ECB launches sustainability plan, joins UN framework

Featured image credit: ECB

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has signed up as a member of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework after launching a new environmental sustainability plan for the sport.

The ECB has set a target of halving its emissions by 2030, and plans on developing a carbon reduction plan over the next 12 months after joining the framework.

According to the ECB’s sustainability manager, Kathy Gibbs, the organisation is the first cricket governing body to have signed up to the framework.

“We know that signing up has the benefits of working with others across many sports and sharing resources and ideas in this space to reach our common goal of a more sustainable future for all of our sports,” Gibbs said.

“And we know that by uniting the cricket network, our suppliers and our partners behind a joined-up plan will give us the best chance to work together more effectively to cut emissions and make cricket more sustainable.”

The ECB’s environmental sustainability plan, published on Sunday, outlines three key priorities: tackling climate change, managing resources and cutting waste, and protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

Specific targets for the ECB include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, with a view to becoming net zero by 2040, in line with the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

The ECB also aims to eliminate single-use materials, especially single-use plastic, by the end of 2025, and work with landlords and venues to ensure all waste to landfill is eliminated by 2035.

The ECB will also work with key venue partners to develop fan engagement through commercial and broadcast activities taking place throughout The Hundred from next year.

Other pledges include delivering guidance to support venues and delivery partners to reduce GHG emissions and waste; developing an education campaign with relevant water organisations on efficient water use in the club and on the ground by the end of 2025; collaborating with commercial partners to improve sustainability; and launching a new website to bring the latest sustainability news, guidance, information and case studies from across the game.

“I would argue it (the sustainability plan) is the most important thing we can do right now so that flooding, drought, pollution and extreme heat doesn’t stop play and future generations can enjoy cricket in the same way we do,” said Gibbs, who suggested that cricket is more susceptible to climate change than most other sports.

“The good thing is we are making a running start – the ECB has invested £10m (€11.5m/$12.7m) into sustainability over the last two decades, while the proactivity I have already witnessed across the game since joining has ensured there are some world-class sustainability projects in place – such as at Lord’s, The Kia Oval and Edgbaston, where they have deservedly won awards for what they are doing.

“Our plan showcases many other examples of the good work happening across the game and within the ECB, and it is important to celebrate those. We want to build on that to supercharge the positive impact in this space.”

The ECB’s sustainability plan can be read in full here.