The winners of the IBU Organising Committee (OC) Award for Excellence in Sustainability 2023 are the OCs from Oberhof, Germany for the World Cup, and from Martell, Italy, for the IBU Cup / Junior Cup category.

Both winning OCs received their sustainable Award trophies along with the winners’ cheques for €10’000 and €5’000, respectively, during the IBU OC Meeting in Prague on 24 June.

This annual award, now in its second year, was established by the IBU to promote impactful and replicable sustainability and climate actions implemented successfully by 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.

In addition to the winners in each category, other notable entries came from Östersund, Sweden; Hochfilzen, Austria; Shchuchinsk, Kazakhstan; and Madona, Latvia. The entries were assessed by an external panel of five judges, consisting of a mixture of IBU Athlete Ambassadors and sustainability experts from the world of sport. Each of the judges went through the same process: individually scoring all applications in terms of their quality across the five award criteria, and then meeting together online to reach a consensus on contestable results.

Commenting on the ambitious and innovative entries among this year’s award submissions, IBU President Olle Dahlin said:

“It’s hugely inspiring to see the effort and commitment across the biathlon family to address climate change and other sustainability issues of our time. I am extremely proud of our Organising Committees that are forging ahead to find workable solutions to these challenges. By using the resources available to them in their given environment, they are demonstrating the benefits to their communities, and the wider biathlon and sport movement. My congratulations to Oberhof and Martell for their awards.”

The first and second place in the IBU World Cup category were very close, with the jury finding very little to separate the projects of Oberhof and Östersund. The Swedish OC was praised for its attention to detail, providing concise facts for mobility and carbon footprint. Finally, however, in a decision that reflected the overall points scoring in this category, the jury came to an agreement that the Oberhof project constituted greater impact and replicability. The jury referenced Oberhof’s initiatives that saw it combine free public transport with the event ticket, and its use of HVO fuel to operate snow management machines for snow preparation and maintenance.

In the IBU Cup / Junior Cup category, Martell’s resourceful use of its natural surroundings to power the entire event with green energy inspired the jury to confirm first place to the Italian OC. Judges were also impressed by the fact that unused energy from the new hydro plant and not needed at the venue flowed into the public grid and that the OC intended to make use of the prize money to go towards a planned project that would see solar panels fixed onto the roof its service building.

The OCs of Hochfilzen and Shchuchinsk were both commended for the depth of sustainability work undertaken, from procuring regional products to reduce needs for transportation and benefit the local economy, to the implementation of a food waste policy. OC Madona was also complemented on its efforts to avoid and reduce waste build-up at the event.

The IBU Sustainability Award will continue next year with the application process for new projects covering the 2022/2023 season, with the application deadline at the end of April 2024.

Photos: OC NMNM/Tomas Hermann

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