World Rugby launches plan to support global action on climate change

  • New environmental sustainability plan sets specific targets to reduce carbon emissions, waste and other environmental impacts
  • Plan reflects urgent need to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040 as World Rugby participates in “Race to Zero” campaign
  • Strategy developed in consultation with leading experts and the global rugby family
  • Goals include Rugby World Cup and HSBC Sevens Series to be climate positive by 2030
  • Plan receives positive support from stakeholders including trade unions, top rugby union figures, partners and the IOC

World Rugby today launched its Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030, a detailed strategy to address the environmental sustainability issues that both affect and are affected by rugby.

World Rugby Launches Strategic Plan ‘A Global Sport For All’ 2021-25

In line with its values ​​of solidarity and respect, the international federation has set ambitious and tangible goals to achieve over the next ten years, including a 50 percent reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2030 without using offsetting.

World Rugby has been an active and committed advocate for positive change, supporting rugby equipment and equipment to collect and redistribute SOS Kit Aid for 20 years, joins the UN Environment/IOC Clean Seas initiative in 2018 and is one of the first international federations that signed the agreement. United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework in 2019.

However, the climate crisis affecting rugby communities around the world has further motivated the organization to show leadership and develop a comprehensive environmental sustainability plan, as outlined in the World Rugby Strategy for 2021-25.

Storms, floods, fires and droughts attributed to global warming are devastating communities, while the low-lying islands of the Pacific, in particular, are among the most vulnerable communities on Earth to the impacts of climate change due to the rise in global warming. sea ​​level that their very existence. Without immediate and meaningful action, the rugby family will be among all other groups, communities and ecosystems affected worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, World Rugby has worked with leading sports and sustainability experts to understand and assess the areas of greatest impact, need and influence. World Rugby’s ESP 2030 is the result of this process and was developed after input and feedback from a wide consultation process involving key rugby stakeholders, including unions, players, fans, partners and suppliers.

By providing a roadmap for addressing the impact of sport on the global environment and promoting best practices, the plan has been endorsed by leading rugby figures and international rugby players, as well as external sports and sustainability experts from the IOC, the United Nations. and others.

World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030 focuses on three priority themes:

  1. Climate action: tackling the carbon footprint of rugby, adapting to stay compliant with the 2015 Paris Agreement and using the rugby platform to spread awareness and advocate for climate action
  2. Circular economy (Materials and Resources Management): Addressing issues with single-use plastics, short-lived materials and waste management
  3. Protection of the natural environment: Discuss how rugby can help conserve ecosystems and promote healthier environments, wherever it’s played

The strategy includes ambitious but achievable goals with a focus on four pillars of activity:

  1. Our governance: embedding sustainability in everything we do
  2. Our direct impact: reducing the ecological footprint of our own activities
  3. Our events: delivering and supporting sustainable rugby tournaments
  4. Our global family: promoting sustainability in rugby through education, advocacy and knowledge sharing

In addition to reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent, World Rugby will work towards a further 15 targets as set out in the plan. These targets include targets to ensure that all World Rugby competitions have a positive impact on the natural environment by 2025, to reduce the number of short-lived products produced for World Rugby competitions by 80 percent by 2027 and to make sustainability a material consideration in all World Rugby decision-making processes, including the awarding of Rugby World Cups.

With these new goals, World Rugby has met the requirements set by the UNFCCC to become a signatory to the “Race to Zero”, a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All Race to Zero signatories are committed to the same overarching goal: to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040 or earlier.

World Rugby President Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The climate crisis is arguably the greatest challenge facing humanity and our planet’s fragile ecosystems. It affects all areas of our lives and therefore our ability to play the sport we love.

“While the climate and environmental impact of rugby and all its related activities is relatively small compared to other sectors, it is our moral responsibility to be strong advocates for environmental and social responsibility and demonstrate leadership through accountability, positive action and good governance.

“After extensive work and consultation, we are very proud to present our 2030 Environmental Sustainability Plan. It is both a statement of intent and a tangible roadmap for addressing the environmental sustainability issues that affect both our sport and our sport.

“It is the beginning of a meaningful and exciting journey for all involved in rugby to play their part in tackling climate change, inspiring fans and our member unions to act and our shared ambition to be a responsible to make sport come true.”

World Rugby will seek to work with all its stakeholders to take them on the journey, starting with the player population.

David Pocock, former Australia international, said: “The climate crisis is the biggest challenge we face. It is great to see World Rugby leading and committed to playing an active role in securing all our future and the future of Rugby.”

Jamie Farndale, Scotland & Great Britain Sevens international and a sustainability lawyer said: “It is very inspiring to see World Rugby recognize the responsibility it has towards the environment. This plan is ambitious, measurable and detailed. It outlines a clear roadmap to a more sustainable future for the sport, leading the way and taking the rest of the rugby world with it. I am especially enthusiastic about the ambition to hold climate positive events. Rugby has the opportunity to become an environmental leader in the sport, showing others the way forward.”

Alena Olsen, USA Women’s Sevens international and EcoAthletes Champion added: “This strategy addresses many important issues that climate change poses for the future. It’s ambitious and that’s a good thing! I hope the rugby community can contribute to make it a success.”

Lindita Xhaferi Salihu, Sectoral Engagement Lead (Sport for Climate Action) at UN Climate Change, said: “This decade is crucial for the future of our planet. It is about protecting the game on the pitch and off the stadium. To have a chance to fight climate change, we all need to start acting now in a meaningful, robust and transparent way.We applaud World Rugby for its commitment to the ambitious goals set out in the UN Sports for Climate Action framework and for entering the collective race that none of us can afford to lose: the Race to Zero.”

Julie Duffus, Senior Manager of the Olympic Movement – ​​Sustainability at the International Olympic Committee, also said of the plan: “As a climate emergency looms on the doorstep, all sectors of society must back up their commitments with actions to avert the worst impacts. . global warming will bring. The Olympic and wider sports movement is no different and, building on the IOC’s close collaboration with its stakeholders, we are pleased to see World Rugby build on existing efforts and formalize its ambition and actions in this environmental sustainability plan.

“Through this work, World Rugby is taking a leading role in sport, taking responsibility for their actions by speaking up and using the unique platform sport has to influence global action and change. Tackling climate change requires a team effort and, with shared values ​​of passion, respect and solidarity, the IOC looks forward to supporting World Rugby in achieving its ambition. This will protect not only the practice and enjoyment of sport, but also the future of all communities most at risk from unsustainable practices.”

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