Rugby World Cup 2021 aiming to leave behind a sustainable legacy

World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby have been working together to ensure that RWC 2021 adopts a proactive and responsible approach to sustainability.

Rugby World Cup 2021 got off to a memorable start earlier this month with a record attendance for a standalone women rugby event at Eden Park but long before kick-off, work was already underway to ensure the tournament leaves a sustainable legacy in New Zealand and Oceania.

New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby have worked together in the lead-up to RWC 2021, adopting a proactive and responsible approach to sustainability through a range of initiatives and tournament firsts.

It is hoped that doing so will help the showpiece tournament create a positive impact for local communities, businesses and crucially, the environment.

A sustainability action plan for RWC 2021 has been developed, which aligns with World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030 and aims to support and include all members of society, promote positive climate action and drive carbon reduction.

For the first time in tournament history, data relating to carbon emissions will be captured across a range of operations, including team, staff, match official and broadcast logistics, match venue operations, the RWC 2021 Trophy Tour and the World Rugby International Women in Rugby Summit.

Meanwhile, a number of actions have already been implemented that complement the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support social inclusion and environmental action. These include all-digital ticketing, free water at match venues, post-tournament donations of RWC 2021 equipment, free public transport in Auckland for ticket holders and the promotion of sustainable mobility through fan trials in match cities.

Fans who are travelling to the tournament on New Zealand’s North Island and those watching on remotely can show their support by estimating and offsetting their own carbon footprint using the United Nations carbon footprint calculator.

Those attending matches in Auckland and Whangārei, meanwhile, can follow the simple steps outlined on the tournament’s Sustainability page to reduce, replace, reuse, rethink and recycle.

ChildFund Rugby

Following a hugely successful partnership for RWC 2019, ChildFund was appointed as the first ever charity partner for the women’s edition of Rugby World Cup.

More than £2 million was pledged by rugby fans around the globe during RWC 2019, which has given in excess of 45,000 children from disadvantaged communities in Asia the opportunity to play, learn and lead through ChildFund’s rugby for good programmes.

ChildFund, through its rugby for development unit, ChildFund Rugby, is currently working with Oceania Rugby to provide vulnerable women and girls with the opportunities to learn new life skills to overcome challenges and become active leaders in their communities.

Funds raised through RWC 2021 ticket sales and donations will be used to support a number of ChildFund Rugby initiatives in New Zealand and Oceania. To make a donation, visit

These programmes will help to equip children and young people to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and take active leadership roles within their communities, increase participation of girls and young women, create safe playing environments and support the creation of strong, productive and collaborative women’s networks across the globe.

Building and strengthening effective pathways for female involvement in the game will also be at the forefront at the World Rugby International Women in Rugby Summit.

At the end of August, World Rugby and the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport launched a call to action encouraging global sports leaders to get behind the gender equality in sport movement.

The eighth IWG World Conference on Women & Sport will take place in Auckland between 14-17 November, beginning two days after the RWC 2021 final, and World Rugby has committed to sending a delegation of female leaders to the event from diverse backgrounds across the globe while New Zealand Rugby will also be sending a delegation of female leaders from within the country.

For more information on rugby and sustainability, visit

Last updated: Oct 24, 2022, 8:42:53 AM
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