘4R approach’ (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover) to minimise the impact of football on the environment and drive resource efficiency and cost savings.
- Climate & advocacy: capitalising on awareness-raising measures to leverage the sport’s reach and visibility to advocate the urgency of action, and building sound methodologies to measure organisational carbon footprints.
- Event sustainability: refining and launching a UEFA ESG (environmental, social and governance) event management system, with a view to piloting the methodology with member associations as of next year.
- Infrastructure sustainability: finalising new UEFA Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, to be launched on 16 November at a dedicated event on this topic.
Road to a sustainable UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany
The meeting in Coverciano was rounded off by looking ahead to UEFA EURO 2024, to be held in Germany. The ambition is for this event to be the most sustainable EURO ever and a driving force for sustainable development in German and European football.
The tournament is integrating sustainability dimensions in its tournament requirements and regulations, as well as in the match schedule, and will promote concrete and tangible actions in favour of the environment, social impact and good governance.
Stefanie Schulte, Head of Social Responsibility at the German Football Association (DFB)
"We are working hard to put sustainability at the heart of EURO 2024. We are delighted to cooperate with UEFA and the other member associations to build sustainability strategies that are aligned with this vision and contribute to make European football more sustainable.”