How sustainability campaigns can make a real difference

I read on the edie website this week that sports fans took 1.7 million ‘climate-positive’ actions at various UK sporting events over the summer. This initiative, run by Sky, promoted actions such as eating less meat, using greener forms of transport, recycling waste, and using refillable water bottles.

1.7 million is an impressive number. And I can’t imagine an initiative like this taking off at sports grounds a few years ago, when pale hotdogs and tea in plastic cups were, I admit, my half-time staple.

So this report is good news on this very bad news week… But I also wonder what steps sporting venues are taking to encourage fans to continue acting in this climate-positive way. What are they doing to make this sustainable behaviour, well, sustainable?

Many of you will have heard me on repeat, urging all of us to recognise the role that culture plays in shaping climate positive (or negative) behaviour. I get particularly excited about this in the workplace context, where so many of us spend so much of our time. Yes, businesses need campaigns similar to Sky’s to raise awareness of sustainability issues and prompt employees to act differently. But the culture in which we live and move affects our habits and behaviours far more than we perhaps realise. And organisational culture can determine whether a company’s sustainability or net zero ambition drives significant and lasting change, or whether it turns out to be a flash in the pan.

It’s about campaigns AND culture. Campaigns make the headlines, but culture is the more meaningful, and longer-lasting, story.