Sustainability in Sports: The Time is Now

Martina Russo, CEO

14 July 2022

The sports industry is booming. But while more and more of us are getting to enjoy the outdoors, there’s a serious issue at play – and that’s the impact that sports have on the environment.

We can’t undo the damage that’s already been done, but we can take steps to minimize pollution, and reduce waste and carbon emissions to enjoy our chosen sports in a more sustainable way. But if we want to succeed, we have to act now – before it’s too late.

In this blog post, we’ve got the lowdown on why sustainability in sports matters and what sports organizations and brands can do to turn the tide on climate change.


Why sustainability in sports matters

Nelson Mandela, once said, “Sports has the power to change the world”.

Sports, regardless of the discipline, play a big part in promoting sustainable practices. With the right message, sports brands have the power to inspire fans and outdoor enthusiasts to take action, and adopt best practices in their daily lives and while they enjoy the outdoors.

Climate change isn’t a new issue, but we’re now starting to really see the effects that sports and sporting events are having on the planet. That’s why it’s now time to put sustainability in sports firmly in the spotlight.

Making sports more sustainable

Sustainability is about far more than ditching plastic cups in ski resorts. With the temperature rising and the threat of global warming chaos becoming tangible, sports organizations and brands need to do more to stem the tide and reduce their impact on the planet. Here are some things to consider:


Sports events and the fans the visit them

Over the years, with events of all type and size taking place worldwide, sports and outdoor enthusiasts have been able to get a slice of the action up close. But when events like the Winter Olympics, the Freeride World Tour and the X-Games attract people from all corners of the globe, it’s impossible to ignore their impact on our collective carbon footprint and emissions.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games generated 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. To put this into context, the average person emits two tons of carbon dioxide per year. Crazy!

With sporting events now taking place in multiple locations, this trend is only set to rise. Unless sports organizations and brands find actionable ways to reduce their carbon footprint and help sports fans minimize theirs.


How your products are made

Translations for sustainable outdoor brands_4

More and more sports equipment manufacturers, including Patagonia and The North Face, have joined the sustainable sports movement by using recycled plastics and natural fibers to make clothes. This is a smart move, as materials like organic cotton and fabrics made without harmful chemicals are better for the environment and lessen the impact on the people that wear them. 

Making responsibly-sourced clothes is an ongoing journey. However, the more sports brands that commit to it, the faster we can move to a 100% sustainable market that favors circularity to keep clothing out of landfill. 


The supply chain

When it comes to environmental sustainability in sports, every step matters. And what happens throughout the supply chain is no exception.

To be able to enjoy our sports, we need the right gear. This means protective apparel and footwear. Equipment that pushes us to perform harder, faster, further. And tools to keep our gear performing as good as new. 

These things are essential, but we also need to ask meaningful questions about the manufacturing process. For example: 

  • Who plays a role in manufacturing our sports gear?
  • What fabrics and materials are used, and where do they come from?
  • How are the goods transported?
  • What impact does the manufacturing process have on local communities?

From factory floor to consumer, sports brands looking to bolster their sustainability credentials need to be transparent about the process by sharing their story – warts and all.


Outdoor brands and sustainability – cooperation is key

For most outdoor brands, sustainability is top of the agenda. To hammer home the reason why, climate change experts believe that we could see 70% less snow in the alps by 2099. This may seem like a long way off, but if we don’t make changes now, the sports we love will change forever. After all, winter sports can’t exist without snow.

But there’s hope. By cooperating with organizations like Protect Our Winters, outdoor brands have the opportunity to work alongside like-minded people to turn the tide on climate change. And it’s not just skiers and snowboarders who benefit. Climbers, mountain bikers, surfers, paddle boarders and hikers are encouraged to get involved to protect their sports, too.

Sustainability is now a huge theme at major industry events, such as Outdoor by ISPO – the world’s largest outdoor sports trade show. During the event, attendees get the chance to catch up on the latest news and updates in the industry, while presenting their own findings, with the focus now on sustainable solutions within the outdoor industry. 

Learn more about how outdoor brands are leading the sustainability movement in this article


Spread the word beyond your borders

Finding a sports translation service that truly gets how sustainability and outdoor sports are connected is the first step in getting your products and services in front of the right people.

The Action Sports Translator supports Protect Our Winters and is now a full member of the EOCA European Outdoor Conservation Association. Preserving the environment is critical to what we – and the companies we work with – do, and to be able to keep enjoying our playgrounds. Paying parts of our profits to EOCA means that we can contribute to making a bigger impact than what we could by working alone, while support our clients’ work.

Whether you need translations for winter sports or translations for sustainable sportswear, we’ll help you tell your story across markets. Your customers will know where your products come from and what impact they have, and will be proud to share it with the rest of the world.

That’s not all. We’ll also help you develop an effective multilingual strategy for your sustainable sports company. We will work with you to: 

  • Develop content objectives
  • Identify markets you can tap into
  • Identify the opportunities in your chosen languages
  • Streamline workflows and processes to reduce manual work and scale faster

If you’re looking to expand your business in international markets, email us at for a chat.


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Martina is the CEO and founder at The Action Sports Translator. After starting her career in marketing translation in 2010, she has been recognized as a Localization industry influencer multiple years in a row and has been working with some of the world's most exciting brands to bring multilingual marketing campaigns to life.

Co-founder and localization manager of Protect Our Winters Italy, she founded The Action Sports Translator to provide outdoor brands with a sports translation service that truly gets them. When she isn’t working, you can usually find her climbing a mountain or snowboarding down the other side.

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Translation for action sports and the outdoors is no walk in the park. We'll help you set up or improve your translation process, get your content translated faster and better, and sell more abroad.

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