Interview with Matthew Campelli, “The Sustainability Report”

How would you describe your work in a few sentences?

I suppose the easiest way to describe my work, is to say that I help sports organizations to become more sustainable, and help communicate their positive, social and environmental impact to their various stakeholders: fans, sponsors, or basically anyone involved in sports – which is numerous companies. So, I set of my company called “The Sustainability Report”, which is an online platform where we write news stories, interviews, case studies, and analysis about good practice when it comes to sport and sustainability. So we look at – for example – what the International Olympic Committee is doing, the UEFA or other major sports organizations who are doing good work in that area.

That sounds very interesting, How did it all start?

In my previous job in the U.K. I was the editor of a sports magazine, and I was writing about funding for sports, elite sports, olympic sports, and also grassroots sport and how they get their funding. But I was losing a bit of my passion for sport by the time, because, I was writing about “we try to win this many medals” or “we want people to participate in sports” for participation sake, but there was no other goal really. It was always success for success sake and participation for participation sake.

And when you look at sport, it’s such a powerful tool for social integration and environmental conservation. It wasn’t doing much of that, it was more about the success and the participation, and I was becoming very disillusioned with sports because of that. But then I interviewed a guy in the UK, who worked for a cricket ground in London as a sustainability director. And he was telling me all about the wonderful things they were doing with renewable energy and waste management, and communicating with fans about being more sustainable in their home lives. Then I thought, this is exactly what sport should be doing, this is sport using its power to influence people and influence things around it.

So I did some more research and found that there is a small group of dedicated individuals in Europe, in the U.S., and in Australia/Asia who construe on this topic, and I spoke to them and asked them if there was a need of this kind of platform and they said there is a big need for this platform. So, yeah, this is how it got set up.

And how come you live in Austria?

(laughs) Ah, nothing to do with work life really. Move for lifestyle – I am British but I am from Italian origin. My father was Italian, my wife is Hungarian and we wanted to be closer to some of her family. Because my son’s only two surviving grandparents live in Hungary, so we

wanted to be closer to her family. But we thought pretty of lifestyle, we were reading about Vienna and Austria and found it was a very good place to live and raise children, so we decided to come and live here. This happened a year after the Brexit vote as well, which made it a bit easier for us to make a decision, and we enjoy the lifestyle here. It’s a nice balance between work and life.

What are the challenges in your work- life, work environment, profession?

Travelling of course – especially for the family life, but for the work life, it is definitely trying to convince big sports organizations that sustainability is good for business. They understand that doing the right thing is doing the right thing, and being more sustainable is good. But there is a very big business case for sustainability in all industries and getting them to understand that is a big challenge. But it is becoming more and more visible.

How did you find the BCE?

I’ve been looking for a long time to move to a Coworking Space, because I work from home and it can be very lonely sometimes and it is nice to be in an office. Then I did some research and I liked the philosophy of the BCE, I like the fact that you have events, your Mastermind group, it seems to be very collaborative and there is a good bunch of companies here – it’s quite international here, so I thought I was a good fit.

Being here for three weeks how do you experience the BCE?

Yes it is very nice and quiet – you can get work done. There are not many distractions, but you can still say “hi” to people and have that balance of quiet work time, but also the chance for social interaction at appropriate times.

Is there something you are missing here in the BCE?

So far, everything has been perfect. Maybe I come up with something in a few months and I will let you know.

Would you recommend the BCE to others with the same profession?

Absolutely! However, I do not know a lot of self-employed people here, but I would definitely recommend it to people.

And how would you (personally) describe the BCE in just a few words?

Quiet to focus on work, but also allowing social interaction… and a bright, nice place.