Please tell us more about the Impact League and it being ‘The First podium for the planet?
The Impact League was launched in 2021, born out of our commitment to being the most sustainable and purpose-driven sport, and redefining performance. It is a world-first initiative using behavioural science to embed sustainability action into the fabric of sport and ignite the competitive nature of our world-class athletes.
Each team is scored against a sustainability criteria, please tell us more?
That’s right. Teams compete and are held accountable across ten key sustainability criteria at each race, ranging from pioneering new technologies focusing on clean energy solutions, removing single-use plastics, more sustainable travel options, transitioning to plant-based diets, to driving diversity and inclusion opportunities and using the team's voice for good by engaging fans.
The New Zealand SailGP Team won sport’s first podium for the planet in Season 2, leading the competition from inception, and it was a hugely proud moment to see them crowned as Impact League champions and presented the trophy by one of my career inspirations, the legendary Dr Sylvia Earle in San Francisco.
The winning Impact team received investment, how has this helped the Season 2 winning team?
New Zealand earned USD $100,000 for the Live Ocean Foundation to fund partner research into the importance of kelp forests and their regeneration in New Zealand.
The Sports Positive Leagues are super, a yearly ranking system by the Sport Positive Summit that gives top football leagues sustainability scores, and the recent Green Football Weekend with Sky Sports, BT, Planet League and Count us In looked like a great success, with over 80 football clubs coming together in the fight against climate change across one weekend.
Some sports have always had an environmentally friendly focus, mostly water sports, and it’s great to see new clean energy sports like the eSkootr Championships launched. There are some sports doing some great things, but I think as a whole, we can do more and be better at collaborating to solve problems as there is no competition in sustainable action.
A big objective for the first ever SailGP Purpose & Impact Report we published last year was to help inspire other sports and businesses to take action when it comes to protecting our planet. We know there are a lot of challenges, so not only does the report keep us accountable moving forward but it enables us to share key learnings with the wider industry.
One of my goals this year is for the Impact League to be adopted by other sporting organisations, and it’s been fantastic to receive inquiries from the likes of motorsport, tennis, golf and even the Olympic committee, to look at adopting it. Imagine the impact that would have. When sports acts fans will follow and we need to use the power of sport for good more than ever.
You joined the judging panel for the Sport for Good Index in 2022, how important are such initiatives on the transformation of sport?