In a year of accelerating environmental impacts made more likely by climate change, sport has been simultaneously affected and called out for the emissions it generates.
In its Green Sport Awards, BBC Sport celebrates the good news – the athletes, former athletes and organisations working hard to enact and inspire change.
Below are the shortlists for the second annual awards. The winners – including the Evergreen Award, which recognises lifetime achievement – will be announced on the BBC Sport website and app on Monday, 2 October.
Athlete of the Year nominees
The Australia cricket captain was nominated for his leadership on climate change, which has been hugely instrumental both in cricket and across Australian society. His work includes public advocacy, but also mobilising networks and resources for significant outcomes through his Cricket for Climate Foundation.
Sofie Junge Pedersen
The Inter Milan and Denmark footballer was nominated for her leadership and vocal advocacy in spearheading sustainability efforts at her former club Juventus. She has collaborated with organisations to help raise awareness around climate change and sustainability in football, and used her social media presence to work with team-mates and educate fans.
Ice hockey player Pierri was nominated for the active role she takes in trying to lead sustainable change in sport and beyond. An EcoAthletes champion, environmental engineer and climate action activist, she has been involved in a number of projects including work on the forthcoming Last Game documentary, featuring on podcasts to discuss ice hockey’s relationship with climate change, and speaking at events including Fridays For Future.
The Wycombe Wanderers player was nominated for the work he has undertaken to raise awareness and create change to make football more sustainable. Over the past 12 months, Wheeler has spoken on a panel about sport and climate change at Glastonbury, taken an official role with the Professional Footballers’ Association as the union’s first sustainability spokesman, and was the first player to sign a letter criticising world governing body Fifa for its carbon neutrality claims.
The four-time Formula 1 champion was nominated for his vocal advocacy on issues around climate change, and using his platform to question motorsport’s actions and policies around environmental sustainability. Vettel’s decision to step away from the sport showed his desire to align his work more closely with his personal values.
Young Athlete of the Year nominees
A hockey player with Duke University in the United States, Burns was nominated for her passion for creating action on sustainability issues. She was a driving force behind the Duke Sustainable Athletics movement, and helped launch Duke’s Sustainable Student organisation, while also working on projects to help the university become more environmentally responsible. She is also an EcoAthletes champion.
The England Under-20s runner was nominated after trying to hold European Athletics to account as one of a group of 100 athletes who signed an open letter to the organisation calling for it to drop energy company Shell as a sponsor. She was vocal in her support, and tries to work with others to raise awareness of climate issues.
Cross-country runner FitzGerald was nominated after turning down the opportunity to compete at the World Cross Country Championships in Australia. She made clear in a letter to British Athletics that her decision was down to her concerns about the impact of flying at a time when people around the world are suffering the effects of climate change. FitzGerald takes that into consideration for all her athletics competitions.
The Commonwealth Games table tennis medallist was nominated for her ongoing advocacy in raising awareness on climate change issues and trying to make sports more sustainable. After being made a Young Champion of the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework three years ago, she continues to try to inspire change.
New York University basketball player Pellecchia was nominated after becoming an EcoAthletes champion. She has been using that platform – and her online blog and YouTube channel – to educate others and help them make sustainable changes.
Elite Organisation of the Year nominees
Forest Green Rovers FC
The League Two side were the United Nations’ first certified carbon-neutral football club, and were nominated for continuing their push to become even more sustainable. Over the past year they have focused on switching to greener travel options for the team and fans, while continuing to work on the Eco Park development that will house their new sustainable stadium.
The motorsport championship for electric cars was nominated for its continued work in driving sustainable change both inside and outside motorsport. It uses targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), has involved business partners in its efforts, and uses its technology and global platform to drive the move towards a more sustainable motor industry.
Richmond Football Club
The Australian Rules team were nominated for their leadership in sustainability in football in their country. They were the first Australian club to sign the United Nations’ Sport for Climate Action Framework, and in July became the first AFL club to launch an Environmental Sustainability Action Plan, working on projects to help them reach their emission reduction targets.
International Biathlon Union
The world governing body of biathlon was nominated for its continued commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, as well as projects including becoming a founding member of an alliance supporting a prototype project to reuse carbon fibres, and joining GAMES (Green Approaches in Management for Enhancing Sports), an initiative which explores ways to mitigate climate change and promote de-carbonisation in events.
The top-tier tour in men’s professional tennis was nominated for its work in launching a carbon tracker app, which allows players to track and mitigate travel emissions. It also provides resources and quizzes to educate players on sustainable practices and environmental advocacy.
Grassroots Organisation of the Year nominees
The research-driven charity which encourages fans to reduce waste and consider carbon footprint in travel was nominated after it extended its work within football into tennis. Pledgeball partnered with the Lawn Tennis Association to launch the LTA Pledgeball League – encouraging tennis clubs and their members to make more sustainable choices. Pledgeball also created a 2023 Women’s World Cup initiative to encourage fans to compete against each other in a ‘pledge table’.
Rhino Cup Champions League
The amateur football league in rural Africa was nominated for its impactful work in using the popularity of football to help local communities feel better connected to wildlife conservation and learn about the impacts of climate change. It uses the league as a vehicle to inspire and empower participants to actively engage in the conservation cause.
Save the Waves Coalition
The international surfing organisation was nominated for its work in trying to preserve at least 1,000 surf eco-systems by 2030. In the past year it has partnered with areas of the private sector to accelerate ocean conservation, alongside its involvement in campaigns around the world to help defend threatened surfing eco-systems, such as those in the Maldives and Mexico.
The Green Runners
The Green Runners were nominated for their continued and growing efforts to try to raise awareness within the running community about the impacts of climate change and what actions they can take to help. They have been involved in a number of events, including the Running Out Of Time relay from Ben Nevis to Big Ben to show support for government changes to protect the environment.
Vermont Green FC
The American semi-professional football club were nominated for their work as a community-focused set-up putting initiatives in place to move towards their goal of becoming a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible club. They have a strong partnership with fellow Vermont football team Juba Star FC, and played a friendly earlier this year to raise awareness and funds for each club’s goals.
All winners will be announced on the BBC Sport website on Monday, 2 October.