Sustainability Case Studies

Sustainability Case Studies

IOC Case Studies on IBU´s Sustainability Projects

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) initiated the International Federation (IF) Sustainability Project in 2016 to assess and share information on sustainability efforts. This project resulted in case studies showcasing how IFs are contributing to global sustainability goals, aligning with the IOC's five sustainability focus areas and the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These case studies serve as a strategic support system within the IOC's Sustainability Strategy to promote the Olympic Movement's role in sustainability and its alignment with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Empowering Women in Biathlon

The IBU Female Mentorship Programme (IBUFMP), launched in 2021, exemplifies the International Biathlon Union's (IBU) dedication to gender equality. In partnership with SHESKILLZ GLOBAL, the program aims to break gender barriers in biathlon by mentoring women in management positions and aiding former female athletes' transitions to roles such as coaches and officials. The second edition (2023-2024) builds on the success of the first, which increased female representation on the IBU Executive Board and Technical Committee by 20%. The initiative involves National Federations, the IBU, and SHESKILLZ GLOBAL, striving for at least 30% female representation in decision-making bodies. The program's success relies on IBU's commitment to leadership diversity, equal access opportunities, and a supportive network, underscoring that consistent daily efforts toward gender equality are essential for long-term cultural transformation.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Empowering Women in Biathlon

Decarbonising Fan Mobility

The IBU is dedicated to ensuring its operations are sustainable across environmental, social, and economic dimensions, given biathlon's vulnerability to climate change. At the 2023 IBU Biathlon World Championships in Oberhof, Germany, the IBU implemented innovative measures to reduce carbon emissions, offering free public transport within a 50km radius for ticket holders and a mandatory park & ride service for car arrivals. This initiative, crucial in managing Oberhof's logistical challenges, resulted in 15% of the 150,000 attendees using public transport, significantly reducing traffic and emissions. The IBU's successful collaboration with transport providers showcases a replicable model for sustainable mobility at major sports events, highlighting the importance of strategic planning and cooperative efforts in reducing environmental impacts and promoting climate action.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Decarbonising Fan Mobility

Climate Club Trophy

In partnership with long-term sponsor Viessmann, the IBU launched the Viessmann IBU Climate Club Trophy in January 2023 to recognize biathlon clubs' sustainability efforts. The initiative rewarded clubs with exemplary sustainability practices, with the winning club receiving a EUR 24,000 voucher for climate and energy solutions, determined by athletes' performance in the World Championships. Key examples include the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the USA, which uses solar panels and EV charging stations, Slovakia's Sport Club Biathlon Mania, which employs laser rifles for training, UKS Kamieńczyk in Poland, which engages in reforestation and recycling, and Germany's DAV Ulm, which focuses on roller skiing and energy-efficient infrastructure. This initiative not only honored outstanding sustainability efforts but also encourages and promotes sustainable practices within the biathlon community, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration while sharing best practices and inspiring others to take concrete sustainability actions.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Climate Club Trophy

Biathlon Climate Challenge

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) is committed to addressing climate change and sustainability on three fronts: environmental, social, and economic. Through its Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030, the IBU focuses on five key areas: Climate, Sport, People, Venue & Event, and Awareness & Communication. The IBU is a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and the Race to Zero campaign, aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. They have undertaken actions such as electrifying their corporate fleet, implementing sustainable travel policies, and launching the Biathlon Climate Challenge (BCC) to engage stakeholders in climate action. The BCC encourages fans to join teams led by biathlon athletes, track their exercise, and convert their physical activity into contributions to reforestation projects. This initiative aims to raise awareness about individual contributions to climate action and inspire fans to make positive environmental impacts through physical activity. Additionally, the IBU seeks to set an example for other sports organizations and event organizers in adopting climate-friendly practices.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Biathlon Climate Challenge

IBU making its digital ecosystem more sustainable

The carbon emissions generated by digital services, including streaming and data processing, are a growing concern, contributing to 1.4% - 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The IBU, in partnership with digital ecosystem developer Vincit, calculated that its digital ecosystem, encompassing its mobile app, website, data center, and streaming services, produced an estimated 88 tons of CO2 during the 2021/2022 winter season. To address this impact, the IBU purchased offsets from the UN Carbon Offset Platform, aiming to make its digital ecosystem climate-neutral. Moving forward, the IBU plans to collaborate with partners to reduce data transfer and processing, transition to renewable energy sources, and engage with the digital supply chain to enhance energy efficiency and reduce emissions. The IBU encourages both sports organizations and fans to take actions like using Wi-Fi or LAN instead of mobile data, powering devices with renewable energy, prolonging device lifespan, and proper recycling to reduce their digital carbon footprint and contribute to climate action. This initiative aims to inspire other organizations to adopt similar practices and reduce their digital carbon emissions.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Sustainable Ecosystem

