Adidas’ work to improve gender equity in sport centres on its Adidas Breaking Barriers Project, through which the global sportswear giant supports 15 non-profits that are aiming to foster a safer environment for women and girls.
Working collaboratively with organisations like Common Goal, Women Win and Soccer Without Borders, Adidas provides leadership training to over 100 local role models and coaches with a view to positively influencing the lives of 50,000 people. The project encompasses a learning hub and an online educational platform comprising webinars, events and resources, a volunteer and mentorship programme delivered by Adidas employees, and an innovation lab designed to support women-led or women-focused startups.
Monitored and evaluated through qualitative and quantitative measures such as impact surveys, the project has reached some 23,000 beneciaries to date. A partnership with research and technology company Substance has also been struck to measure the wider social impact using Social Return on Investment (SROI) modelling, while in May of this year a project white paper, based on a pan-European study assessing current barriers to sport for women and girls, outlined actions for sports industry stakeholders to address the challenges at hand.
Allbirds has committed to reversing climate change through better business, which has seen it identify regenerative agriculture, renewable materials and responsible energy as three strategic priorities to support its goal. Having been carbon neutral since 2019, the footwear and apparel brand also plans to cut its carbon emissions in half, per unit of product produced, by the end of 2025.
Further efforts include a collaboration with Adidas, another entry in this year’s Index, which saw the pair unveil the co-designed ‘Futurecraft.Footprint’ trainers last year. The shoes were hailed as the most sustainable in the world, boasting a carbon footprint of only 2.94kg of CO2 emissions per pair, compared to between 10kg and 15kg for typical Adidas trainers.
As well as footwear, Allbirds has produced a running apparel collection that consists of tree fibre, wool and recycled synthetics. Finding a natural or recycled alternative to elastane remains a priority for the company.
German insurer Allianz is using its investments in sport to support broader ESG objectives. Improving diversity and inclusion is a particular focus for the business, with its ‘All Are United’ initiative having been expanded this year to promote a fundraiser campaign launched by the United Nations to support women and girls fleeing the Ukraine war. Promotional activities centred around FC Bayern’s home match against Paris Saint-Germain in the Uefa Women’s Champions League in March – the side’s first-ever fixture staged at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Elsewhere, through its partnership with England Rugby, Allianz helps fund and promote the national women’s team, the Red Roses, as well as serving as the title partner of the women’s domestic league. It also supports Inner Warrior, a grassroots programme which encourages women and girls to take up rugby through podcasts and other content.
Allianz’s UK sports partnerships are further supported by the Allianz Sports Fund, which donates UK£100,000 per year to grassroots sports clubs. In 2022, the company has focused specifically on disability and inclusion, with UK£50,000 donated to clubs looking to increase diversity or make adaptations to enable more people to get involved.
Over 90 per cent of Asics’ running shoes produced in 2021 and 2022 contained recycled material. As it bids to become a more sustainable brand, the Japanese sportswear manufacturer also replaced 30 per cent of conventional polyester materials with recycled polyester in its products.
Having launched its Banner to Bag project, which recycled banners into bags, the company is an active advocate for sustainable solutions. For the 2021 financial year, Asics reduced CO2 emissions by 28 per cent from the company’s general operations.
Alongside the brand’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, Asics is also a supporter of gender equity, with 33.7 per cent of its managerial positions currently held by women. In June 2021, Asics released the Asics group Modern Slavery and Transparency Statement in accordance with the modern slavery acts of the UK, Australia and the US.
Last year, more than 100,000 youths were involved in Right To Play programmes supported by the company. Launched alongside the Right To Play charity, the initiative aims to bring sport to deprived communities across the world.
Gap-owned women’s sportswear brand Athleta has launched a host of initiatives to promote women in sport. In 2020, Gap set up the Power of She Fund in partnership with the Women’s Sport Foundation (WSF), a move which saw the company contribute an initial US$2 million to kickstart the fund.
Launched in 2021 with US track and field star Allyson Felix, Athleta’s Power of She Fund: Childcare Grants offers financial support for female athletes with children. Since this was introduced, more than 70 grants have been issued, with UK£162,000 raised and more than 30,000 women and girls benefitting.
