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Article, tue. 3rd Aug 2021

A vision that captures value: How to strategically work with sustainability in football

A vision that captures value: The sports clubs doing meaningful sustainability could grow revenues by 11% over a three-to-five year period of time

"Reshaping the sports industry, post-Covid, without taking into account the changing attitudes and behaviors of fans – particularly in relation to sustainability – is akin to a coach watching their team losing from the sidelines without even thinking about changing tactics”.

That was the overwhelming message from the first Sustainability Leadership Series talk hosted by The Sustainability Report and SportWorks. Matthew Campelli, the founder of The Sustainability Report and director of sustainability at Touchline. A strong but optimistic message.

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Sustainability is a growing topic of interest within the world of football, but being sustainable is not just about managing risks like climate change – it’s about building a vision that captures value. It is about strengthening relationships with fans. Becoming more efficient and improving the clubs' brand and reputation.

The evidence is there to see; Nielsen’s most recent piece of sports research, ‘The Changing Value of Sponsorship’ (link), showed that rights holders doing something meaningful around sustainability will grow revenues by 11% over the next three-to-five years.

In his presentation, Campelli reflects on the latest data, case studies and interviews with sport and sustainability leaders to make the case that sport can be a better product if the industry makes social and environmental stewardship a genuine strategic focus.  

The spoken word aligns with another analysis: The Sustainability Report published in their first white paper in collaboration with Touchline to explore the elements of a good sustainability strategy for football clubs, leagues and tournaments.

How to: The football executive’s guide to a sustainability strategy

The company, Touchline, who specializes in sport, sustainability and reporting has made “The football executive’s guide to sustainability strategy” to help those in the football industry who want to get started with sustainability, but do not know where to begin.

The guide explores how a football organization can capture value through sustainability, and also how you can build a vision and align sustainability objectives with stakeholder priorities and international standards. It reflects on some of the latest research in this area, and captured the experiences of some of the most renowned sustainability professionals in football.

Climate change is impacting the game in significant ways, but sustainability is not just about climate change and risk management. It’s about capturing value, engaging fans and sponsors, and building an organization that is fit for the future. Without the right strategy in place, incorporating sustainability can be an overwhelming prospect. The guide explains: 

  • What a sustainability strategy is

  • Why having a sustainability strategy is crucial for the club, league or federation

  • How to put together a strategy appropriate for the football industry.


The guide has captured the latest research of some of the most renowned sustainability professionals in football including:

– Patrick Gasser, UEFA’s head of football and social responsibility

– Bodour Al Meer, environment and sustainability senior manager for the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (Qatar 2022)

– Orjan Lundberg, sustainability expert for the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (Qatar 2022)

–  Nico Briskorn, VfL Wolsburg’s head of corporate responsibility

–  @Andrea Maschietto, Juventus’ sustainability and external relations manager.

Download the guide here:

Download the report from Nielsen here:

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