Is The Future of Esports “Going Green”?

16 August. 2022

FlyQuest, a US-based esports organisation, started preparing a significant change in the team’s identity in late 2019. 

The organisation would need to drastically alter its aim to capture the interest of the media and fans given that it lacks the financial resources typically needed to constantly compete for the top slot in Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). 

The Go Green Initiative is FlyQuest’s response. It was the first big instance of an organisation recognising that, although not even coming close to the emissions of physical sports, the esports business should do more to benefit the environment. 

The organization’s COO at the time, Michael Choi, the company’s CEO, indicated that the big idea was to position FlyQuest as a sustainability champion. 

The project started with TreeQuest, which involved planting trees each time specific things happened in the team’s LCS games. 

We were planning to go out and physically plant these trees. Bring in supporters, host events, and make it entertaining… Bring the teams, communities, and individuals involved in esports together. 

FlyQuest’s intentions would eventually be derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Bee Quest and SeaQuest have carried on the Go Green programme, including a graphic re-brand in May 2021. 

When compared to more damaging traditional sports, esports are thought to be more sustainable. According to Formula 1, it emits 256,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. FIFA asserts that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will generate 3.6 million tonnes of waste, which is more than other nations generate in a year. 

However, esports aren’t flawless. According to estimates from the BBC, our digital world as a whole—devices, servers, and infrastructure—accounts for 3.7% of all emissions. 

Another set of problems. Teams rely heavily on merchandise sales as a source of income, but polyester, the material of choice for most team jerseys, is non-biodegradable and contributes millions of tonnes of microplastic pollution annually. 

The industry backers are the last group. Esports are becoming a more popular choice for organisations with spotty reputations to boost their standing. Consider the fact that the esports event Gamers8 was held in Saudi Arabia or the CS:GO team forZe, which has been supported for four years by the Russian oil tycoon Lukoil.