Last week, Schneider Electric, a player in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals announced a one-of-its kind sustainable match for cricket lovers. Rajasthan Royals pledged to be a Green Yodha, a sustainability initiative by Schneider Electric that aims to build a team of conscious citizens, organisations and businesses to unite in adopting collective climate-friendly actions and solutions, and played a pivotal role in transforming cricket into an environment-friendly game.While a typical IPL cricket match emits approximately equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, Schneider Electric will offset this carbon footprint generated during the match by planting approximately 17,000 trees, said a press note issued by the brand.
“Through this partnership, we want to show billions of people viewing this match, that cricket can go green and be sustainable. Today as we are grappling with the biggest challenge of climate change, cricket viewing needs to be pleasurable as well as responsible,” says Anil Chaudhry, MD & CEO, Schneider Electric India and zone president, Greater India. While such events throw light on how sports and sustainability go hand in hand, this also means that a sporting event must be environmentally friendly and aim to minimise carbon footprint by setting standards with focus on creativity and collaboration. But this is not the first time when waste management consciousness is being spread among masses via a sports event. In 2018, an IPL match at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru had volunteers dressed in green to enforce zero waste concept at the stadium that witnesses over 50,000 cricket enthusiasts in any match.
The ‘green protocol’ was an initiative to reduce 3-4 tonne of mixed waste generated at the stadium. Besides trash cans for dry and wet waste, volunteers advised the crowd on the importance of effective waste management and the idea was to organise ‘a zero litter match’ in collaboration with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) and non-profit Hasiru Dala Innovations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), too, had launched a new guide in 2020 to help the sports community address plastic pollution. Titled ‘Plastic Game Plan for Sport’, the guide was published in collaboration with the UN Environment and included contributions from world sailing with key steps to eliminate single-use plastic items, reduce the amount of plastic used, reuse plastic items and recycle. The guidelines included reusable or compostable cups and tableware, water refill points, recycle bins and reduced the use of ‘hidden plastic’ such as merchandise, signage, branding and ticketing. In fact, IOC’s medals crafted for the 2020 Games were created from metal obtained from recycled consumer electronics such as discarded laptops and smartphones. The discarded items were collected for over two years to raise awareness of the importance of e-waste recycling.
A statement on the IOC website says, “With more than 90% of Japan’s local authorities participating, a total of 78,985 tonne of discarded devices were collected, a haul which included approximately 6.21 million used mobile phones, along with digital cameras, handheld games and laptops, all of which were then classified, dismantled and melted down by highly trained contractors. This meant that the final goals of 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze were reached by the time the collection cycle closed on 31 March 2019.”The Ocean Race Europe, the toughest test of a team in sport, and sailing’s greatest round-the-world challenge, in May and June 2021 in France and Italy collected data contributing to the development of a map of plastic in the ocean and understanding how microplastics transfer into marine ecosystems. Major League Soccer and Adidas’ Parley for the Oceans expanded their efforts to raise awareness around the harmful impact of marine plastic pollution by creating customised uniforms built of technical yarns in 2018 for all 23 clubs that year.