News and Insight

Can Sport Supercharge Your Sustainability Credentials?

Modern sporting championships are embracing sustainability; not just ticking a box but putting it at the core of their operations.


Global sailing championship SailGP, for instance, has a mission to become the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports and entertainment platform. Electric racing series Formula E has been ranked the world’s most sustainable sport for the second year in a row.


At the same time, sustainability – and the benefits of transparent ESG messaging – are becoming more important for every major brand worldwide. So, do championships such as SailGP, Formula E and the many other sustainability-focused series, offer a perfect platform for brands to demonstrate their environmental expertise?  


The answer is more nuanced than a simple “yes” or “no”.  


The benefits of being a sustainable brand and having a clear strategy to communicate that are clear. Recent research from the European Corporate Governance Institute found that increases in a company’s E&I rating led to a growth in sales of 9.2% in the subsequent year. 


And a championship like Formula E, with its more-than-credible sustainability credentials and growing audience, seem to be the perfect vehicle to promote a brand’s commitment to sustainability through the showcase of modern green technology.  


However, there are a few aspects that every potential sponsor must consider. 


Firstly, before entering into any sports partnership, brands must ensure that both the partner and the wider sport they’ve chosen are a good fit for their business. This means there must be shared values, an overlap in audiences, and an alignment on key markets. 


To be more specific, the sponsoring company should support the activities and policies of the chosen sports organisation through its professional and scientific competencies. Ultimately, there needs to be a real purpose behind the partnership, which drives both businesses forward. Only then will the brand truly be able to promote its expertise through the sport.  


If sustainability is a priority for the partnership, it can be hugely beneficial to establish sustainability-driven key performance indicators (KPIs) contractually. These may encompass targeted reductions in carbon footprint levels and initiatives for social enrichment, such as boosting diversity and inclusion, advancing education, and promoting employment opportunities.


This means that both parties not only commit to achieving commercial/financial business results but also pledge to create a positive impact within the two other main sustainability domains: environmental and social. These three areas are interconnected and must be treated with equal importance to demonstrate an authentic commitment to sustainability. 


From my perspective, Formula E is an exceptional sport, providing a robust foundation for brands to effectively leverage its platform. This enables it to distinguish itself and make a substantial impact while incorporating the three main sustainability pillars into its partnerships.  


Similarly, SailGP demonstrates that you can have excitement and passion alongside a sustainability focus that runs through every element of the sport.


But authenticity is key to the success of a sustainability-driven partnership and, fundamentally, positively influencing public opinion. The absence of dedication and truthfulness can lead to negative consequences, such as accusations of greenwashing which will negatively impact a brand’s image. Once brands lose the trust of their fans or customers, it can be a long journey to getting it back. 


Fear of this should not necessarily dissuade brands from engaging in a sustainability-driven partnership. Brands that are committed to driving change stand to benefit enormously, as the latest consumer research proves.


The key is making sure that – from identifying the sponsorship opportunity to activating the partnership – both the strategy and the results show real purpose, proven by actions that are measurable and shared with wider audiences. 


If you’re interested in learning more about how sports sponsorships could elevate your brand and drive tangible business results, while providing added value to society and the environment, please either reach out to Daisy Peycheva or email us on