Belgium have off-set their carbon footprint ahead of Rio 2016 Photo: FIH/Getty

Belgium's Red Lions combat climate change for Rio 2016

July 25, 2016
Courtesy of the Royal Belgian Hockey Association

The Royal Belgian Hockey Association (RBHA) and their men's national team - the Belgian Red Lions, decided to balance the greenhouse gas emission caused by their trip to the Rio Olympics by planting 33,000 trees in Madagascar.

Taking inspiration from a Native American proverb which says: "We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children" the organisation acted upon its desire to reduce its carbon footprint.

As a result, the RBHA decided to balance the greenhouse gas emissions caused by their men's team's travel to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Through a partnership with Seed for Life (an Non-Government Organisation involved in, among other things, Madagascar’s reforestation), the organisation's CO2 Strategy calculated that the trip to Rio de Janeiro for the 35 person delegation (players, staff and officials) generated 4584 kg of carbon dioxide per person (including the plane trip, the trips on-site and the hotel stay).

Planting one tree in Madagascar can approximately compensate 5 kg of CO2 emission. Thus, for each RBHA CO2 emitter, about 917 trees must be planted to even the emissions caused by the Belgian Hockey trip to Rio.

A tree planted by Seed for Life in Madagascar costs about €0.15 therefore the RBHA decided to give €5,000 to this Organisation to plant these trees.

Marc Coudron, President of the RBHA and FIH Executive Board Member, said: "We know that the environmental impact of our sport cannot be overlooked. Hence, we hope this strong symbolic act will lead to other similar actions within the Belgian field hockey scope and further. Moreover, it can be seen as a first victory for our Red Lions in Rio!"

This act is very much in line with Olympic Agenda 2020's recommendations to improve sustainability in relation to the environmental impact of the Olympic movement. For more information about Olympic Agenda 2020, click here

About Seed for Life
Seed for Life is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) created as a Belgian and Luxembourgish non-profit-making organisation that pursues the goal of offsetting the ecological footprint of the people of their industrialised countries by planting trees in developing countries.

In order to monitor the development and reforestation, they created a nursery in each of the planting sites and are training a local nursery to manage it. Via local authorities and schools, we develop a programme of public education to environmental protection. To achieve these objectives, all of our members are committed to volunteer to ensure that all funds entrusted to them are fully and directly in the management of our nurseries and tree planting.

They pay the growers and workers involved in the planting of trees and thereby we contribute to improving the lives of people living in areas of reforestation.

For more information on the organisation, visit:

For more information about hockey in Belgium, click here.

Follow all the action in Rio by visiting and using the hashtags #Hockey #Rio2016 and #SambaSticks.



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