The ATP and Infosys have ushered in a new phase in tennis’ sustainability journey with the launch of Carbon Tracker, a first-of-its-kind app that enables players to track and reduce travel emissions on Tour.
With hundreds of professional players traveling to more than 250 events in 50 countries across the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour each season, travel represents a significant portion of players’ overall carbon emissions. Tackling this impact has become the highest sustainability priority under ATP Serves, in line with ATP’s commitment to UN Sports for Climate Action.
“This initiative means a lot for tennis, because luckily tennis is one of the biggest [and] one of the most popular sports in the world. But by the same token also probably one of the sports with the most travel, with the most miles flown,” said Dominic Thiem. “So it’s super important for tennis to step up and take the first steps towards a better future.”
Developed in collaboration with Infosys, Digital Innovation partner for the ATP Tour, Carbon Tracker is a first of its kind app in professional sports. It enables players to track their travel to tournaments across the season, understand their emissions profile, make more informed travel decisions and mitigate their impact by purchasing verified carbon credits through the Gold Standard, a leading sustainable development standard and climate action partner of the ATP.
The Carbon Tracker app’s long-term ambition is to inspire greener travel on the Tour. It features a dashboard that presents players with a holistic view of their emissions across multiple seasons – enabling a deeper understanding and analysis of travel choices. This is supplemented with resources and quizzes to educate players on sustainable practices and environmental advocacy.
Thiem, Cameron Norrie, Andrey Rublev and Emil Ruusuvuori have started the cause by committing to track and reduce 100 percent of their tournament travel emissions by 2023.
Rublev said: “As a tennis player, I have to travel a lot, especially there are many flights a year [over a] long distance, different continents. So the Carbon Tracker app is a perfect first step.”
There are more than 2,900 Gold Standard certified projects in more than 100 countries around the world. These projects include supporting the planting of biodiverse forests in Panama to improving stoves in Peru and Uganda.
Over time, the certified projects have produced more than $36 billion in value supporting climate action and sustainability progress.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gold Standard,” Ruusuvuori said. “They have amazing projects all over the world, like India, Peru, Ethiopia. And I’m really looking forward to exploring all possible ways to help.”
The Finnish star added: “Ninety percent of tennis’ emissions come from travel, so we know what the problem is. But even though the problem is big and it takes a lot to make a difference, we know we can. So that’s why , we started this thing.”
Thiem explained why he feels a responsibility as an athlete to not only support the cause, but motivate his colleagues to do the same.
“It’s super important that athletes, especially from a big global popular sport like tennis, speak their mind because they have a big fan base,” Thiem said. “They can inspire a lot of people, and this way they can have a pretty big part in helping to save the planet.”
Rublev elaborated on why he feels the same way: “It is important to use this platform in the right way to move in the same direction. If you can use your platform and you try to do something about the climate and some people listen to you and they start to see this way too, maybe their friends [will] listen to them too.
“There are a lot of people who do good things and they don’t have a voice and they do so many good things. And athletes, they have this power, so for them it’s a lot easier to do these things. And that’s why , they must do it’.
While travel is an inevitable part of professional tennis, Norrie said he feels a responsibility to act and show climate leadership.
“This is something close to my heart and it’s been incredible to see this movement take off in tennis,” Norrie said. “Carbon Tracker is a great first step to deploy more players, reduce our impact and keep this important conversation top of mind. I’m excited to see where it leads.”
Top 3 players on the in-app Carbon Tracker leaderboard at the end of the 2023 season will be eligible to win a $100,000 prize pool. This will be distributed in the form of donations to environmental sustainability charities of the players’ choice.
Carbon Tracker will be available exclusively through PlayerZone, the existing player website and mobile app launched by Infosys and ATP in 2016.
ATP chief Massimo Calvelli said: “Tennis is on a mission to Net Zero and, like many sports, our travel footprint is our biggest challenge. The ATP’s new Carbon Tracker makes it easy for players to take part in that journey, reducing their impact today and inspiring greener choices in morning. This is a story of solving difficult problems through innovation and we want to thank our partners Infosys for their collaboration and commitment to the project. The potential of this app is huge and we are just getting started.”
Infosys Chief Marketing Officer Sumit Virmani said: “The synergy between Infosys and ATP has resulted in a highly actionable innovation that sensitizes the need for energy transition in sports. In recent times, we have witnessed a plethora of digital sustainability platforms enabling organizations to pave the way to net -zero emissions. Together with the ATP, we will strive to make tennis carbon aware as a sport. As we drive towards a hyper-connected economy, it is imperative for us to focus on dynamically driving carbon awareness in an innovative, sustainable and efficient way. “
Margaret Kim, Gold Standard CEO Margaret Kim said: “It is inspiring to see tennis leading the way towards a more sustainable sporting culture. Encouraging players to purchase Gold Standard certified credits means they will directly fund climate change projects that not only reduce carbon emissions but also create many other sustainable development benefits for communities that need it most. We are pleased to have ATP as a Gold Standard climate supporter and look forward to further collaboration on the path to net zero.”