IBU reiterates commitment to tangible climate action ahead of 2023/2024 season

The IBU reinforced its commitment to delivering impactful climate initiatives as it continues to advance the implementation of its Sustainability Strategy and work to reduce the sport’s climate impact by 50% in alignment with the Paris Agreement by 2030.

As one of the first sports organisations to join the global UN Race to Zero, the IBU has committed to upholding the highest sustainability standards in sport and becoming net zero by 2040.

With the biathlon 2023/2024 season just a month away, the IBU is working with National Federations and Organising Committees to track and reduce the sport’s carbon footprint and minimise the impact of its events.

Since the 2021/2022 season, all event hosts are obliged to track and report their CO2 emissions through the IBU tracking tool. Recognising that effectively managing a sport’s carbon footprint requires understanding of all its dimensions, the emissions from the events will be combined with those generated by the IBU as an organisation. The tracking of the IBU’s emissions, which is published each year, has allowed the federation to take concrete steps so that the CO2 emissions per employee decreased by 32 tonnes from 2020 until 2022.

Looking ahead, the IBU is committed to integrating climate considerations into the review of the formats and calendars of future seasons. Sustainability concepts must be developed for each event organiser applying to host in the 2026-2030 cycle and a third-party certification requirement for event sustainability management will apply to the World Championships from 2027 onwards.

The upcoming season will also mark the crucial next phase of the 30-month SIEPPUR sustainable snow management project – an IBU-led consortium of snow experts from leading institutions, such as the Swiss WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF and Peak63 of Sweden, along with three IBU National Federations – which was launched in December 2022 and is co-funded by the European Union Erasmus+ programme. During the season the SIEPPUR project will focus on high-quality data gathering to complete the current state and gap analysis of snow management processes and definition of best-in-class practices. Working with the pioneering IBU Snow Network, the aim is to share best practices and enhance the accessibility and resource efficiency of sustainable snow-making practices at all venues.

IBU Head of Sustainability Riikka Rakic said:

“Since the launch of the IBU Sustainability Strategy, the IBU has made significant progress in implementing meaningful initiatives and projects which have reduced our sport’s carbon footprint and minimised its impact on the environment. However, we still have much more to do and remain committed to honouring the ambitious sustainability promises, not through words but through action. We cannot do it alone and we will continue to form partnerships and alliances in order to share best practices and accelerate advancement.”

The IBU’s extensive work in sustainability has been recognised by a number of international bodies including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who awarded the IBU the IOC Carbon Action Award in 2022. The IBU has also been shortlisted for the IOC Climate Action Award 2023 and the BBC Green Sport Awards 2023.

The IBU aims to continue reinforcing the number of strategic alliances it has entered into over the last 18 months. Last year, the IBU became a founding member of the Olympic Sports Alliance to tackle Carbon Fibre Circularity. Given the sport’s reliance on carbon fibre, the IBU is working with World Sailing, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the International Tennis Federation to promote the reuse of carbon components within the sports sector. The IBU also joined the 2.5-year Green Approaches in Management for Enhancing Sports (GAMES) project – an EU Erasmus+ initiative – alongside World Athletics, the International Floorball Federation and the Swedish Floorball Federation to analyse the climate governance and management models in place and develop event decarbonisation strategies.

Through its national federation support programme, IBU funds projects designed to develop sustainability strategies and action plans on the national level, with six member federations receiving funding for projects on environmental sustainability and 17 on social sustainability in 2023.

The IBU’s full fluor ban will come into effect this season to mitigate environmental concerns with meticulous controls in place and consultations with the European Union and the European Chemicals Agency regarding lead continue.

The IBU Sustainability Strategy is centred on building awareness and communication. Working with the IBU Climate Partner Viessmann, the IBU has looked to promote and celebrate sustainability initiatives led by biathlon clubs with the Climate Club Trophy. Together, the partners also hosted two editions of the Biathlon Climate Challenge which saw close to 13,000 fans from more than 40 countries turn their physical activity into the planting of 150,000 trees.

For further information on the IBU Sustainability Strategy, sustainability highlights and reports click here.

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