As part of the brand’s efforts to increase Black representation, Gap Inc joined the 15 Per Cent pledge as an advocacy partner in 2021, with the target of increasing pipeline programmes by 15 per cent and creating new opportunities for the Black community at the company.
Clif Bar has made several environmental commitments, including using 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2025 and removing or offsetting additional carbon emissions. Last year marked the US-based food and beverage brand’s 19th year of climate-neutral business operations and its partnership with American Forests aims to plant one million trees by 2025.
Clif Bar also encourages its staff to get involved with good causes, resulting in workers volunteering 8,058 hours in 2021. The company itself has donated more than US$6.2 million to non-profit partners and US$17.5 million worth of products to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community organisations.
The onset of Covid-19 saw Clif Bar take on further responsibility, working to protect migrant, immigrant, refugee and food and farmer communities across the US and Puerto Rico from the pandemic, in addition to reducing health inequities. That sits alongside continued work with the Indian Youth Group, which supports LGBTQ+ youth and people experiencing homelessness, and the Brown Girl Surf Foundation, which increases surfing accessibility for women of colour.
US retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods has partnered with numerous organisations to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in sport, including the Beyond Sport Foundation, the US Soccer Foundation, Under Armour and Brooks Running. In 2021, the company invested over US$35 million to support under-resourced youth athletes, with US$6 million donated through its Sports Matter community grant programme to help families cover registration fees required for sports participation.
In recognition of the financial challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dick’s Sporting Goods invested over US$20 million to help kids return to sport. One such initiative, titled the Sports Matter Giving Truck tour, saw equipment provided to 25,000 children and 96 organisations in 24 US cities, with a girls-themed tour distributing sports bras to those in need.
Named the first official sporting goods retail partner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 2021, the Pittsburgh-based retailer is now working with the league to develop community programmes aimed at boosting the promotion of women’s sports, youth participation and player development.
Electronic Arts (EA) Sports has led several socially conscious initiatives this year, most significantly in offering support to Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion. After suspending its operations in Russia, the video game developer offered to double any employee contributions towards organisations providing aid and support in Ukraine.
EA has made significant contributions towards charities such as Unicef USA and War Child, as well as partnering with regional teams in Romania and Poland to find local organisations where they can channel further financial resources. At the end of 2021, it also partnered with Stonewall FC to support the Rainbow Laces campaign, raising awareness of LQBTQ+ figures in soccer. In support of women’s sport and gender equality, too, EA Sports will feature Women’s Super League (WSL) teams for the first time in its popular FIFA 23 title.
As part of the company’s environmental sustainability efforts, EA is focused on lowering the carbon footprint of its games and services. The company utilises sustainable supplies, including fully compostable products where possible, and is working to reduce the environmental impact of its workplace and supply chain. EA’s Global Green Team, comprising of more than 600 people globally, is tasked with delivering its sustainability strategy.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Ecotricity’s operation. The British energy supplier provides green electricity to its customers, of which 20 per cent is produced by the company, and the remaining 80 per cent comes from other green generators. The company has set the ambitious goal of becoming a zero-carbon organisation by 2025.
Ecotricity partners with and powers more than 200 charities and organisations such as Forest Green Rovers, which is recognised by both Fifa and the United Nations as the world’s greenest soccer club. The Gloucestershire-based company will build the team’s new training facility at Eco Park, to be used by its women’s, youth and academy teams. The energy firm has also published its own ‘Ecotricity Guide to Going Green’, advising businesses on how to become more sustainable, and has started building free gas mills which utilise grass cuttings to create gas.
US sportswear and footwear retailer Foot Locker has made a commitment to improving social equity, aiming to serve underprivileged communities around the world.
In December 2021, Foot Locker partnered with Laureus to launch a Foot Locker Foundation that supports underserved communities and seeks to address gaps in health and wealth. In August, this partnership provided grants of between US$20,000 and US$100,000 to nine organisations in European metropolitan areas to support youth in their communities.
Through the retailer’s partnership with the NBA, Foot Locker launched the #RaiseTheGame campaign in 2020, which has seen the refurbishment of numerous basketball courts around the world.
An organisation committed to supporting racial equality, Foot Locker pledged to invest US$200 million over five years into the Black community in 2020. Through its Open-to-buy programme, Foot Locker has launched more than 40 brands, investing US$10 million into Black-owned companies and creators.
