The Telefónica Auditorium in Madrid hosted this event, which featured three roundtable discussions with experts from the world of sports, debating the sector’s commitment to the environment. During the Gala, the first edition of the Forever Green Awards was presented.

Real Betis held the inaugural Forever Green Sustainability Gala, aimed at showcasing the sports world’s commitment to fighting climate change and the main challenges the sector faces in hosting sporting events that are 100% environmentally friendly in the short term.

The Telefónica Auditorium in Madrid hosted the first Forever Green Gala, which was organized in collaboration with the newspaper Marca, the official media partner of Real Betis’ sustainability platform. The event was attended by over 350 guests.

This is the first time a Spanish football club has organized an event dedicated exclusively to environmental sustainability. The Forever Green Gala, directed by Marca presenter Nuria Cruz, was inaugurated by Ion Vilcu, Director of the UN World Tourism Organization, and Ana Muñoz, Deputy Director General of Development and Sustainability of the Government of Spain.

Environmental sustainability in the sports sector

Following the inaugural event, the first of the roundtable discussions began: “Sustainable Companies Linked to Sports.” Moderated by Carlos Carpio, Elena Valderrábano, Director of Sustainability at Telefónica; José María Galofre, CEO of Volvo Cars Spain; Arancha Escalada, Director of Sustainability at Reale Seguros; and Eugenio Solla, Director of Sustainability at CaixaBank, discussed the progress they have made in becoming environmentally responsible entities.

From companies linked to sports to athletes. Theresa Zabell, Olympic Champion and President of the Ecomar Foundation; Alberto Longo, Founder and Director of Formula E; Javier Guillén, General Director of La Vuelta; Gonzaga Escaurioza, President of the Spanish Golf Federation; and the Apnea World Runner-up Miguel Lozano participated in the roundtable discussion “Sustainability in Sports.”

The Gala was attended by the four major Spanish sports competitions, which were the focus of the roundtable discussion “Sustainability at the Executive Level in the Top Sports Categories. ” Víctor Martín, Chief of Staff of LaLiga’s Presidency; Beatriz Álvarez, President of Liga F; Javier Lozano, President of LNFS; and Antonio Martín, President of the ACB, were the protagonists of this debate moderated by Juan Ignacio Gallardo, Director of Marca.

Forever Green Awards

During the event, the first edition of the Forever Green Awards was presented, recognizing the work and commitment to the environment of entities, companies, and individuals in the sports sector. Former Betis player Héctor Bellerín received the award in the “Sustainable Advocate” category for promoting a planet-friendly lifestyle, although he couldn’t attend due to scheduling conflicts, he sent a video thanking for the recognition.

In the category of “Sustainable Sports Club,” the award went to Forest Green Rovers, an English club globally recognized for its commitment to the planet and considered by FIFA as the most sustainable in the world. The club couldn’t be present at the Gala but sent a video expressing gratitude for the recognition and Real Betis’ commitment to the environment.

On the other hand, Bohemian F.C. Dublin, received the Forever Green award in the category of “Best Community Initiative. The Irish club is strongly committed to fighting climate change by leading the Climate Justice initiative, which allows the club to take environmental measures and empower fans and the community around the club to realize their environmental rights.

In the category of “Best Sustainable Project,” LG was awarded for Smart Green, an initiative that proposed reforesting 47 million trees per year in Spain, one for each inhabitant. Within this project are initiatives such as ECOTECHNOLOGY, with its energy-saving calculator to choose the most efficient product for homes. This award was received by Jaime de Jaraiz, President & CO of LG Spain.

The Climate Pledge, a platform created in 2019 by Amazon, is the winner of the Forever Green award for “Promoting Global Collaboration for Climate. This initiative is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, ten years earlier than planned in the Paris Agreement. In 2020, Real Betis was the first Spanish entity to join this project, which already has more than 300 companies and institutions from 51 sectors and 29 countries signed up for the commitment. Daniel Salter, Senior Engagement Manager for The Climate Pledge, was responsible for collecting this award.

Renfe, the official transport of Real Betis for the travel of its football and basketball teams, received the Forever Green award for “Leader in Sustainable Mobility.”. It is the largest final consumer of renewable energy in Spain (with over 2.6% of the total renewable electricity consumed in our country) and will enable the reduction of over 7 million tons of CO2 by 2030. Renfe and its railways are at 73.6% total decarbonization. The company provides coverage for athletes to travel sustainably on its trains and is a regular sponsor in the sports industry. Francisco Arteaga, Director of the High-Speed Business Area, received this award from Ramón Alarcón, CEO of Real Betis.

Forever Green collaborator, Gravity Wave, is a social and environmental impact startup that, through the cleaning of plastics from seas and ports, allows companies to commit to a cause that has a real impact on the environment, received the Forever Green award for “Best Sustainable Startup.” Together with Gravity Wave and Reale Seguros, Real Betis has installed the first seats made 100% from fishing nets recovered from the sea at the Benito Villamarín Stadium. Julen Rodriguez, Co-CEO of Gravity Wave, received the award from Rafael Muela, Manager of the Real Betis Foundation.

Templo Cafés, a Forever Green partner company, was chosen in the category of “Best Sustainable Partner.” A leading specialist coffee company in the Iberian Peninsula, its green coffee buyers find the best ecological plantations, cooperatives, and farmers. In 2022, they reduced the purchase of plastic materials for their products by 55% compared to 2021. Achievements that have earned them this first Forever Green award.

Seville Tourism received the Forever Green award in the category of “Best Sustainable Tourism Strategy” for the Sevilla Ciudad Sostenible project. The Andalusian capital has been working for years on a new city model whose goal is to achieve a more competitive, smart, innovative, sustainable, responsible, and inclusive city. To achieve this, it is based on a clear strategy, the Visitor Economy. A novel concept that aims for city promotion to be the spearhead not only for attracting visitors but also for investors and talent. And that everyone coexists in balance and benefits equally from this strategy, whose priority is environmental sustainability but also economic and social. A more sustainable city where the quality of life for residents and the visitor experience is better.

Forever Green

Forever Green has been working for over two years in the fight against climate change, an effort that has made the organization one of the most environmentally committed football clubs in the world and the most sustainable team in LaLiga according to a study by Holaluz. Furthermore, Brand Finance recently ranked Real Betis as the second most sustainable European club due to initiatives such as its Forever Green program.

Since the inception of Forever Green, 80 entities have joined the platform and 88 actions have been developed, including clean-ups of natural areas, the installation of a fleet of electric scooters and bicycles for Club employees, as well as promoting their use by fans through discounts and recycling and awareness campaigns. Forever Green has gained worldwide recognition, reaching 598 million people and spanning 75 countries.

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