The Impact of Grassroots Sustainability Innovations in Sport: Opportunities and Cases From Italy

The Impact of Grassroots Sustainability Innovations in Sport: Opportunities and Cases From Italy

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3500-3.ch004


The chapter aims to describe specific cases from the Italian context to introduce the role of grassroots sport organizations and their innovative practices and to analyze them in the context of the theoretical and managerial backgrounds introduced in the previous chapters. First, there is the analysis of the macro level, the European Union and its policies for innovation and sport. Then, there is the description of the Italian environment (meso level) through the introduction of the main grassroots sport organizations and of their sector (the Third Sector). Third, the chapter introduces three cases of grassroots sustainability innovations (green and coop management, education for sustainability and responsible sport events), which the author has been involved in, and potential future developments as practical examples of windows of opportunity for novel bottom up solutions. The cases and the future opportunities of development for grassroots innovative organizations will show that those initiatives are beneficial for society as a whole.
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Compass For Sailors: Eu Innovation Initiatives And Windows Of Opportunity For Grassroots Innovation

The European Union has been developing new initiatives to move beyond the crisis and create the conditions for a more competitive economy with higher employment. In 2010, the European commission launched the Europe 2020 Strategy. Europe2020 is the European Union’s ten-year strategy designed to create the conditions for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and to create more jobs. The EU Commission set five (5) headline targets to be achieved by the end of 2020. These targets cover: 1) employment; 2) research and development; 3) climate/energy; 4) education; 5) social inclusion and poverty reduction.

Between 2014 and 2015, the Commission published a Communication taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy (2014), including an overview of progress on the 2020 targets. Then the Commission held a public consultation on the strategy and published the results in a communication in March 2015. These five ambitious targets are supported by the set of documents “Integrated Guidelines” adopted by the European Council in 2015 to replace the previous 2010 Integrated Guidelines. These guidelines are broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union and for the employment policies of the Member States. In order for the European Union to reach these goals of a qualitative and quantitative growth, the Europe 2020 strategy has to deliver growth that is smart, sustainable and inclusive, where smartness, inclusivity and sustainability are the top priorities:

  • To be smart, through more effective investments in education, research and innovation;

  • To be sustainable, thanks to a decisive move towards a low-carbon economy;

  • To be inclusive, with a strong emphasis on job creation and poverty reduction.

These goals should be reached through the establishment of a strong and effective system of economic governance that has been set up to coordinate policy actions between the EU and Member States.

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