Foot Locker’s other commitments include a sustainability objective of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and numerous projects during Autism Acceptance Month, including a US$25,000 donation to Next for Autism with Puma.
Technology giant Google has chosen women’s basketball as the primary platform to showcase its commitment to advancing gender equality in sport.
At the end of August, the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) named Google as its first-ever global partner of the women’s game and the 2022 Women’s World Cup, building on the brand’s status as one of the WNBA’s changemakers.
That sponsorship, signed in May 2021, sees Google work with the WNBA and the North American league’s domestic broadcast partner ESPN to improve visibility. The brand serves as the presenting partner of the Disney-owned network’s coverage of the competition and also collaborated with the pair to showcase the stories of WNBA players on ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series.
In addition, as the league’s official trends and fan insights partner and an official technology partner of the competition, Google uses its tools to push WNBA news, scores, highlights and standings to the forefront of its search results to make it easier for fans to follow and discover the league.
Hummel’s various eco initiatives, including banning all single-use plastics in favour of producing products from recycled plastic bottles, have resulted in it being named Denmark’s most sustainable brand for the third consecutive year. Other targets for the sportswear company include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, working towards a circular economy and eliminating pesticides from products.
Away from its environmental activities, Hummel marked last year’s World Pride and Euro Games events by producing apparel for 3,000 volunteers, with one per cent of turnover for 2021 donated to sports-related projects in the LGBTQ+ community.
As part of its kit supply tie-up with Everton, Hummel has funded players from the Premier League club’s community disability teams to take their first steps into soccer coaching. Added to that is the brand’s support of Football for A New Tomorrow (FANT), which works to improve gender equality and opportunities for women to participate in sport in Sierra Leone. Hummel has also sponsored LykkeLiga, which provides children with the opportunity to play sport.
A certified B Corp, UK-based running footwear manufacturer Hylo Athletics became a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an alliance of sustainable producers in the consumer goods industry, in 2021. Among other things, membership of the SAC commits the brand to ensuring compliance and minimum standards throughout its supply chain in areas like labour rights, worker wellbeing and environmental impact.
Though barely two years old, Hylo is already setting an example to the notoriously wasteful footwear industry. Extending the lifespan of its products is core to the ambitious young company’s mission to protect the planet and to keep old trainers out of landfill. To that end, its Hyloop platform promotes product longevity through care, repair and recycling, while customers are given UK£10 Hylo credit if they send the company any used pair of trainers, from any brand, for repurposing.
Spanish energy company Iberdrola’s investments in sport are an extension of its commitment to boosting diversity, equity and inclusion within and outside its business. With a holistic, ambitious and well-executed strategy, including frequent and transparent progress reporting, the company is coupling climate action with social impact initiatives, thereby showcasing ESG best practice.
In sport, Iberdrola is perhaps best known in sport as the title sponsor of the Primera Iberdrola, Spain’s top domestic female soccer league, and the country’s national women’s team. Its support for women’s soccer is part of a wider commitment to improve gender equality in sport, where the company actively sponsors 32 national federations and more than 600,000 female athletes in Spain. That commitment was recently extended to Brazil, with Iberdrola now the lead corporate benefactor of the Brazilian women’s national soccer team and the country’s top club competition.
Alongside its support for female athletes, Iberdrola is working to reduce the environmental impact of elite sports facilities. In July, the company teamed up with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to inaugurate the first City of Sustainable Football in Madrid, where the installation of 110 photovoltaic panels and 20 charging points for electric vehicles are helping to promote renewable energy and sustainable mobility among athletes and fans.
Kuehne + Nagel has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability through its sports partnerships with SailGP and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021).
Aiming to minimise the carbon footprint of the sailing league’s events, the Switzerland-based transport and logistics company’s Net Zero Carbon programme aims to offset all CO2 emissions from all shipments through verified gold standard offsets.
In collaboration with SailGP, Kuehne + Nagel is striving to achieve a 100 per cent carbon neutral supply chain. For the final legs of SailGP’s second season, which saw the series transport its boats from Cadiz to Sydney, the logistics firm helped the league avoid approximately 342 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Also a partner of RLWC2021, Kuehne + Nagel launched a new ‘Tree for a Try’ campaign to ensure the delivery of the most sustainable edition of the tournament to date. The company pledged to plant one tree for every try scored throughout the 61 matches across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments. In the build-up to RLWC2021, 21 ceremonial trees were planted across the competition’s host towns and cities in England.
