WPG at COP 27


Our first-ever COP was a success!

Along with our Planet Partner, Bellona, WPG had the privilege of going to COP 27 in Sharm el Sheikh to present a panel on the importance of creating support for the Green Shift, and how football can provide the roadmap to doing so.

The discussion was on how players, clubs, and fans can mobilize the global football family to create support the green shift, and revolved around two main discussion points – the importance of player activation, and collaboration.

The panel began with a powerful video message from WPG founder Morten Thorsby and Marcelo Vieira. This video introduced WPG’s roadmap to mobilizing the football family, which is based on strong leadership from professional players. Player voices are heard all over the world and can reach over 5 billion people. Therefore, with support from over 5 billion people, the green shift can happen.  

Click here to watch the video 

Enriching the panel conversation were Martina Donlon, Climate Communications Lead at the UN, Paolo Caridi, Head of Unit Clima European Commission, Carlos Rittl, The Rainforest Foundation Stine Lise Hattestad from KPMG, Ivar Simensen from Aker Horizon and Espen Thorsby, Chairman of We Play Green.

Panel Summary below

The main points:

1. The importance of proper player activation

All panel participants agreed that players have an enormous impact. Therefore, getting them involved in the fight against climate and environmental change has great potential.  

It was also appreciated that many players may feel reservations around using their platforms to talk about these topics, especially concerning backlash. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with confidence via training, and media support.

Player activation also needs to feel authentic. There are many great climate change campaigns out there, but many don’t have the ability to make you emotionally enthralled. Football evokes powerful emotions from players and fans alike. Therefore, that emotion is what needs to be channeled, but about the green shift.

2. Collaboration –

Players’ reach and voices are not limited to themselves. Their efforts can be amplified with the help of clubs, national associations (NA), sponsors, NGOs, and commercial partners.

Within the nature of clubs and NA’s, in particular, resides the proper resources to make a player’s message stick and become part of club culture. Because sponsors, commercial, and regulatory partners work so closely with these institutions, it is crucial that sustainable business practices are implemented, as they create a strong link between their respective communities, and necessary sustainable attitudes and behaviors.

It was also discussed that specialist NGOs will strongly benefit from involving players in their communication with the public, governments, and other stakeholders. Again, this is because many of the solutions to manifest the green shift exist! They just need to be supported and players have the unique ability to bring a lot of attention to those solutions.

To sum up, it was an uplifting and enriching conversation around a way to address the world’s most pressing topic. We Play Green was honored to have participated in an event that is crucial to solidifying concrete action from important global actors. It was gratifying to get confirmation that the solutions to the green shift already exist, we just need to support them.

We thank everyone who was there, and hope to make it back next year!

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