THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has launched a new voluntary Code for sports clubs and arts institutions to remove fossil fuel sponsorship from their uniforms, stadiums and events.
Amy Steel, former Australian Diamonds netballer and climate change advocate said: “’Sport plays a huge role in creating cultural change. Sport sponsorship is known as a way for companies to buy their social licence, by using the high cultural value of the sports clubs we know and love.
“So whilst sport doesn’t itself contribute to a vast amount of emissions compared to other industries, by allowing fossil fuel companies to gain an endorsement, we stall the change that needs to happen.
“This change is needed urgently and we count on sport to play its role in getting us back on track for a safe and habitable climate future. Sport as we know it literally relies on climate action. There will be no safe climate to play backyard cricket, country footy and netball if we fail to act any longer. There is no time to waste, we need to take action, and this new voluntary Code helps us to go about it’’.
Aimee Smith, award winning choreographer and dance artist and Edith Cowan University climate change PhD candidate said: “Saying no to the presence and sponsorship of fossil fuel companies in our theatres, music festivals and sports arenas is one of the most powerful ways we can send a clear message that we demand a liveable, beautiful and just future for us all.
“It can be really challenging for individual artists to speak out about the issue of fossil fuel sponsorship, especially in my home state of WA where these large corporations have such presence and power, and where turning down a good financial or potentially career-making opportunity can feel like taking a huge individual risk for an artist. BUT what artists do have, and certainly underestimate, is our collective power, our cultural influence and our immense social reach. If we all come together under a united voice calling for change we could, indeed, have the power to change the world.”
Tully White, Australian women’s longboarding champion who competes on the world tour and Surfers for Climate member, said: “Rejecting fossil fuel sponsorship in surfing is crucial as we face the alarming realities of rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and intensified extreme weather events. Let’s put a stop to fossil fuel giants greenwashing and move towards a sustainable future, safeguarding our natural spaces for generations to come.”
Dr Carmen Lawrence, academic, politician, and former Premier of Western Australia said: “What’s clear is that these corporations need the sponsorship deals more than the sporting or arts bodies do. The amount of money that’s provided is not an irreplaceable amount – it’s just fairy dust designed to make the corporations look good.
“Some artists and sportspeople are trying to distance themselves from fossil fuel funding, but it’s challenging. They need backing from their boards and governments to replace this funding. This isn’t an impossible task – there are others who could step in to replace these funders.
“To safeguard Australia’s unique landscape and biodiversity, including treasures like the Ningaloo Reef, we must decisively end our reliance on fossil fuels.”