Defining sustainability vision and practices in the football industry
#Content and stories
#Internal engagement & training
When Juventus Football Club decided it needed a sustainability strategy, it was convinced that it needed a vision that reflected the reality of the football business and its status as one of Europe’s leading football clubs with a newly opened state-of-the-art stadium. The standard sustainability approach used by other business segments or the CSR-focused tradition in European football, limited to charity and community efforts, wouldn’t be suitable.
The brief was therefore to come up with a solution that would meet Juventus’s expectations and be truly relevant to the club management and stakeholders, from investors to its millions of fans around the world.
As soon as we started supporting Juventus in late 2013, we understood there were very few if any analogous experiences that the club could draw upon. Juventus needed to develop its own vision through a structured approach, identifying sustainability issues that were relevant to the company’s future business challenges and taking into full account the broad social implications of football in society, both in Italy and the wider world.
Over the course of five years, we worked together with the Turin-based club to define their sustainability journey through stakeholder engagement initiatives and annual reporting, becoming one of the first football teams globally to use the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. We also help them to be recognised as sustainability thought-leader in the football industry (e.g. UEFA and ECA events).
INTERNAL ENGAGEMENT AND WORKSHOPS
– Kick-off workshop with leadership team
– Annual cycles of interviews with management to gather information and track initiatives, goals & achievement
– Behind-the-scenes stadium visits with the match-day team
– Support for sustainability committee meetings.
The Juventus report is a “demonstration of true innovation and leadership. It doesn’t just define Juventus’ commitment to sustainability; it stands as a rallying cry to clubs and businesses to make sport safe, healthy and fair.”
Corporate and Financial Awards, jury motivation
STRATEGY THROUGH EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT
We have engaged stakeholders, ranging from one-to-one interviews to surveys of thousands of supporters internationally:
– Qualitative interviews with and surveys of professional stakeholders (suppliers, shareholders, sponsors, journalists, institutions, partners)
– Interviews with domestic and international experts from the world of football and the sustainability of sport
– Surveys of Juventus supporters, engaging thousands of fans domestically and at an international level
– Targeted engagement of supporters with disability to understand their experience with the club and at the stadium.
These activities were undertaken to guide Juventus in drawing up a structured and long-term strategy on sustainability issues. Engagement outputs, together with the materiality matrix, led us to define in 2015 an initial sustainability framework, which matured through 2016 into the Juventus Sustainability Model. In parallel, we helped put in place the Club’s sustainability governance, helping set up a sustainability unit and co-ordinating its Sustainability Committee
We supported Juventus from an initial internal document – “Report 0” – that mapped sustainability activities for the first time to annual reporting according to GRI guidelines. For each report we:
– Defined the content organisation and narrative
– Managed data collection and coordination with auditors
– Produced all content (in Italian and English)
– Guided the club’s graphical agencies or developed the layout with our partner agency yvat & klerb
– Obtained the Global Reporting Initiative’s “Materiality Matters” check
Juventus published its first sustainability report at its shareholders’ meeting in October 2014, becoming one of a handful of clubs worldwide to do so according to GRI guidelines and the first to receive the “Materiality Matters” check from the GRI. The report won the Gold trophy at the UK’s Corporate & Financial Awards 2015 for the Best Printed Report in the International category and was described by the jury as “outstanding.
The club has received recognition as a sustainability leader in football, hosting the first workshop on CSR and sustainability of the European Club Association (ECA) in 2016.
Its commitment continues to evolve…