Lego’s recent sustainability highlights include increasing its solar panel capacity at its factories by 98 per cent compared to a 2020 baseline and revealing its first protype brick made from recycled material. Those are in addition to the toy company reaching more than 3.5 million children via its ‘Learning Through Play’ programmes for the 2021 financial year.
Lego’s high-profile partnerships with the likes of Adidas and English cricket’s The Hundred have included various activations to promote inclusivity and inspire creativity. That approach helped inform the Danish brand’s strategy for this summer’s Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 in England, for which it was a national sponsor. To mark the tournament, Lego set up events aimed at promoting the women’s game and creative play in general, as well as supporting Uefa’s ‘Ready for Girls’ female empowerment campaign, which aims to break down gender stereotypes.
Microsoft is using its partnerships with high-profile athletes and organisations, such as rising tennis star Coco Gauff and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, to empower women and enable children to learn STEM-based skills across sport.
Through its Game Changers programme, the technology giant has set out to highlight the stories of trailblazing females who are breaking new ground and inspiring the next generation. In partnership with Parity, a minority-founded organisation established to help close the gender pay gap in sport, Microsoft is leveraging its Teams virtual co-working platform to facilitate conversations between elite athletes and a global community of female fans, whilst also developing co-marketing opportunities and social media campaigns.
In tandem with the Mercury, meanwhile, the company has hosted technology clinics offering girls in Phoenix the chance to develop STEM skills through the lens of basketball. Elsewhere, Microsoft worked with the BWT Alpine F1 Team and Handy, a Florida-based non-profit that supports children in foster care, to create an educational programme ahead of May’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix. Children were given the chance to learn coding skills and program and race robotic cars, giving them an insight into the role of team engineers in Formula One.
As the world’s largest supplier and manufacturer of athletic footwear and apparel, US sportswear giant Nike arguably carries a greater responsibility than most to ensure its business practices are sustainable.
As of the end of financial year 2021, 77 per cent of the energy used at Nike’s owned or operated facilities is renewable, while 100 per cent of its footwear manufacturing waste (at their finished goods footwear suppliers) has been diverted from landfill and incineration through increased recycling. Central to those sustainability efforts has been the Nike Refurbished programme, which takes back gently worn, like-new or slightly imperfect Nike footwear and restores them by hand, and then offers the refurbished products to consumers at select stores.
The Oregon-headquartered company has also been taking strides to improve participation in sport, especially among young girls. That mission has been supported by the Play Academy with Naomi Osaka, a programme created through a partnership between the Japanese tennis star, Nike and Laureus Sport for Good which provides grants and capacity-building training for grassroots organisations. Originally launched in Tokyo, the initiative is now operational in Los Angeles, Haiti and Japan.
Nissan’s sustainability strategy comprises of three themes – the climate crisis, social equality and highly conscious customers. The Japanese carmaker’s long-term vision – Nissan Ambition 2030 – aims to support the company’s goal of contributing towards a safer, greener and more inclusive world.
Nissan’s Formula E team is at the forefront of showcasing the potential impact of electric vehicles in the future, which ties into the company’s objective of ensuring more than half of its cars globally are electric by fiscal year 2030. In 2021, it launched the ‘Electrify the City’ campaign with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, which reached 27 million viewers and generated an uplift of 21 per cent in viewers’ consideration of Nissan electric vehicles.
Through its partnership with City owner City Football Group (CFG), Nissan’s technologies are being used to support sustainability and long-term community improvement. Through its Possibilities Project, too, the company is working to promote diversity and inclusion in the UK. In year one of the project, it aimed to make the sport of running more welcoming for LGBTQ+ runners, as well as providing four people access to running prosthetics.
A poster child for corporate activism, outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia has grown increasingly explicit and vocal in its mission ‘to save our home planet’. Having committed to donating one per cent of its sales each year to grassroots organisations working to find solutions to environmental challenges, the Ventura, California-based retailer has stepped up its efforts through political activism.
In 2021, for example, Patagonia donated US$1 million to combat restrictive voting laws in Georgia. That followed its well-publicised decision to sue the Trump Administration over its plans to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah back in 2018, the same year it also endorsed two Democratic candidates in state elections.
