Bowling and batting for a greener planet, UN and cricketers play on same side

22 January 2010

Pushing ahead with its efforts to promote eco-friendly sports, the United Nations teamed up with Indian cricket today to reduce its carbon footprint and tap into the vast popularity of the sports’ stars to raise environmental awareness among the country’s 1.15 billion people and beyond.

“Like cricket, environmental interest is growing exponentially and across the globe, so this initiative could become one of the most powerful environmental outreach campaigns in India and beyond,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said in Mumbai, India, of the new long-term partnership with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Together the IPL and UNEP are sending a clear and powerful signal to millions upon millions of spectators and fans: namely that if we all bat together, we can score fours and sixes for a more sustainable future.”

As the partnership develops, the IPL will compensate more and more of its games’ emissions and green its operations, from waste management to energy efficiency and water. UNEP will assist the IPL in achieving climate neutrality, supporting its efforts to reduce emissions through the introduction of renewable energy and to compensate for its emissions as well as with green merchandizing.

The IPL will utilize its popularity to promote UNEP initiatives such as the Climate Neutral Network, the Billion Tree Campaign and World Environment Day, as well as promote environmental awareness by highlighting the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, the Clean-Up the World Campaign and other initiatives in coming years.

“As the most innovative sporting league in the world we fully comprehend our responsibility towards saving the planet by protecting our environment,” IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said. “The League is a perfect platform to generate environmental awareness and [we] are confident that IPL fans around the world will join us in this unique initiative.”

The partnership, which starts on 12 March with the opening of the IPL’s 45-day season, is a first-of-a-kind initiative undertaken by any sporting body in India.

In recent years UNEP has launched a variety of projects with sports worldwide, including with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Football Federation (FIFA), to ensure that carbon emissions reductions and other environmental concerns figure as a major priority in the holding of events.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN teams up with Puma for biodiversity year ahead of African, World Cups

The United Nations bolstered its defence of thousands of endangered animal and plant species in Africa today by signing up an iconic sportswear manufacturer to a campaign promoting the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.