As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, countries around the globe are seeking ways to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Taiwan is no exception. In 2021, the National Development Council released a roadmap for achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The sports industry is an important player in this effort and must find ways to make a positive impact on the environment while ensuring its own sustainable development.
One example of a sustainable sports industry in Taiwan is running. With more than 70 marathons each year, the industry has a significant impact on the environment due to waste and energy consumption. To address these issues, the Taiwan Road Running Industry Association has developed a certification system for “green running” events. This system includes criteria for waste reduction, carbon offsetting and the use of eco-friendly materials. By promoting these practices, it aims to reduce the environmental impact of running events and promote sustainability in the industry.
While the association’s efforts are commendable, they represent only a small part of the overall challenge facing the sports industry in Taiwan. The Sports Administration’s Sports Industry Development Policy Guidelines provide a framework for a more comprehensive approach to sustainable development.
The guidelines call for the promotion of sports for all, including individuals with disabilities and those from underprivileged backgrounds. This inclusivity and diversity in sports should help promote a more equitable and sustainable society.
Additionally, they call for the development of sports-related technology and innovation to enhance the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability. This includes the development of smart sports equipment and facilities, as well as the use of big data and artificial intelligence to optimize sports performance and reduce fuel consumption.
Furthermore, the guidelines highlight the importance of sports tourism. By promoting eco-friendly practices in sports tourism, the sports industry can help promote sustainable development in the broader tourism industry.
However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed for the industry to achieve sustainable development. One is the lack of investment in sustainable sports infrastructure. Without proper facilities and equipment, it is difficult to promote sustainable practices in the industry. Another challenge is promoting sustainable practices among participants, fans and stakeholders.
To overcome these challenges, the government should take a leadership role in promoting sustainable development. This includes providing financial support for the development of sustainable sports infrastructure, promoting awareness of sustainable practices and incentivizing the adoption of sustainable practices among industry stakeholders.
By following the Sports Industry Development Policy Guidelines, promoting sports for all, developing sports-related technology and innovation, promoting sports tourism and providing leadership in promoting sustainable practices, Taiwan’s sports industry can become a leader in promoting sustainability in the region.
Gary Chen is an associate research fellow in the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research Department of International Affairs.
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