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Gymnastics Ireland: A Case Study

By: Sabrina Clarke

· Sustainability

Gymnastics Ireland: A Case Study- where Gymnastics, Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) and Economic Sustainability meet.

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You may have seen the viral video of the beautiful young Black girl who was skipped over and did not get a medal at a gymnastics tournament. The Gymnastics Ireland debacle is a perfect case study of where Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) and Economic Sustainability meet. My focus is to look at the Social Governance and Economic sustainability issues at play.

ESG is a set of standards used by investors to screen company behaviours. Gymnastics Ireland (GI) is a public governing body limited by guarantee. How do the two connect, and what does this have to do with Simone Biles? Remember, these issues can be complex; you must follow the value chain.

Let's briefly explore.

GI have the 'G' Board Diversity and structure, two men and two women and a donations structure. The 'S' in this situation is their safeguarding policy, which says, "We have always recognised the duty of care we have for a membership base that starts with young children and is predominately children & teenagers." 👀 So what is the problem?

1. Health and Safety is a social governance standard in ESG. In my opinion, the Health and Safety of that child were not protected, and GI had no standard, policy or practice in place to resolve the health and safety issues concerning this child. How do I know that? The situation went to mediation. What exactly is there to mediate about the Health and Safety of a child?

2. Let's look at the Economic issues. First, GIs apology was a strategy to keep their commercial model intact. Otherwise, the apology would have been when the incident occurred, in my opinion. Second, GIs formation permits sponsors and to sell. When Simone Biles uses her platform to speak for the child, brands must answer, do we want to miss sponsorship opportunities and to be associated with an organisation that does not provide a duty of care to children (Balenciaga)? Lastly, Kit Sponsorship is massive; economic sustainability is profitability for the company and the supply chain, from manufacturers to designers and brands. This issue, if not resolved correctly, impacts everyone.

There are several ESG and Economic sustainability lessons that organisations can learn from this debacle. To keep it simple, do the right thing before the right thing is done for you.

I'm launching Build Global Updates, where I will share thought leadership and insights that challenge the status and forecast the future of crucial Social and Economic Sustainability issues.

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