The event entitled "Environmental sustainability in sport" was organised by the EP Sports Group and led by its Chair MEP Tomasz Frankowski of Poland, and co-Vice Chairs MEP Tiziana Beghin of Italy, and MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel of Germany, who moderated the discussions. Nicole Mündelein, Coordinator, Host City Working Group Sustainability for UEFA EURO 2024, and Federico Addiechi, Head of Sustainability at FIFA, also took part in the panel discussion.
During the discussion, the IBU acknowledged that it is directly impacted by climate change and has worked diligently to become one of the leading international sports federations in addressing the challenges posed by the climate crisis and using its platform to increase awareness and promote concrete climate action. As a signatory to the Sports for Climate Action Framework and the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, the IBU is committed to reducing its climate impact by 50% and becoming climate neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2040.
The IBU discussed the systematic work with individual event hosts to implement climate measures fit to their regional circumstances to reduce its environmental impact mainly caused by the flagship events such as the World Championships and the IBU World Cup series. It highlighted the need for more effective public transport solutions across Europe to reduce the environmental impact of travel and transport which is the main impact of all sports events.
The IBU also stressed its systematised work in the field of snow management, snow being the key ingredient for successful biathlon competitions and training, let alone being the lifeline for the livelihood of thousands of European communities dependent on snow sports tourism. The IBU has placed great emphasis on developing best practices and educating its event organising committees on the importance of minimising the use of resources such as water and energy and ensuring the snow management process is as environmentally and climate-friendly as possible. Thanks to the support of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, the IBU has recently launched a 30-month project known as SIEPPUR which is focused on enhancing knowledge and developing new solutions for sustainable snow management for Nordic snow sports (www.sustainablesnow.sport).
The IBU further highlighted its decision to ban all fluorocarbon waxes starting with the 2023/2024 ski season, which goes over and beyond the EU’s current legislation that only addressed the C8 fluorocarbons/PFOA. The ban aims to reduce risks to human health and the environment coming from chemicals found in fluorocarbon products used in ski preparation.
Going forward, the IBU indicated that it looks forward to working with the European institutions and all its stakeholders, including TV broadcasters, sponsors, and the ski industry to find even more effective solutions to the sustainability challenges that all sports face.