Sustainability in gyms and sport centers

Interview with Ana Vallejo

The relationship with the environment is becoming more and more relevant in our society. Companies and institutions of all kinds increasingly understand the priority of acting responsibly with natural resources.

The fitness sector is no stranger to this process, with industry institutions beginning to become aware and implementing measures to improve their relationship with the environment.

We as Magicline, have interviewed Ana Vallejo, a fitness center consultant specializing in environmental management and sustainability projects aligned with the 2030 agenda. First of all, thank you Ana for your time!

Magicline: Do you think that sustainability is understood as something necessary and that, in addition to being a global responsibility, it improves organizations and their management?

Ana Vallejo: I think that the concept of “sustainability” still does not have enough tangible weight in organizations. Even believing that it is necessary and that it is a responsibility for all organizations, the impact of not initiating this transformation – or the consequences of not initiating it – are not seen with sufficient clarity.

For any organization, in order to carry out a profound transformation, it must be clear that the results it is going to obtain from are the best possible. When we talk about sustainability and the content of the concept is not grounded, it can be incredibly dispersed and difficult to apply.

It is essential to explain and understand why it is necessary, what the roadmap is, what objectives must be met, how to measure and what results will be obtained, in order to be able to take action.

Magicline: Do you see an urgent need for the sector to act or increase its performance in this area?

Ana Vallejo: It is urgent that all sectors act. We are in a climate emergency, in an energy crisis and at the beginning of an energy transition, the rate of reduction of the carbon footprint has to increase, 65% of biodiversity has disappeared, there is water scarcity, etc. and this has economic and social consequences.

All this affects the sector and the functioning of the sector impacts this environmental context. It is a two-way street. We can choose to be part of the change and work on mitigating the impacts and adapting the industry, or continue as we are.

Fortunately, there are organizations, large and small, that are setting an example to follow.

Magicline: What can sports centres do to become more sustainable, starting with the easiest and moving on to the most complex?

Ana Vallejo: The first thing is to look inward and verify that everything related to environmental regulations is compliant and up to date. From there you have to identify the environmental aspects that impact the organization and measure them.  Our recommendation is always to start from the simple to the complex, from what does not require investment to the most expensive and taking into account what will have the greatest impact on economic, environmental and social results.   These three variables are key to get going. You can start now.

I have an article that can serve as a reference to get you started: 20 Green Tips for a more sustainable sport.

Magicline: What are the most typical difficulties that facilities have when trying to implement these improvements? How do you suggest solving them?

Ana Vallejo: I think that the main difficulties are the lack of knowledge of the organizations, that the perception is of high price and not of investment, that the benefits are not appreciated at first sight and that there are other problems that have become more relevant.

In view of this, training is essential, and transforming objectives into viable, concrete, adapted and measurable action plans. This will make it possible to change the perception of results and to understand that the solution to current problems is also part of this sustainable transition.  The culture of the organization, the people, play a fundamental role and the result is to integrate new criteria and objectives when doing things.

Magicline: How do we know we are going in the right direction?

Ana Vallejo: The answer lies in how we have started to design the path. If we start from a purpose, from a correct analysis and if we have clear objectives. From there, the construction of a qualitative and quantitative tailor-made plan will take us in the right direction.

Magicline: Do you have any advice on which institutions offer legitimate sustainability certificates in Spain?

Ana Vallejo: There are many certifications and ‘approval seals’ and not all of them are for all organizations.  Rather than advise on institutions, my recommendation is that each organization can identify which ones bring them the most value, aligns with their objectives and showcase the work they do.

About Ana Vallejo:

Ana Vallejo is a Spanish consultant specialized in viable environmental management and sustainability projects and aligned with the 2030 agenda. She has developed projects for some of the most important companies in the Spanish Sports Industry, has been herself director of clubs and sports centres, and is a renowned trainer in institutions such as UPV, UB, Unisport, UVic, UCLM, MAS+.

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Maike Kumstel

on October 29, 2022

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3 min
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