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Sport and CSR: Lessons learnt

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Sport and CSR: Lessons learnt

Reflections on our article series and what we can take from it to drive progress in sport and development.

This series offered insights into the relationship between big business, sport and NGOs. We explored the history and evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

Politics and public pressure have been the biggest drivers of CSR. Governments look to reduce state spending on welfare and the subsidising of facilities. At the same time, there is pressure on private enterprise to operate in a more responsible and sustainable way. 

This trend looks set to continue. The most important driver to emerge is the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Governments and businesses are working toward the SDGs and the United Nations recognises the role that sport can play in achieving them. With this support, the adoption of sport as a tool for social change is being encouraged. Organisations already involved in CSR are looking at sport and its powerful potential for positive change.

This is not limited to the private sector. Governing bodies, associations and clubs are increasing their presence within the social responsibility sector. Governing bodies set standards within their sport. Leading from the front encourages clubs at all levels to increase their involvement. Initiatives like Premier League Kicks and Wilkommen Im Fussball create partnerships between sport and wider society.

As the role of sport for change increases there will be greater funding opportunities for sport-based projects. These could take the following forms:

  • Private enterprise and their own CSR agenda
  • Government programmes that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Other charitable sources 

This could also lead to increased competition for funds. Partnerships and strong networks will be key to successful funding applications.

A final key feature for the future of the relationship between sport and CSR will be collaboration. It is essential that a variety of organisations work together to deliver projects. Of equal importance is the sharing of knowledge and information. Highlighting good practice provides credibility to the community. Conferences bring people together, academic research adds credibility and digital platforms create an open online environment for the sector to grow.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 13:19