Sustainability efforts championed by IOC and Olympic partner DOW

One of the great pleasures of being involved with The DAIMANI Journal is that it gives all of us the ability to take a sideways look at how our industry is operating in various areas that, perhaps, have not had so much of a spotlight thrown over them before.

A particular cause close to our hearts is sustainability. This year our coverage has ranged from highlighting the Noventi Open, where the title sponsor compensated for the tournament’s 13,600 tonnes of waste by supporting a water project in Brazil  to a walk-through the sustainability goals and achievements of Australia’s most famous sports venue.

Now comes the excellent news that 20 organisations within the Olympic Movement - fifteen International Sports Federations (IFs) and five National Olympic Committees (NOCs) -  have been recognised in this year’s Carbon Action Awards of the IOC and DOW, a global initiative which is aimed at recognising and accelerating effective climate action in sport.

The winning organisations are:

NOCs: The Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC), Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), British Olympic Association (BOA), Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) and Swiss Olympic Association (SUI);

Olympic IFs: The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), World Rowing (FISA), International Biathlon Union (IBU), International Golf Federation (IGF), International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), International Skating Union (ISU), World Triathlon (ITU), Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), World Archery (WA), World Rugby (WR) and World Sailing (WS);

And the following IFs were also recognised: The International Floorball Federation (IFF) and Fédération Internationale de Sambo (FIAS).

The winners were announced last week at the sixth IOC Sustainability Session, which took place virtually as part of the annual IF Forum.

Last year the IOC and worldwide Olympic Partner Dow launched the Carbon Action Award to reward and accelerate the Olympic Movement’s efforts to address climate change. This year 2020 fifteen International Sports Federations and five National Olympic Committees received the award and this report asks why sustainability is important to them.

Some of the specific initiatives that were highlighted by the IOC include:

  • The Canadian NOC, jointly with its partners, has donated food and beverages for the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to a local foodbank, to be further distributed among 253 community organisations.
  • The Spanish NOC is committed to using 100 per cent renewable energy and 100 per cent hybrid mobility.
  • World Sailing is working with Paris 2024 to accelerate the adoption of non-combustion engines in the marine industry.
  • FIBA has committed to creating guidelines for the sustainable construction of new basketball arenas.
  • The IBU has committed to reducing its annual carbon footprint by 45 per cent by 2030.
  • World Archery plans to reduce its water consumption by 50 per cent through the use of water motion sensors.

‘Climate change continues to be a global challenge of unprecedented proportions for all humankind, and it requires an unprecedented response from all of us,’ said IOC President Thomas Bach addressing the participants of the Forum in a video message.

‘As an organisation dedicated to making the world a better place through sport, the IOC wants to ensure that the Olympic community contributes to the global efforts to address climate change. This commitment to climate action is a remarkable illustration of how everyone of us in sport, whether a National Olympic Committee or an International Sports Federation, can make a meaningful contribution to reduce our carbon footprint.’

The IOC and Dow collaborated on this joint initiative to reward carbon offsets to those IFs and NOCs that have demonstrably reduced their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the scope of their organisations and respective events.

‘Sport has huge power to incite action globally, and this initiative has created a successful platform to educate, inspire and boost efforts aimed at tackling climate change,’ said Mike Reed, Vice-President of Olympic & Sports Solutions for Dow. ‘Teamwork is key in sport, and if we are to truly address climate change, reduce carbon emissions and go beyond offsetting, we need effective partnerships. We feel this award and our collaboration with the IOC is demonstration of applying the power of sport and teamwork with and across the Olympic Movement to make an impact and create a positive legacy.’

Launched in 2019, the Awards – which form part of the IOC-DOW Carbon Partnership – were created to inspire further climate action by recognising the sustainability efforts of key sports organisations within the Olympic Movement.

For those who want to read even more about the Olympics and responsibility to the environment, this video explains the extent to which the new Olympics headquarters in Lausanne has been constructed with sustainability in mind.

So much so the new headquarters of the IOC received three of the most rigorous sustainable building certifications including LEED Platinum, the highest certification level of the international LEED green building programme. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organisation that developed LEED, Olympic House has received the most points (93) of any LEED v4-certified new construction project to date.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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