Monday 29 January 2024
Loughborough University Stadium

Leading academics, national governing bodies, climate action charities, athletes, fans and key policy makers will come together to present the key climate issues in sport and how we can overcome them.

Setting the Scene: Current Issues in Sustainability; How do we Overcome Them

With sustainability at the forefront of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the 2024 European Football Championships in Germany; we question the leading role sport can play in mobilising climate action and addressing climate related issues.

The leading events guide the way and take our interest, but this is often at the expense of our local grassroots clubs which are overlooked and underfunded in their pursuit to become sustainable.
The answers to the challenges we face are not simple, but we can start by asking the vital questions.  Please join this crucial conversation as we begin co-creating a roadmap towards a sustainable future for sport and the planet.

The programme

Time Topic Speaker
09.00 Registration and Arrival Refreshments 
09.30-10.00 Sustainability in Sports Summit Welcome Address  Professor Nick Jennings, Vice Chancellor, Loughborough University  
Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Loughborough University 
Professor John Downey, Associate Pro vice Chancellor for Climate Change and Net Zero, Loughborough University 
Professor Jo Maher, Associate-Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sport, Loughborough University
Dr Mark Doidge, Reader in Sociology of Sport and Sport for Climate Action and Nature, Loughborough University 
10.00-10.30 Keynote Address Andy Reed, Chair of the Sports for Development Coalition and Sports Think Tank
10.30-12.15 Panel 1 - 'The state of play': where are we now?  David Goldblatt, Playing Against the Clock
Katie Cross, Pledgeball
Russ Seymour, BASIS/Loughborough University
Rach Coleman, Trash Free Trails
12.15-13.00 Lunch
13.00-14.45 Panel 2 – the future: what do we need to do? Sara Kassam, UK Sport 
Eve Joseph and Ben Cummings, British Triathlon  
Michele Uva, Director of Sustainability, UEFA
Marcus Reynolds, CEO Forest Green Rovers
14.45-15.15 Summary Next Steps Dr Mark Doidge, Loughborough University

More about our speakers

Katie Cross

Katie is Founder and CEO of Pledgeball - a research-backed charity that supports sports bodies to effectively engage fans on environmental sustainability.

Working with stakeholders across the sports community, from clubs to bodies such as the LTA, from the FSA to County FAs, Pledgeball mobilises fans and event-goers to make pro-environmental choices resulting in significant emission reductions.

Sara Kassam

Sara works as a Sustainability Advisor at UK Sport, to embed sustainability expertise and catalyse systemic change in operations and behaviours across organisations.

She has worked in sustainability at different levels from strategic planning to practical implementation, in the higher education, local government, museum and charity sectors.

At UK Sport she works across departments, leading on the organisation’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. She loves connecting people and ideas to make positive change happen.

She is also the Climate Change Trustee for the Museums Association and a Scout leader.

David Goldblatt

In an article the Sunday Times newspaper, Professor Dominic Sandbrook of Oxford University, described David Goldblatt, as “not merely the best football historian writing today, he is possibly the best there has ever been.”

David currently teaches for the Football Business Academy in Geneva,  is a regular visiting Professor at Pitzer College, Los Angeles,  and is an Honorary Fellow of the International Centre for the Culture and History of Sport at De Monfort University, Leicester.

His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Prospect, New Statesman, the Times Literary Supplement and many other publications. He has won the sports story of the year at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards in London three times:

  • In 2009, for the BBC World Service documentary Mathare United. which showcased the  power of football for social development in the slums of urban Kenya;
  • In 2015 for “The Prison Where Murderers who Play for Manchester United” published in The Guardian, which reported on the role of a DIY English Premier League and Prison football association in turning Luzira, Uganda’s notorious high security jail, into one of Africa’s most humane and progressive prisons; and
  • In 2018 forViktor Orban’s Reckless Football Obsession”, published in The Guardian, which featured the first interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban with a foreign newspaper for more than a decade. It was shortlisted for the European Media Awards in 2019.

In 1992 he completed a Phd at the University of Cambridge Social Theory and the Environment, published as a book by Polity Press in 1996. In a great loop he has returned to these issues publishing,  in 2020, Playing Against the Clock: Global Sport and Climate Change, a synoptic review of the issue and a call to radically transform the sports industry.

He helped found, and is now chair of, Football For Future, campaigning for environmental sustainability in English football, and over the last two years has written, and spoken widely on sport and the climate crisis.

Book your place

To book your place at the event, taking place on Monday 29 January 2024, 9-3pm, at Loughborough University Stadium, please complete the online booking form by 12 January 2024, indicating any access or dietary requirements.

Please do feel free to share details of this event with interested colleagues. 

If you have any questions about the event or need any further information, please contact our Events Team.