Greenwashed sports and environmental activism: Formula 1 and FIFA

2016-11-21T13:33:51Z (GMT) by Toby Miller
Formula 1 motor sport and the Men’s World Cup of association football, two major sporting events on our calendars, are indirectly and directly responsible for environmental despoliation. They serve as advertisements for heavy industry, are designed for elite as much as mass consumption, and provide sponsors with dubious social licenses to operate. This occurs through the very mechanisms of the events themselves (engines in Formula 1, tourism in the World Cup) as well as their promotional externalities. I look at greenwashing claims made about these two sporting events and examine counter-discourses, then investigate economic and ecological citizenship. I suggest that a progressive agenda can be forwarded if Greenpeace, which runs campaigns related to these sports, works with its fellow elites, in the case of Formula 1, and with fans in the case of football. Doing so may be more effective than business-as-usual direct action.