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Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

They’re all climate champions, apparently.

They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists – just take a look at their Twitter followings – which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

Fanbase

With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in”, International Olympic Committee member, former Olympic bobsledder, and Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II, told the conference.

As countries here in Katowice prepare to turn their climate commitments into reality, we stand ready to leverage the power of sport to support their efforts”, he said. Mainly through making sportspeople ambassadors for climate change, and trying to offset some of the many, many flights major athletes and clubs take.

The sports industry isn’t alone at stepping up to the plate in the former coal town of Katowice, where this year’s talks are being held.

Climate change is “a risk and challenge we take seriously”, Daniella Foster, Hilton’s senior director of Global Corporate Responsibility told a side event. That’s why the hotel chain is looking at ways to “gamify” the “guest engagement piece” of its sustainability strategy – developing an app to help users save energy when they stay. The company has also pledged to cut its environmental footprint in half by 2030.

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