Most notably, in September, company founder Yvon Chouinard doubled down on those efforts when he relinquished ownership of Patagonia to a charitable trust, ensuring any future profits not reinvested in running the business will go towards tackling the climate emergency. As such, it is anticipated that Patagonia will give away about US$100 million annually to protect nature, promote biodiversity and fight the environmental crisis.
Founded in 2004, London-based cycling brand Rapha has played an active role in mobilising the next generation of riders through its Rapha Cycling Club, which offers members hundreds of rides, routes and group chats to get involved with the sport.
Some of the company’s most impactful work has been carried out by the Rapha Foundation, which was established in 2019 and now funds more than 20 organisations globally that support riders from under-represented communities. Today, more than 60 per cent of the foundation’s annual US$1.5 million funding goes towards BAME and female-focused programmes and initiatives.
One organisation that has benefited from Rapha’s support is Canada’s National Cycling Institute Milton, which offers indoor track cycling opportunities for cyclists of all abilities. The non-profit used the foundation’s funding to expand its ‘Try the Track’ initiative to more local schools and sports clubs, and to run summer camps that attracted more youngsters from across Southern Ontario.
On top of its charitable efforts, Rapha also has a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025 and – as a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition – is working towards a 45 per cent reduction in collective emissions by 2030.
Unilever-owned deodorant brand Rexona – also known in certain markets as Sure, Degree or Shield – has the stated aim of breaking down barriers that stop people participating in physical activity. In a bid to overcome inactivity among adolescents and challenge negative perceptions relating to sports participation, the brand has created Breaking Limits, a sport for development programme targeted at disadvantaged youth.
Developed and delivered in collaboration with Beyond Sport, the programme brings together and provides vital financial support to 36 NGOs that use movement to achieve positive outcomes. Having launched in the US, UK and Brazil in April 2021, the programme has reached over 600,000 young people aged 12 to 18 and helped upskill over 9,000 grassroots coaches, teachers, community leaders and volunteers, with the Breaking Limits Training Series, a free, digital education programme, providing resources and knowledge to deliver inclusive and inspirational sessions.
According to the brand’s own impact survey, 89 per cent of coaches involved in the programme, which covers topics including gender equality, disability inclusion and anti-bias, said they felt better equipped to affect change, while 91 per cent felt they learned new topics relevant to their work. In its first year, the programme has funded 29 live events and workshops whilst enabling its NGO partners to hire new staff, purchase much-needed equipment and refurbish existing facilities.
Rubicon’s commitment to reducing waste and encouraging sustainable solutions is evident in its sports partnerships. The software platform signed the Climate Pledge in December 2020 and aims to reach net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
In 2021, Rubicon’s partnership with State Farm Arena, the home of the Atlanta Hawks, helped deliver the NBA’s first ever zero waste All-Star Game, where 97 per cent of fan waste was diverted from landfill. During the arena’s recent transformation, State Farm Arena removed 12,500 seats, which were converted into 64 tons of recyclable material. Rubicon also found a sustainable solution for expired soda and beer at State Farm Arena, converting the beverages into bio fuel and recycling aluminium products. This resulted in 643 gallons of ethanol and 396 pounds of recycled aluminium.
In 2020, Rubicon teamed up with Keeneland, signing a five-year agreement to ultimately reach zero waste. The company has also worked with the University of Kentucky’s athletics department to reduce waste at its facilities, becoming the presenting sponsor of UK Recycling’s ‘Big Blue Crew and the ‘Green Lot’ car park adjacent to Kroger Field.
SAP has proven to be an advocate for sustainability through its partnership with the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team and its funding of the World Sailing Trust.
As the business performance partner of Mercedes-EQ, the German software company deploys various technologies including its Sustainability Control Tower, which monitors the team’s environmental impact and allows it to manage its overall carbon footprint. In 2020, the team received a three star environmental accreditation for their efforts to enhance environmental performance. SAP’s Product Footprint Management also gives Mercedes-EQ access to insights on the environmental impact of inventory the team purchases from suppliers.
Elsewhere, SAP has funded the World Sailing Trust charity, which leads a number of purpose-driven projects. In 2022, the Trust delivered the Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance, which aims to show that recycled carbon fibre can be used in high performance sports equipment instead of being downcycled.
