SDG Striker is beating the Heat

15 August 2022

SDG Striker is beating the Heat

SDG Striker uses sport as a platform to take action on heat waves and its effects.

As years pass by, it is getting clearer that heat weaves are going to become more severe and frequent in Europe and around the world, as a result of climate change. In 2022, people have already experienced a heatwave in springtime in the south of Europe, especially in Spain, reaching records temperatures.

Sport, as an intense physical activity that often takes place outdoors, can be widely affected by heat waves and can affect the health of sports practitioners and the public attending to sport events, like dehydration, heat strokes and sunburns. When sports do take place indoors, heat waves can increase the pressure on the resources needed to cool the spaces. Therefore, climate change and heat waves can have a negative impact on the sports sector, hindering the practice of sports activities and limiting its benefits on the population, as well as interfering in the celebration of sport events, affecting the economy of those who work in the sector and make a living out of it.

Thus, it is important that the sports stakeholders act to adapt to climate threats by implementing measures that allow the citizens to practice sport safely and that allow the sport events to take place safely both for the public and the athletes. The sports sector can also contribute to reduce and counteract the causes of the climate change and heat waves, by implementing measures that reduce emissions and waste, and increase the efficiency in the use of the resources.

Given this framework, the SDG Striker project attempts to promote and implement measures for sustainability in sport clubs and federations around Europe. The project tries to be a point of reference for sport clubs in the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The following SDGs are relevant for combating heat waves and its effects on sport:

  • SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Related to heat waves, SDGs 7 and 9 ask sport clubs and federations to create and adapt facilities and infrastructure to include sustainable design and management that allow reducing contributions to climate change and which provide a healthy environment to practice and enjoy sports protected from climate threats. In addition, SDG 12 and 13 urge sport clubs and federations to adapt to and mitigate climate change and its effects, as well as increase consumption efficiency and reduce waste emissions.

The SDG Striker project is taking steps towards the fulfillment of this goals by planning and implementing a series of pilot projects in Portugal, Scotland, and Norway. These pilots aim to combat climate change, heat waves, and their effects in the following way:

  • The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) is installing solar panels in sports facilities, as a way to provide with sustainable and accessible energy to the sports activities. This allows the facilities to make clean energy available for cooling, in case of heat waves, and also contributes to naturally cool the interior of the buildings, since solar panels block and absorb the energy of the sun.
  • The Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) is installing alternative and more sustainable turf fillers for football pitches. Using Norwegian birch wood as turf filler can play an important role in forest management, contributing to fire prevention during periods of extreme high temperatures. Another goal is to reduce the pollution of water by microplastics, and given that one of the main effects of heat waves are droughts, preserving the quality and availability of fresh water is essential for combating water shortages and dehydration.
  • Finally, the Scottish Football Federation (SFA) is implementing measures to foster energy efficiency and tackle energy poverty. These measures can lead to a major reduction of the Scottish football contributions to climate change, by reducing emissions as a way of combating climate change and the consequent heat waves.

DFB – Football United Against Racism

The German Football Association (DFB) is the association of the 21 national associations, 5 regional associations and the league association ...

DFB Foundations Programmes

The DFB Foundation Egidius Braun and the DFB Foundation Sepp Herberger realise and support social and socio-political initiatives ...