IBU sustainability strategy

IBU's sustainability strategy focuses on five key areas: climate, venue & event, sport, people, and communication & awareness. Among its objectives are reducing the organization's carbon footprint, ensuring positive community impacts, promoting gender equality, and advocating for climate action and sustainable development. By engaging both internal and external participants in the strategy development process, the IBU seeks to align its vision and enhance long-term stakeholder buy-in while allowing flexibility for individual member National Federations to tailor sustainability efforts to their specific contexts. This comprehensive strategy aims to guide the sport of biathlon towards greater sustainability and environmental neutrality while promoting active participation and advocacy for climate action.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Sustainability Strategy

Carbon Fibre Cicular Alliance

The Carbon Fibre Circular Demonstration Project, led by the World Sailing Trust and supported by the International Biathlon Union (IBU), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), seeks to address the challenge of end-of-life carbon fibre from sporting goods. Carbon fibre is widely used in sports equipment, but its lack of a sustainable end-of-life solution results in 95% of it ending up in landfills. The project, involving aerospace, automotive, wind turbine industries, and sports, is developing a disruptive process to realign carbon fibres into tapes using Aligned Formable Fibre Technology (AFFT). Early results have shown the potential for even better quality than virgin fibre, and prototypes, including a tennis racket and ski, with 50% recycled carbon fibre, have been successfully tested. The project aims to significantly reduce waste from sports equipment, promote carbon circularity, and inspire sustainability in the sports and commercial sectors.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Carbon Fibre Circular Alliance

Viessmann IBU Climate Club Trophy

Viessmann and IBU joined forces to create the Viessmann IBU Climate Club Trophy to honor outstanding sustainability initiatives implemented by biathlon clubs worldwide. The IBU reached out to the Biathlon Family to identify current sustainable practices. Based on the multiple submissions received, the work of four Biathlon Clubs was explored in detailed case studies to promote their sustainable engagement and share any lessons learned. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont, USA, Sports Club Biathlon Mania in Slovakia, UKS Kamieńczyk in Poland, and Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) Ulm in Germany all provided insight into their engagement for a more sustainable future.

Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC)

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC) in Vermont is a non-profit organization with a mission to support lifelong sports participation, teach sustainable practices, and protect the surrounding land, lake, and trails. COC aims to be a model for sustainability, conservation, education, and stewardship in its community by minimizing ecological impact, conserving energy, and raising awareness through various initiatives. To achieve its goal, COC uses solar panels, sustainable heating systems, EV charging stations, and promotes sustainability through educational programs. However, the organization faces challenges due to climate change, requiring innovative snow solutions, and aims to transition to more energy-efficient systems for transportation and grooming. Future plans include installing more solar panels, transitioning vehicles to electric ones, retrofitting buildings, and expanding sustainability-related programming and outreach.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Sports Club Biathlon Mania

Sport Club Biathlon Mania, located in Slovakia near Banská Bystrica, stands out for its innovative approach to developing young athletes aged 6 to 15. Founded by former elite biathlete Dušan Šimočko, the club uses laser rifles to teach shooting skills, resulting in reduced ecological impact and significant cost savings. The club's main initiatives besides the laser rifles for training, are using a 15-seater bus for transportation, and creating hand-made medals from old air rifle cartridges. The club's success has led to plans for expanding its age range, and a group of volunteers is exploring fundraising initiatives to enable older children to remain part of the club.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Sport Club Biathlon Mania

UKS Kamieńczyk

The School Children Sport Club Kamienczyk (UKS Kamieńczyk) in partnership with the Karkonoski National Park and National Forestry is committed to fighting for a better tomorrow through sustainability initiatives. Emphasizing education and collaboration with its young members aged 7-15, the club aims to create lasting habits and inspire others to embrace sustainability. Addressing various IBU sustainability issues, the club participates in reforestation and clean-up actions, recycles lead ammunition shells, promotes sustainable food practices, and focuses on waste reduction, separation, and recycling. Initiatives like the Active Giving app and banning single-use plastics demonstrate its dedication to raising awareness and engaging members in eco-friendly practices.

To read the full case study see: Case Study UKS Kamieńczyk


DAV Ulm´s goal is to pursue measures that are environmentally friendly, economically sound, and beneficial for the sport. Faced with snowless winters due to climate change, DAV Ulm has focused on roller skiing and invested in its biathlon training center, growing its youth talent pool. To mitigate its own climate impact, the club has an operational sustainability strategy including water harvesting for snowmaking, lead bullet collection, energy-efficient buildings with air source heat pumps and a planned photovoltaic system as well as bus-sharing with partners to reduce emissions from travel. The club's emphasis on sustainability, roller skiing courses, and elite talent development has contributed to increased membership and grassroots participation in the region.

To read the full case study see: Case Study DAV Ulm

Organising Committee (OC) Award for Excellence in Sustainability 2022

In 2022 the IBU established a new annual award, to promote impactful and replicable sustainability and climate actions implemented successfully by the IBU event hosts. Its goal is to highlight the organising committees’ contributions to the aims of the IBU Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030, across the five different Focus Areas: Climate, Sport, Venue & Event, People, and Communication & Awareness. The award is divided into the categories of World Cup and IBU Junior Cup. The Organising Committees Arber in Germany, Hochfilzen in Austria, Kontiolahti in Finland, Martell in Itlay, Östersund in Sweden, and Ruhpolding in Germany participated with the following initiatives in 2022.

