Understanding environmental sustainability

We’re in a climate change emergency.

It is important, now more than ever, that organisations consider their environmental impact and understand how and why to take action to help tackle climate change. The detrimental effects on our planet can impact on our health, daily lives, eco-systems, facilities and doing the things we love, like taking part in sport and physical activity.

Our animation explores the importance of sustainable practices and identifies ways for organisations, clubs and groups to champion positive action and embed sustainability in everything they do:

This video begins with a trio of logos. The Club Matters logo sits in the middle of the screen, the Sport England and National Lottery Funded Logo below and to the left. Title ‘Club Matters, Tackling climate change – sustainable sport’ is at the top of the white screen. An upbeat backing track plays throughout the video.

The video changes to show a park and city landscape. In the foreground there is a football pitch inside an athletics track, some park benches, flowers, trees and lampposts. Across this setting a man in a turban and young boy are playing football, a woman using a motorised scooter is riding along the path, a cyclist moves across the scene, two elderly people using sticks are walking, a woman in a hijab and wheelchair user are playing catch, and two children are racing on the track. In the background a cityscape is visible with dark smoke emitting from a few of the buildings. The scene has lush grass and blue skies. A car drives across the road at the bottom of the screen with black smoke leaving the exhaust.

The two main characters, a man with an amputation using a blade and a woman, are stood looking on the scene with sad expressions.

Chris Boardman voices the animation and says: We’re in a climate change emergency. Greenhouse gases are causing rising temperatures and creating more extreme weather.

The smoke from the buildings and car fills the screen during the voiceover to create a black backdrop. In the middle of the screen ‘Climate change emergency’ is written in orange letters.

The smoke clears to show the same setting. In this variation the sky is no longer blue, the hot sun is obvious, the trees have lost their leaves, the ground is dry and cracked, the buildings are continuing to emit smoke, those that were playing and active are no longer in shot, and a few characters remain with visible sweat and sad expressions. The two main characters remain looking on.

The voiceover continues: This threatens our ecosystems, health, homes, facilities, and the ability to do what we love, like taking part in sport and physical activity.

During the voiceover a pink textbook fills the outer right third of the screen and shows the words ‘Ecosystems, Health, Homes, Facilities, Sport and physical activity’ in time with the voiceover.

The screen fills completely with the pink colour and a map of England appears centrally. As the voiceover continues, 5 larger pinpoints appear across the map with small graphics of two people playing golf, some spectators watching children’s football, two cyclists, two women, one wearing a hijab, dancing, and two wheelchair users, one man wearing a turban, playing basketball. Many other small multi-coloured pinpoints appear all across the map without additional graphics.

Chris says: Millions of people are involved in sport and physical activity as participants, volunteers, spectators and employees. We have a collective responsibility to influence change. Together we’re stronger. We must act now and do things differently.

The map slides away to reveal the two main characters, centre of screen, holding a white banner that reads ‘Together we’re stronger’. These characters are joined on screen by a young girl, a man with a turban in his wheelchair, a woman in a hijab, and a young boy.

The background turns orange and a large weighing scales appears on screen; the frame above moves to sit on right side of the scales with a growing tree visible behind the banner. On the left side of the scales, a factory sits with clouds of smoke appearing from the chimneys. The scales then tip to the right, in favour of the positive imagery with the banner ‘Together we’re stronger’.

The voiceover says: Being more environmentally sustainable will reduce your carbon footprint and has many organisational benefits.

The scene clears and the word ‘Benefits’ appears centrally before moving top left to title the following list. First, ‘Save money and resources’ is written on the left hand side, to the right a hexagon appears with a non-descript graph showing an increase in money, symbolised by the £ sign. Then, ‘Improve your partnerships’ is added to the list and the hexagon shows a graphic of 3 people above a hand. ‘Attract and retain people’ is added to the list, the hexagon remains as before and two smaller additional hexagons are added with more people in each. Links between the hexagons appear. Next, ‘Enhance your local environment’ appears, the smaller hexagons are removed and the larger hexagon shows a growing tree. ‘Strengthen your reputation’ appears last, the hexagon shows a 1st place trophy with two stars either side and the words ‘Community leaders’ on top.

Chris says during this scene: It can save money and resources, improve your partnerships, attract and retain people, enhance your local environment and strengthen your reputation.

The graphics disappear leaving a blank, pink screen. ‘P’ appears centrally before the word ‘Promise’ joins it on screen.

The voiceover says: Change starts with a promise. It only takes one person to start the conversation, but change requires commitment across your organisation.