SAP Qualtrics delivered a sustainability self-assessment for grassroots sports clubs, allowing them to virtually audit their own facilities and to receive advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint. Clubs from more than 20 countries have used this tool to date.
SunGod intends to minimise its environmental impact wherever possible by focusing on areas such as lower impact packaging, improved transport solutions, increased use of recyclable materials and supporting causes that raise awareness of climate change. Every product from the UK-based eyewear company is carbon neutral, adding to its commitment to give a minimum of one per cent of revenue to sustainability-focused non-profits.
Recently, SunGod worked with the Great Britain SailGP Team, supporting the 1851 Trust to empower young people with science-based knowledge to combat climate change. The brand has also taken action to help protect the oceans through a collaboration with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
With 2022 proving a landmark year for women’s sport, including the return of the Tour de France Femmes in July, SunGod also established ‘The Momentum Campaign’ to drive awareness of female cyclists and celebrate women in sport.
Mountain sports equipment manufacturer Vaude has a stated aim to become Europe’s most environmentally-friendly outdoor brand and its sustainability efforts to date suggest that the German company is serious about attaining that goal.
Vaude has been carbon neutral since 2012 and the family-run company hopes its headquarters in Tettnang will run on 100 per cent renewable energy by the end of the decade. In addition, the firm believes that 90 per cent of its products will comprise more than 50 per cent bio-based or recycled materials by 2024.
Last year, Vaude entered the realm of professional sports with the launch of the Trek | Vaude cycling team, which operates under the banner of ‘sustainability in competitive sports’. The brand is supplying sustainable clothing and travel bags to the seven-member outfit, which had two athletes taking part at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and plans to compete across the cross-country, marathon, cyclocross and e-mountainbike disciplines.
Vaude also serves as the official outfitter of climbing’s German Alpine Club, which is the only sports association recognised as a nature conservation organisation.
Through Visa’s seven-year partnership with Uefa Women’s Football, signed in 2018, the financial services company is aiming to support the growth of the women’s game.
Visa and Uefa have partnered on dedicated women’s soccer projects, including the #PlayAnywhere vlog series hosted by soccer star Liv Cooke, and the #WePlayStrong girls participation campaign. The company also launched The Second Half programme, which supports female soccer players in Europe as they consider their post-playing careers.
In 2020, Visa joined the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with The Vatican, a partnership committed to reforming capitalism in support of a more inclusive and sustainable society. Visa made 13 initial commitments to the council, across areas such as inclusion and diversity, sustainability, pay equity and human rights.
New Zealand-based technology company Xero was founded in 2006 with the aim of supporting small businesses.
In the 2021 financial year, Xero maintained carbon neutral certification through purchasing Verified Carbon Standard offsets of carbon emissions. The software firm also adapted its governance to align with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Xero has also demonstrated a commitment to the development of women’s soccer, through its partnership with Fifa, which includes the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. The company will support Fifa’s Capacity Building for Administrators programme which utilises its technology for women’s soccer development, and the Coach Education Scholarships programme, set up to create pathways for women to gain coaching qualifications.
Through its partnership with Lewes FC, the world’s first gender equal and fully fan-owned soccer club, Xero aims to improve the financial stability of women’s teams. The deal includes initiatives and activations to help improve financial viability, with 70 per cent of them reported to be currently operating at a loss.
Earlier this year, Xylem extended its global partnership with City Football Group (CFG), prolonging a relationship that has seen the water technology specialist leverage the holding company’s global network of soccer clubs to reach more than one billion people through water awareness, education and volunteer initiatives. The pair plans to engage a further 100 million people as part of the renewal.
Their most recent campaign, called ‘Take Steps to Solve Water’, saw Xylem work with Manchester City’s men’s and women’s teams, as well as manager Pep Guardiola, to create a multi-channel content series highlighting the need to tackle problems such as water access and pollution.
At the heart of the campaign were two water-related fitness challenges that were activated through a collaboration with fitness platform Strava. Over two weeks in April and May, one of those challenges invited users to log 6km of activity in solidarity with millions of people around the world who still have to travel that distance on a daily basis just to reach their nearest source of safe drinking water. All told, more than 239,000 people from over 100 countries completed at least one of the challenges outlined by the campaign.