The fossil fuel industry’s exercises to associate itself with some of Australia’s major sporting events face continued backlash. Recently, Tennis Australia announced that it had terminated a sponsorship deal with oil and gas company Santos early. The sponsorship arrangement covered Santos’ logo placed in on-court signage at the ATP Cup and Australian Open. It was supposed to run across multiple years starting with the 2021 Australian Open.
While Tennis Australia has not fed detailed reasoning behind the cancellation of the association with Santos, it is possible to have been influenced by climate action within the sporting community. Of course, sporting clubs and events can also rapidly cut their own greenhouse gas emissions by changing the way they assemble venues, power events, travel and by cutting waste- but not associating with companies that are harming the environment is a strong action towards climate action.
With some of Australia’s leading sports people calling for climate change action, it is time for more sports to decouple themselves from the fossil fuel industry. Leading figures in rugby, swimming, cricket, surfing, netball, and AWFL are encouraging climate action now.
Tennis Australia has teamed up with a game-changing Australian enviro-tech startup to reduce plastic bottle waste at the Australian Open. Under the newly-formed partnership, Tennis Australia is backing recycling innovators Samsara in their mission to end the plastic pollution crisis, through their Wildcard Ventures VC fund. Samsara will collect approximately 5000 used plastic water bottles during the course of Australian Open 2022, which they will recycle at their Canberra lab. Samsara uses plastic-eating enzymes to break down plastic waste into its basic components. The resulting material can be used to create new medical and food-grade plastic products that can be recycled repeatedly without degradation.
“Tennis Australia is proud to support Samsara’s ground breaking technology,” Tennis Australia Chief Strategy Officer Tim Jolley said.
Climate positive sponsorships are gaining traction, and have to be explored more. For example, Kia has long been associated with the Australian Open in Melbourne – over two decades. Kia Corporation has equipped tournament organizers with 130 vehicles which include models like the Sportage SUV, Carnival MPV, and the all-electric EV6, to assist in the safe transport of match officials, players, and VIPs. Rafael Nadal will again be one of the key players to watch out for at the tournament and not just because of his game. Before the event began, he was at the official handover ceremony for the Kia vehicles. He had previously added the Kia EV6 to his personal fleet, emphasizing his allegiance to drive electric where and when he could.