Sporting the CSR badge
by Derek Linsell on 22/05/2012
Working with local, national and international sports teams is a dream of many organisations as part of their corporate social responsibility schemes – but what about the sports teams themselves?
Sporting Organisations can be a major driving force for change especially in youth issues such as childhood obesity, academic failure, violence and teen pregnancy. Familiar sport stars and their teams can have an enormous impact on not just their fans, but many people or situations across the globe.
And it doesn’t stop there. Using CSR for sports teams can also combat concerns with the environment, sustainability and other emerging social issues.
FC Barcelona is one team that clearly steps up for their efforts with CSR. A not-for-profit club is owned by their members and paying an annual fee allows them to elect members to the board, headed by a president.
Their motto is ‘més que un club’ – meaning ‘more than a club’. And they stick to this. The work they do on the field is competitive and exciting, but the work they do off is just as good.
The FC Barcelona created ‘The FC Barcelona Foundation’ in 1994 and it was established to use sport as the backbone for promoting education and the positive values of sport.
The Foundation has been an endless source of participation in numerous social, cultural and sporting activities organised through the club. Players and coaching staff also donate 0.5 per cent of their wages to the Foundation.
‘FC Barcelona Foundation’ and Pies Descalzos Foundation (Columbian charity founded by pop star Shakira in 1997) are working together on the ‘Football for youth development and a healthy life’ project which includes the construction of sporting and recreational areas of Cartagena (Columbia) and Miami.
It is to benefit children most vulnerable in Columbia and Hispanic community in the U.S who are at risk of social exclusion.
Their work has been picked up globally and they have partnered with many different charities to conquer different world issues.
There are also organisations that are utilising the sports industry to improve their environmental impact. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is America’s most effective environmental action group and they started work with NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 for their ‘Go Green’ efforts. Since then MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, MLS and USTA have jumped on board to action their efforts too.
It has a web-based resource that helps teams what areas of work are available in their region to pursue environmentally superior operations and supply chain options. From their website they state, “One of the many ways NRDC has been helping stadiums and arenas reduce environmental impacts is by commissioning energy, waste, and water efficiency audits — many of which result in significant cost savings.”
Apricot Consulting, who has extensive experience in working with elite Sporting organisations in Australia (Australian Football League and Australian Cricket), has recently been appointed by the North Melbourne Kangaroos to work with them on their corporate social responsibility strategies.
Over the coming months we will be working closely with the Kangaroos Board, CEO and Senior Managers to critically analyse all elements of the current CSR program and to help design a world class strategy. These discussions will provide deeper insight into potential operations of what CSR programs could achieve and a future vision for the Kangaroos. It will also lead to bringing about major social change as a result of the engagement of Sport.
Areas of work will also cover employee, fan, media and player engagement, marketplace perceptions, commercial partnerships and game development initiatives.
As things progress Apricot will keep thorough updates of our work and progress via Twitter, Facebook and the website.