Every individual has the power to make positive decisions on their own impact and influence.

Eliza explains that her impact as an athlete extends to the sponsors she engages with.

Check out the “How to be a Sustainable Champion” to find out other ways you can make a difference.

I got into environmental protection through my studies. I was undertaking an environmental science major and learning about all the things affecting our planet – the soil to the water, to the air – and it made me really look at what I’m doing myself and the individual impact I can have.

Because of my platform I can influence the people who follow me and the people around me to be more sustainable. So a few years ago I started thinking: if I’m serious about this, I need to start aligning with brands and organisations who are doing really great things in the sustainability space.


I feel I have some incredible sponsors that are completely on the same page as me.

Eliza McCartney

Developing purpose-led partnerships

I started very slowly, purposefully aligning with people who I thought were doing really cool things in that space. It has taken a few years to build on that, but now I feel I have some incredible sponsors that are completely on the same page as me.

You can’t change a lot overnight. We all need to earn money, so it has to be very conscious and can be slow moving. But that approach has led to a place now where I feel really pleased with some of the alliances I have.

For example, my relationship with Trees That Count (a conservation charity that aims to plant millions of native trees) started casually, but our relationship has really grown. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a tree-hugger, so I love that there’s a really neat New Zealand company that is all about planting native trees.


As athletes, we spend a lot of time travelling all over the world and can see first-hand some of the issues that we’re facing.

Eliza McCartney

Why you are in a great position to influence

As athletes, we spend a lot of time travelling all over the world and can see first-hand some of the issues that we’re facing. We do have a worldly view and are more susceptible to wanting to make change. On top of that, athletes are experiencing some effects from climate change – extreme heat and also pollution as many stadiums are in big urban centres.

Check out our expert advice on how you can beat the heat while competing.

I feel like I have to do something to influence what I can and also change my own lifestyle, because I really do believe in the power of the individual. I think it’s easy to feel like you can’t make a difference by changing your own behaviour, but I just don’t believe that.

You can be a Sustainability Champion like Eliza, too. Download the guide here to find out how you can get involved.