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Sports Industry Environmental Impact

Thursday 24, Oct 2019


This article originally appeared in Volume 21.1 (March-April 2019) of the Australian Turfgrass Management Journal. To subscribe click here


ATM environmental columnist Kate Torgersen looks back on the recent Sports Environment Alliance Summit in Melbourne.

The Sports Environment Alliance (SEA)… hands up if you have heard of it?  If not, may I suggest looking into this not-for-profit organisation and seeing how you can get involved in making sure there is a future for all to continue playing sport.  The SEA hosted their third sustainability summit at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 5 March and being a previous panellist in 2017 I was eager to return and hear from all the presenters. 


The summit focusses on practical ways the sports industry can limit its impact on the environment.

The event brought together national, state, community and professional sporting associations along with all levels of sport and government, facility managers and sustainable service providers to explore what a sustainable future may look like for the sporting sector.

As Dr Sheila Nguyen, executive director of SEA, explains: “The sport industry needs the environment and right now the environment needs a loud, sexy, high profile voice and I believe sport holds the megaphone.”

Dr Nguyen will be presenting at the 2019 Asia Pacific Turfgrass Conference in Brisbane on reducing environmental impacts at sporting venues and I can guarantee you will leave the presentation feeling empowered to create a sustainable future at your workplace. 


The MCG hosted the third annual Sports Environment Alliance Summit in early March


Facility tours

This year’s summit kicked off with three facility tours of the MCG, Flemington racecourse and the Melbourne and Olympic Park Trust precinct.

The MCG tour took delegates ‘back of house’, going behind the scenes of the iconic arena to get an insight into the eco-efforts being made.  The Melbourne Cricket Club is a proud foundation member of the SEA and was recognised with the inaugural #SEAChanger Award at the 2016 summit. 

In 2018 the MCG became the first sporting venue to close the loop on organics recycling, with waste produced at the stadium treated in-house via an organics dehydrator.  This waste is turned into a soil additive that is then used on the stadium surrounds.

At Flemington, home of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), executive general manager James Reid, explained the facility’s sustainability innovations which went into the design of the new state-of-the-art Club Stand which opened ahead of during the last Spring Carnival. 

To read more about the sustainable practice initiatives taken on board by the VRC click here