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World Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong looks to sustainability in 44th year of competition

World Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong looks to sustainability in 44th year of competition
April 5, 2019

The World Rugby Sevens Series returns to Hong Kong Stadium this weekend for its 44th year, featuring the world’s largest congregation of rugby unions in 2019, with 40 teams from 34 countries competing.

Being held from 5th to 7th April, more than 120,000 fans -– half of those travelling from outside Hong Kong- are expected to gather for the seventh leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Seen as “the jewel in the crown” of sporting events across Asia, the fast paced and deeply loved festival of sport places a series of environmental challenges for its organisers.

Robbie McRobbie, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU), acknowledges how the organisation is paying more attention to the sustainability of the event.

Speaking to Laureus Sport for Good, McRobbie explained “five years ago the HKRU first dipped our toe in the water with an initiative to try and reduce the environmental impact.

“With the support of the (Hong Kong) Government’s Environment Bureau and the management of the national stadium, we’re able to start introducing measures such as food recycling, improving plastic recycling rates and using upcycled materials for things like medals.”

The HKRU’s efforts have since helped the Hong Kong Government create a Green Management Event Guide, which was published last year.

In 2019, though, the HKRU is going one step further, investing in reusable cups for fans’ beverage purchases. Fans will pay a deposit and can either reclaim it on return, or drop the cup in a collection bin without reclaiming their deposit, in which case all funds raised will be used to support HKRU’s sport for development initiatives throughout the city, including deaf, prison and special needs rugby.

McRobbie explains “the initiative should save over 200,000 single-use plastic cups every year (and) given the current limitations of Hong Kong’s recycling industry (with) landfills that are rapidly reaching capacity, that is a not insignificant impact.”

The Hong Kong Sevens will also see a city wide program of events and festivities featuring an exclusive performance by GRAMMY® Award-winning Gwen Stefani.

Images: Hong Kong Sevens competitors tak the field at the Hong Kong Stadium (top), fans at the event (middle) and Gwen Stefani is part of the Sevens entertainment this year (below).

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5th March 2019 - ‘Sea of plastic’ fills Wellington’s Westpac Stadium after Eminem concert

10th January 2019 - Plans announced for major reduction in capacity for Hong Kong Stadium

28th December 2018 - Hong Kong Government awards contract for Kai Tak Sports Park development

29th August 2018 - Business of Sport Network to present seminar on the Future of Sporting Events in Hong Kong

23rd August 2018 - Mindful of competition Hong Kong needs new Kai Tak stadium

15th November 2017 - Hong Kong Rugby Sevens assures fans that tickets are safe to purchase through Viagogo

18th April 2017 - Rugby fails to draw crowds to Singapore National Stadium

11th April 2017 - Hong Kong Sevens continues as the pinnacle of the Sevens World Series

21st March 2015 - Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tickets in high demand

12th March 2015 - Sydney secures long term deal for rugby sevens world series

4th July 2014 - Hong Kong needs new attractions and venues

2nd October 2013 - Rugby Union says Hong Kong Stadium needs 10,000 more seats to stay competitive

28th September 2009 - Asia launches Rugby Sevens Series

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