Cooperation between Development and Climate Alliance and Sports for Future

Press release of 24.11.2020 |

BERLIN – Even if the COVID-19 pandemic is currently the dominating topic on the news, it is still true that climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Record heat, droughts and floods are increasing. Developing countries and emerging economies in particular are already suffering increasingly under the consequences of climate change. Yet it is the industrialised nations that account for the bulk of historical emissions.

In order to meet the global challenges, unusual alliances between players within society and new partnerships are needed. Now the Foundation Development and Climate Alliance and the association "Sports for Future" have entered into a cooperative endeavour. Today, they are presenting their sports4trees campaign.

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German Development Minister Gerd Müller said: "Sports for Future is a great initiative. It sets an example: don't wait for others, take action! 22 million sportsmen and sportswomen have already joined forces under the umbrella of Sports for Future. And many of them are already involved in climate action, with sports clubs becoming climate-neutral, supporting reforestation projects or selling sustainable merchandise. I hope that many more people who are actively involved in sports will turn their enthusiasm to climate action."

The Foundation Development and Climate Alliance continues the work of the Alliance formed by Minister Müller in 2018. It mobilises non-governmental action to foster development and international climate action through the voluntary offsetting of carbon emissions.

In July 2019, Stefan Wagner launched the Sports for Future initiative. His goal was to work with individual sportsmen and sportswomen, clubs and federations to use the sense of common purpose that playing sport fosters in order to jointly address the challenges of climate change. The initiative was co-founded by TSG Hoffenheim, Werder Bremen, VfL Osnabrück, German Sports Youth, Global United e.V., and individual athletes such as Fabian Hambüchen and Anni Friesinger-Postma. It now has more than 250 supporting organisations – most recently, Germany's national hockey teams and the German Football Association joined the endeavour – which, between them, represent more than 22 million individuals engaged in sports.

With support from the Dietmar Hopp Stiftung (Foundation), Sports for Future has already been able to launch its first projects. Dietmar Hopp said: "We are the ones who can still avert a climate disaster. It is our job to protect our planet for future generations. I was immediately won over by the concept of Sports for Future, which is to use sports as a vehicle to get the greatest possible number of people to help address the climate crisis - that is, to use many small steps to achieve one big one."

Through its new reforestation campaign, sports4trees, Sports for Future wants to demonstrate what the sporting community can do in terms of practical action to help give direction to the necessary transformation. The first tree-planting and education projects in Senegal, Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania and Kenya are already under way, in cooperation with partners such as myclimate, WWF and the Zenaga Foundation.

"It is very easy for people to support climate action and our reforestation projects in their daily lives - for instance, when they buy their ticket to watch their favourite club play and put a euro from their change into a collection tin that we have placed at the cash desk; when they buy an online 'climate ticket' (something which TSG Hoffenheim already offers as a matter of course); when they organise fundraising funruns; and in many other ways. And sports clubs and sports events can use the campaign as a vehicle on their road to becoming climate-neutral," said Stefan Wagner, adding that a strong network of supporters was needed to make all this happen.

The Foundation Development and Climate Alliance is an important partner in these efforts with a view to giving enterprises, institutions and clubs broader options for climate action. "We mobilise players to engage in high-quality projects in developing and emerging economies – projects that foster local development and protect the global climate," explains Peter Renner, the chair of the Foundation's board.

There are many practical examples of the work done by the Development and Climate Alliance – from biogas produced from residues in Honduras and sustainable forest management in the Amazon region all the way to the restoration of tropical rainforests in Uganda. In 2019, Alliance supporters offset 2.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions. This is the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of 300,000 EU citizens.

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