SPORTACCORD CONVENTION CONVENES EXPERTS ONLINE FOR SUSTAINABILITY DISCUSSION

25.04.2013

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - SportAccord Convention held its first Google Hangout on Air session on Wednesday April 24, 2013. Streamed live one month ahead of the 11th Annual SportAccord Convention in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the online expert discussion was devoted to the theme of Sustainability in Sport. A Hangout on Air is a real-time online video discussion enabling up to nine participants from around the world to share news, views and best practices. 

The international session was moderated by Samantha Connolly, Senior Sustainability Consultant, CH2M HILL, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other participants were Lausanne, Switzerland-based Ingrid Beutler, Director of the Social Responsibility and Integrity Unit of SportAccord, and US-based David McCrae, Vice President of MV Global Transport Logistics, and a Paralympian, who will be a speaker during the SportAccord Convention conference in Saint Petersburg.

Participants highlighted the progress of the Paralympic Games from the small crowds in the days of McCrae's first Games as a competitor three decades ago to sell-outs during London 2012, as the Paralympics has been transformed from a disability movement to a sports excellence and performance movement. Sustaining the momentum is "hyper-important," he said, and looking at what made the London Paralympics such a success will help to ensure sustainability.

Beutler also pointed to the impact of the Special Olympics, adding that the tradition of hosting a conference for political leaders alongside the competition has helped enhance the sustainability of the movement. While much progress has been made in sustaining the social impact of sporting events, "in the environmental area we have a long way to go," she commented during the discussion. She said that sponsors can have a major influence in driving progress."

Connolly observed that one of the challenges for a host city is understanding the needs of an area, how an event can be used to promote regeneration and as a vehicle for change, and making sure "the engagement follows through into legacy." She stressed the importance of commercial partners in promoting sustainability. Events and host cities need to engage with the supply chain, she advised.

The Sustainability in Sport session was recorded and is available for viewing online on the CH2M HILL Youtube channel at http://youtu.be/jiVj1hxZ9Qk