FC Porto among pilot partners of Europe-wide sustainability project

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FC Porto and the Danish and Welsh football associations are among the organisations that have signed up to a Europe-wide project tasked with identifying environmental management improvements in sports.

The Achieving Circularity in Cities through the Environmental Sustainability of Sports (ACCESS) Project is led by ACR+ from Brussels and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa. It is part of the wider Circular Cities Declaration project and funded by the UK and European Union’s Erasmus+ programme.

As a part of the initial phase of the ACCESS Project, a series of online interviews are currently being conducted with representatives of Portuguese Primeira Liga champions FC Porto, the Danish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales the FAW, and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

ACCESS Project said the findings and observations drawn from the interviews with the partners will serve as an input for the Circular City Committees, along with identified authorities and other stakeholders. The creation of four Circular City Committees, one per sport organisation is expected by the beginning of spring.

The project, which runs until May 2025, ultimately seeks to develop good practice guidelines for improving environmental management in sports, which can then be adopted by more cities and organisations. Initial guidance will be issued from late 2023.

ACCESS Project added: “The Circular City Committees will represent groups of experts, relevant staff members, local authorities and other stakeholders along various value chains with a simple objective – interpret the input coming from the interview phase, putting them into their own perspective, agreeing on potential improvements and putting all this in a comprehensive action plan to be implemented over the next two years.”

The pilot partners will participate in a screening of current environmental practices and principles in stadium sports – including mobility, food and beverage consumption, event management, facilities and infrastructure maintenance. The project will look at narrowing the gap between the current environmental performances of sport clubs, associations and their strategies by analysing the strategies and targets.

The partners will benefit from attending tailor-made training sessions and partaking in international mobility opportunities and study visits over the course of the project.

An FAW spokesperson said: “By working with proven and experienced organisations such as ACR+ from Brussels and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, this screening will allow the FAW to identify the hotspots and potentials for environmental improvements and launch a cross-sectoral cooperation with the local and regional authorities to find solutions and define action plans that both sides would mutually benefit from.”

The Circular Cities Declaration is a unified network of more than 50 cities across Europe who are working together to raise awareness of the environmental, economic and social benefits of the circular economy. The network also includes leading strategic partners in the United Nations Environment Programme and European Investment Bank (EIB).