Arber, Germany

The goal of the project was to demonstrate sustainability and regionality in organizing major sporting events with no or low additional financial input. As a certified "Fair Trade district," the district of Regen/Arberland aimed to showcase how major events like the IBU Open European Biathlon Championships (OECH) 2022 at Arber could be held in harmony with the environment. The approach focused on environmental management, transparency, long-term structures, regional value creation, and public awareness of sustainability. It was achieved by implementing a holistic sustainability strategy, including regional food procurement, engaging local volunteers, exclusive partnerships with regional sponsors, using e-cars for VIP shuttle service, sustainable uniforms, rainwater usage, bamboo cups, regional catering, and reducing plastic usage. The next steps involve installing an e-charging station at the Hohenzollern Ski Stadium to promote sustainable mobility for athletes, coaches, spectators, and visitors.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Arber

Hochfilzen, Austria

The OC Hochfilzen further developed the sustainability credentials of the Biathlon World Cup in Hochfilzen, building upon a successful and long-standing user agreement with the local club, Austrian Ski Federation, and Austrian Military. They aimed to enhance the event's sustainability by implementing various initiatives, including a sustainable heating system, waste separation, reduction of plastic and paper usage, climate-neutral transport options, and the use of regional products. Challenges faced included obtaining authorization for electric vehicle charging stations within a military area and encouraging all visitors to use climate-neutral shuttle services. As the next steps the OC plans on increasing partnerships with climate-neutral producers and suppliers, incorporating more organic and vegetarian products in catering, installing electric charging stations, and intensifying efforts to promote climate-neutral transport options.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Hochfilzen

Kontiolahti, Finland

The OC Kontiolahti organized its events and operations in a sustainable manner, addressing environmental issues, promoting accessibility and inclusion, creating a tolerant atmosphere, and prioritizing safety. They established the Responsible Kontiolahti program, focusing on three elements: Environmental Sustainability, Inclusion and Accessibility, and Safety. They received an audited EcoCompass certificate for their environmental program and efforts were made to improve accessibility for physically impaired individuals and attract new audiences to the event. They offered specific services for disabled people, free entrance for children under 12, and free tickets for low-income families. The program was developed in collaboration with local, regional, national, and transnational partners. Developing the project further Kontiolahti wants to increase data collection for better tracking, update heaters to use renewable energy sources, and conduct more social inclusion projects, like engaging with Ukrainian refugees living in Kontiolahti.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Kontiolahti

Martell, Italy

The OC Martell aimed to make the Biathlon Martell and other events at the Grogg stadium more sustainable, inspired by the quote "Considering the end in everything you do, that is Sustainability" by Albert Schweitzer. They sought GreenEvent certification to maintain the natural beauty of the Stelvio National Park in the Val Martello Valley. The goal was achieved by identifying areas of impact and implementing measures to meet the GreenEvent certification criteria. OC Martell minimized exhaust emissions and CO2 emissions by incentivizing local accommodations and providing a free shuttle service for teams. They communicated sustainability initiatives to volunteers and staff, addressed accessibility for disabled people, saved energy in snow production, purchased regional and Fair Trade products for catering, implemented waste separation measures, and reduced plastic waste by using recyclable materials. They aim to make sustainability more relatable and see it as an important and sustainable investment.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Martell

Östersund, Sweden

The OC Östersund aimed to achieve a "fossil fuel free" Biathlon World Cup in Östersund, driven by the realization that winters were becoming wetter and shorter, posing future challenges. They collaborated with the regional government and local municipality, adopting the ISO 20121 sustainability event management system to devise sustainability strategies for the event. By implementing various initiatives to reduce emissions from international travel, energy usage, and waste production, they transparently communicated their efforts, successfully calculating a carbon footprint and addressing issues related to travel and transport emissions, energy use, sustainability communication, water and energy use for snowmaking, and waste production. However, the main challenges lied in managing international transport and waste separation, prompting the next steps to include installing waste separation racks in team areas and exploring partnerships for electric shuttle fleets, further enhancing their commitment to sustainability.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Östersund

Ruhpolding, Germany

The goal of the Ruhpolding World Cup was to replace diesel generators with a battery system, storing renewable energy from the grid to provide an eco-friendly backup for power supply during TV broadcasting and floodlighting at the Chiemgau Arena, located in a nature reserve. The Big Battery Box, a transportable 20-foot container with lithium-ion batteries, achieved this by utilizing green electricity from photovoltaic, wind power, and a small hydropower plant, resulting in a CO2 emission reduction of approximately 32 tonnes. The initiative successfully addressed the sustainability issue of emissions from energy use for heating, cooling, and power. Coordination was a significant challenge in implementing this innovative technology, but the Ruhpolding OC aims to continue improving the system by developing the stadium's cable infrastructure to accommodate future developments.

To read the full case study see: Case Study Ruhpolding