University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 088 of 26.06.2023
Bayreuth scientists develop sustainability scoring for mail-order sports company Sport-Thieme
Sport-Thieme, which claims to be Germany's largest mail-order company for sports equipment for institutional sports, wants to make the sustainability of its production and services clearly visible to customers. The corresponding scoring is now being developed by Bayreuth sports scientist Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn together with students from the University of Bayreuth.
Wolfram Nimmerrichter, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Sport-Thieme, explains the background: "Since the introduction of Sport-Thieme's strategic sustainability orientation in 2021, we have been looking for a way to summarise the various sustainable product features in a score. The goal here is for customers to be able to see how sustainable a sports article is in a clear and quickly comprehensible presentation." In initial trials, Sport-Thieme has compiled the possible sustainable product features. According to the current state of the art, it is not yet possible to assume completely sustainable products, but only to talk about sustainable product features. "Through contact with the "sportainable" project at the University of Bayreuth, we are now in the process of raising the score to a new, scientifically sound level by applying the criteria of the European Sustainability Reporting Standard (ESRS) and relating them to the products," says Nimmerrichter.
Under the name "sportainable®", Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhn developed a scoring in 2021 that aims to make sustainability in the sports industry recognisable at a glance. It combines the principle of the "Nutri-Score" with differentiated criteria. Consumers can see at a glance from the colour in the score how sustainable and socially fair a trainer, tennis racket or the organisation of a football match is overall. The score is made up of environmental, social and governance categories, under which there are a large number of concrete criteria that also reflect the state of research and current regulatory requirements for sustainability reporting. "So it's about a scoring system based on scientifically sound and legally defined sustainability standards that can be applied to all elements of sport, i.e. products, organisations and services," says Kuhn.
The sports scientist is now working with students of sports technology and sports economics to define sustainability criteria for Sport-Thieme products, interviewing experts, developing corresponding software and gathering consumer feedback. This work is to reach a provisional conclusion by the end of 2023, when a selected piece of sports equipment will be used as an example to show what the score looks like and how it works. Sport-Thieme has around 19,000 products in its range, including such diverse items as balls, fitness equipment and therapy products. Once the "sportainable score" is in place, it will be tested on other products.