The title ‘Promise’ then moves to the top of the screen and the park and cityscape reappear. This time the two main characters are stood, looking sad bottom left, there are no other characters on screen. The park is flooded, trees are bare, building emitting smoke and torrential rain falling. The main with the amputation has a speech bubble appear saying ‘We must talk!’, the woman can be seen nodding.

The screen then zooms in on these two characters to make them central. The backdrop changes to blue block colour, and ‘Promise’ remains as a title at the top. In time with the following audio the women holds up a piece of paper with ‘Policy’ as a heading, ‘Policy’ then appears as the start of a list down the right-hand side of the screen. The man holds up a piece of paper saying ‘Pledge’, this is also added to the list on the right. ‘Agendas’ is added to the list, during which the papers disappear and the two main characters shake hands. ‘Values and practices’ complete the list on the right.

Chris says: Make a promise by writing a policy, signing a pledge, including sustainability on meeting agendas and embedding it in your values and practices.

The list slides out of frame, the two main characters move apart to make room for a flipchart that appears between them centrally. ‘Promise’ moves from the title to appear written on the flipchart, followed by ‘Set targets’. The women points to the board, both characters are smiling.

The voiceover continues: Be clear about what you’re promising and set targets. Look at your practices to understand your impact.

The frame clears and background turns pink. ‘L’ appears centrally before being joined by the word ‘Look’. This then moves to form the heading on the following scene. To the left a building is visible, there is a progress flag in the furthest window, two glass sliding doors with a ‘Welcome’ sign above, and some plants either side. To the right of this building there is a grass bank, topped by the smoke-emitting cityscape. There are some trees, plants and a lamppost. The facility on the left is emitting smoke from a side vent, and an orange van is parked to the right of the screen, with obvious smoke coming from the exhaust. The main characters are central looking upset.

The voiceover says: The activities you run, facilities you use, things you buy and how people travel all impact the environment. Work out your impacts. Engage people in planning to reduce them and monitor your progress.

In time with the voiceover, the woman raises a paper that reads ‘Activities’, she looks concerned and scratches her head. The man lifts another paper saying, ‘Energy Bill’, he also looks sad.  A third character emerges from behind the van carrying a crate of single-use plastic water bottles, the crate reads ‘Water’. As the voiceover above ends, the screen zooms in to the facility doors which slide open to reveal a blank orange screen.

Chris continues: Act now. There’s lots you can do, including, reducing energy usage, encouraging walking, cycling or lift-sharing, reducing single-use plastics, reusing and recycling, buying local seasonal produce, offering plant-based alternatives, and supporting nature and wildlife.

‘A’ appears centrally on the screen before the word ‘Act’ is shown. ‘Act swiftly moves to become the heading for the following scene. The two characters enter a changing room, there are lockers in the background, some hanging clothes, a light, and switches for the heating and lighting. In the foreground, the outside of the venue is visible with some grass, bike racks and two bikes leant against it.

The woman turns off the empty changing room light whilst walking through. They then enter the gym. There are a collection of weights and one machine which a woman wearing a hijab is using. A wheelchair user is to her left lifting a dumbbell. Behind him there is a water refill station with two signs above, one saying ‘Plastics’ with a plastic water bottle with a red cross through it below. The second says ‘Lift share’ with a red car picture beneath.

As the scene moves, a yellow text box appears on the left outer third of the screen. ‘Act’ moves to head this box and ‘Energy usage’ appears beneath it to start a list. ‘Walking, cycling and lift-sharing’ appears underneath it in time with the voiceover. ‘Single-use plastics’ is the final addition to the list. The main characters walk through the gym into the next room.

As they do so the gym scene fades, the yellow text box clears and moves to the outer right third of the screen and the next scene appears. ‘Reusing and recycling’ appears in the yellow textbook under ‘Act’. In this scene there is a ‘Recycled clothes’ sign with two orange arrows, under which there sits a shelfing unit containing some folded clothes and trainers. Two children and looking at the shelves, one of which is holding a pair of shoes.

To the left of this unit is a green recycling bin with the recycling arrows logo on the front. Beside this is a sign that reads ‘Café’, there is a woman at a counter serving a young boy. To her left is a red and white striped canopy over the top of some prepared salad bowls, fruits and loaves of bread. Beneath the counter is a white sign that reads 'Plant-based options’. In the foreground the outside can be seen with lush green grass, flowers, and shrubs.

