Olympians and sport sustainability experts discussed the power of sport to contribute to a sustainable future in the final Australian Olympic Committee 2022 Wellbeing Series event, presented by Allianz.
Four-time Olympic mogul skier Britt Cox, Tokyo 2020 diver Sam Fricker, Dr Sheila Nguyen, Head of Sustainability 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup and Co-Founder of the Sports Environment Alliance and Matthew Nicholas, Director of Sustainability at Tennis Australia, shared their insights into how sports and individuals can have a positive effect on the planet.
Today's is the final Wellbeing Series event of the 2022 program, which also brought Olympians and experts together in shared conversations on mental wellbeing, social inclusion through sport and how to tackle your fears.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll said today's panel highlighted the importance for sports to integrate sustainability within their organisations.
"The Olympic Movement has both a duty and an opportunity to contribute actively to global sustainability in line with our vision: ‘Building a better world through sport'," Mr Carroll said.
"As signatories to the United Nations' Sports for Climate Action Framework, the AOC is supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement and committing to taking positive and practical action for sustainability.
"It was fantastic to host today's panel bringing together Olympians and experts from within our member sports to share their insight on sustainability within sports.
"With today's panel concluding our Wellbeing Series for 2022, I want to wholeheartedly thank our partner Allianz for their incredible support in sparking meaningful conversations and empowering Olympians to share their stories about issues of wellbeing that affect all Australian communities.
"We look forward to continuing to work with our Sustainability Advisory Working Group, our member sports and other stakeholders to achieve our sustainability goals."
Tokyo 2020 Olympic diver Sam Fricker has his own biodegradable straw company and enjoys using his platform to promote sustainability.
"I grew up around the ocean in Merewether, and I compete in the water - water is the place I feel happy and relaxed, and I'm so passionate about working to protect that," Fricker said.
"Small things can have a big impact. Even though the challenge looks massive, you need to take small daily steps to have a better environment.
"It's like training - as a kid looking at the Olympics seemed like an impossible dream, but small improvements and getting a little better every day can get you there."
Dr Sheila Nguyen said sporting organisations and athletes have an important role to play in the sustainability movement.
"Everyone can put in and make a difference for planetary health and sport offers such a massive opportunity," Dr Nguyen said.
"We have a huge runway of events in Australia and we can use that platform to amplify sustainability messages.
"Sporting events are their own ecosystem, that can shine a light on the challenges and potential solutions, and upgrade people's perception of what sustainable performance can look like.
"Playing football as a child truly changed my life, it was my connection to a new community in Australia. Working in the intersection of sport and sustainability, there's so much that sports are doing in this space, it's exciting, inspiring, and really gets you motivated."
Wellbeing Series sponsor Allianz Australia's Renee Davidson, General Manager of Marketing, added, "As the Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Insurance Partner with a long history of supporting sport in Australia, we're particularly proud of our partnership with the AOC, and especially this initiative.
"The Wellbeing Series not only normalises, but celebrates the importance of having open conversations around mental health; as well as sheds positive light on topics like collaborating towards a sustainable future.
"We hope that all participants and attendees, as well as the broader sporting community feel both inspired and supported – especially as we close off the year and reflect on the one ahead."