As more and more consumers choose to “go green”, a global emphasis on sustainability has transpired into the business world. Companies are recognizing the importance of sustainability not only in terms of environmental impact, but in terms of customer interest. In their report of Global Trends in the Sports Industry, Nielsen said 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for brands committed to positive social and environmental change. Another study reveals 64% of consumers pick a brand based on their stance and interaction with societal and environmental issues.
Given this new wave of consumer interest in sustainable products, business leaders are prompted to address issues related to environmental responsibility. Below are steps that can be taken to make your sports event or fitness business more sustainable.
Sustainable Practices for Sporting Events
A majority of sports events make use of outdoor spaces. Consequently, overuse and mistreatment of these spaces is common. When planning a sports event, the end goal should be for the space to look untouched, as if an event never occurred. Here are a few simple tasks that can be implemented to ensure sustainable sports events:
1. Refillable Water Stations
Hydration is essential to any sporting event. Plastic is not. Providing refilling stations promotes use of reusable bottles as opposed to plastic water bottles.
2. Ample and Organized Waste Bins
Fans enjoy snacks while watching sports. This means plastic wrappers and other trash left behind after the game. Placing recycling and composting bins throughout the event is imperative to maintaining sustainability.
3. Team Cleanups
Sports teams can do park or facility cleanups at different times throughout the year. These efforts do not take much time and are helpful in limiting waste while also promoting community engagement, which makes this one of the best sustainable practices for sports and fitness businesses.
Sustainable Practices for Fitness Centers
Sustainability in fitness centers is perhaps an obscure concept. Nevertheless, there are many steps one could take to reduce the environmental footprint of fitness centers. Here a few suggestions to make gyms greener:
1. Maintenance and Materials
All fitness centers can have refillable water stations, and should strive to use equipment, like yoga mats, made from recycled materials. Equipment made from recycled materials is generally cost-effective and makes a big impact in reducing a gym’s carbon footprint. Using environmentally friendly lighting will also help reduce overall energy use, making this an extremely cost-effective and sustainable practice.
2. Use Less Paper
An important step in reducing a fitness studio’s carbon footprint is reducing the usage of paper. By using a scheduling and registration software that handles sign-ups, memberships, marketing, and waivers digitally, sports centers and fitness studios will drastically cut their paper consumption and be able to store client data in a more organized and effective manner.
3. Energy Producing Gym Equipment
Fitness centers can become sustainable through the use of energy producing gym equipment. Typical cardio machines require heavy use of electricity. Those same machines could be used to create energy. A wide array of companies, such as SportsArt, sell machines that convert the kinetic energy produced from cardio exercise into electricity. The electricity created through the use of the machine is then fed into the electrical grid of the building. This new equipment produces more electricity than it consumes. For example, a single spin class of 30 participants can generate 3 kilowatts of electrical power for a fitness center.
The sports and fitness industry has unique opportunities to join sustainability efforts. Protecting the environment is a group effort, and the inherent team nature of sports and fitness allows for large impact. Taking steps to lessen damage to the environment, whether it be as small as hydration stations, or as large as eco-friendly gym equipment, displays care and investment. Nearly two thirds of consumers prefer socially responsible businesses; therefore demonstrating devotion to sustainable efforts is imperative for businesses wishing to both capitalize on consumer preference and positively contribute to the wider community.