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Sustainability Sunday #83

What is Wimbledon saying?

In the recent frenzy around the football World Cup another of Britain’s greatest sporting events has been somewhat overshadowed. I’m not gonna lie, I’m even less interested in tennis than I am in football but this year Wimbledon has sparked a different interest in me.

In May, the All England Club announced that they were putting in place a sustainability plan, either because they were under pressure to do so, or because they DO see it as important it isn’t clear but given the nature of the sport it’s a good thing. Environmentally tennis involves the watering of pitches, catering missions which include plenty of disposable cups, cutlery and containers, incessant laundry and vast numbers of beverages.

In recent news several tennis players have spoken out about their personal views on sustainability:

Rafael Nadal commented on his support for Wimbledon’s new plastic straw ban, as an ocean lover he said that anything that will help protect the ocean he’s on board with and congratulated the All England Club on this initiative. Similarly, South African Planet Kevin Anderson agreed that Wimbledon’s review of plastic use over this year’s two week tournament is positive and said that he had received emails that had gone to all players reminding them of the tournaments new stand on plastic.

British player Johanna Konta has said that she doesn’t use plastic bottles at home, she avoids using them wherever possible and she’s a big fan of protecting the planet “as we’ve only got one.” Our very own Andy Murray also ditched plastic for a reusable and longer-life aluminium bottle saying that he and his team were trying to be part of the change.

However, you may have noticed, particularly across social media, that despite new initiatives Wimbledon maintained their long-term sponsorship with SINGLE USE water bottle manufacturer Evian whose bottles are pictured strewn across the back of the courts. As part of their sponsorship, Evian’s advertising campaign featured a “photo wall” where attendees were given the opportunity to have photographs against a backdrop with the Evian bottles AND straws, which I can only hope were made of paper.

Alas I shouldn’t be too pessimistic as in the scale of things this is quite a big deal, and certainly sets an example. I guess now we wait until next year to see how those changes have come along.

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