‘Local produce’ appears on the right-hand side list. Closely followed by ‘Plant-based’ and ‘Nature and wildlife’. A man appears from the left carrying a tray of apples which he presents to the two main characters, central. Some bees fly across the screen.

The screen fades to a block pink background. ‘N’ appears on screen centrally before being more letters are added to spell out ‘Network’.

Chris says: Network, you’re not alone. Do your research. See who’s taking action in your area and sport and talk to others.

‘Network’ moves to title the screen. The facility appears with blue skies in the background. There are trees, flowers, green grass, birds and bees visible throughout. In the foreground 6 characters are stood on the pavement outside the venue. A man with an arm amputation is on the left, in a red t-shirt that reads ‘Active Partnerships’, next to him is a woman in a yellow vest that says ‘Other organisations’, a man with a visible impairment, wearing glasses using a white stick has on a purple t-shirt that says ‘NGBs’, to his right is a woman in a hijab wearing a black dress that says ‘Sport England’ on it, a man in a blue top that reads ‘Local Authorities’ is next to her, and finally a man in a purple t-shirt that says ‘BASIS’. Three birds and four bees can be seen flying across the screen.

The voiceover continues: Be curious and enquire. Ask your facility providers, suppliers, partners, sponsors, banks, and pension providers if they’ve got sustainable practices and how you can help. If they don’t share your values, consider shopping around.

The image fades to show a blue background. ‘E’ appears centrally before ‘Enquire’ is written out. ‘Enquire’ then moves to the top of the screen and a street scene appears.

The camera pans down the street showing a purple multi-story ‘Kit supplies’ shop with sports clothing and a basketball in the window, a ‘Food and drink’ shop with red and white awnings and fruit and bread in the windows, before focusing on a grey building that reads ‘Bank’. There are some shrubs, flowers, bees and birds in the background. The two main characters are seen walking towards the bank and entering as the sliding doors open.

The scene moves inside the bank. ‘Enquire’ remains as a title on the screen, to the right of it are two posters, one with the globe on it and another of two hands shaking and the word ‘Values’ above them. There are two professionals in suits, one is behind a desk with a lamp on it, the other is in front of a desk with a laptop on it next to the two main characters.

The women can be seen chatting to the lady in front of the desk before smiling and shaking her hand. The man behind waves to the other banker at the desk.

The screen turns orange and ‘T’ appears before ‘Tell’ is written in full.

The voiceover continues: Tell people and engage them in what you’re doing. Lead by example, your influence is bigger than you think. Regularly share your ambitions and progress and remind them how they can help.

‘Tell’ moves to top left of the screen and the map of England reappears centrally. Three larger pinpoints appear on the map, one with a close of a woman in a hijab, one of another woman and a third of a man all talking inaudibly. Across the map multiple small speech bubbles with ellipses appear.

These graphics disappear and a spinning globe appears centrally on top of an orange background. Across the globe the word ‘PLANET’ appears in white block capitals. This word then moves the line the screen vertically on the left, the spinning globe moves to the right and the following words stem from each letter of planet: ‘Promise’ ‘Look’ ‘Act’ ‘Network’ ‘Enquire’ ‘Tell’.

Chris says: Remember, PLANET. Promise. Look. Act. Network. Enquire. Tell.  For more information, explore the Club Matters website.

The frame moves onto a blank blue screen. A man appears sat at a computer, behind him is a window overlooking the first frame – people playing in the park, blue skies, lush green grass and no more smoke from the buildings. The man’s computer turns round and the camera zooms in to reveal a website. ‘Becoming more environmentally sustainable’ is the title, the spinning globe is central and the Club Matters logo sits to the right of that. There are lines of indecipherable text beneath. A large cursor clicks on the globe which moves the screen on to the closing frame.

The screen is white. The Club Matters logo sits centrally at the top, beneath is the Sport England and National Lottery Funded logos. At the bottom the Club Matters website link is visible ‘www.sportenglandclubmatters.com’ and then the Sport England website ‘www.sportengland.org’. To the left sits the BASIS ‘British Association for Sustainable Sport’ logo, beneath that is the Sported logo. To the right is the Active Partnerships ‘Engaging Communities, Transforming Lives’ logo, and below that the Community Leisure UK logo.

The music stops. The video ends.


To support this video, our ‘Becoming more environmentally sustainable’ guide gives greater insight into actionable steps you can take when considering how to help the PLANET. A collective effort is needed to prioritise positive action, even small, local changes can influence others and contribute to doing things differently on a larger scale, so please get involved!

Last modified: Thursday, 16 March 2023, 1:41 PM