England Athletics release new sustainability insight on Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event on 22 April around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Today, not only is Earth Day meant to increase awareness of environmental problems, but it is also becoming a popular time for many communities to gather together to clean up litter, plant trees, or simply reflect on the beauty of nature.

England Athletics Sustainability Strategy

England Athletics’ new sustainability strategy (PDF 2MB) was published last December, and will be used to engage and inspire across the England Athletics family of clubs, RunTogether groups, athletes and runners, as well as event providers and facilities. Importantly, this strategy will provide methods of measuring and tracking sustainability impact and progress across social, economic, and environmental impact areas so that any progress can be accurately measured.

We have recently had the second data set back for this sustainability insight. We interview people (aged 11 upwards) in England every month on their participation levels in exercise and activity, including running behaviour and attitudes to running. This survey allows us to explore areas of interest among this population. It provided statistics which showed that levels of running interest and activity are highly correlated with increased engagement in sustainability – particularly among those who run at least once a week.

Our findings

Amost three-quarters (72%) of the English population say they are very interested in sustainability as a part of everyday life.
24% at least have some interest.

sustainability graphic: 72 percent say they are interested in sustainability as part of everyday life

For those who say they run weekly, these numbers rise to 86% and 28%.

Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) say they have at least some knowledge over what sustainability-related personal interventions they can take.

sustainability graphic: 57 percent say they have some knowledge over sustainability personal interventions they can take

79% of weekly runners have at least some knowledge.

Three quarters (74%) say they are willing to change their lifestyle.
24% are very willing.

Sustainability graphic: 74 percent of the English population say they are willing to change their lifestyle

This percentage rises to 86% for those who run weekly.

Helping you on your sustainability journey

England Athletics recognises that whilst improving the sustainability of our central operations, procurement and event delivery is important, we can have an even bigger impact through advocacy and support for the wider athletics and running community. We will be issuing guidance for clubs, RunTogether groups, facilities, race directors and competition providers in the coming months to help them on their sustainability journey.

Sport England Grants to support sustainability projects

In this coronation year, Sport England are looking at two additional areas which reflect His Majesty the King’s personal passions. One of those is on sustainability and projects that focus on sustainable activity while reducing the impact on the environment. We’d like to draw attention to Sport England’s Small Grants Programme which seeks to develop opportunities for communities to get more people physically active. Clubs can apply with ideas such as activity which could involve purchasing locally made equipment to extend capacity in a club or using local community assets to minimise travel.  Sport England will support new projects through providing National Lottery funding of between £300 and £15,000.