International Day of Sport for Development and Peace: Scoring For People and the Planet

On International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2023, we are taking a closer look at the sustainability efforts of DAV Ulm, winner of the Climate Club Trophy by IBU and Viessmann.

Last month, the club on the outskirts of the Swabian Alb won the fan vote of the first-ever Climate Club Trophy - their reward for placing first is a voucher for a Viessmann Climate Solution in the value of 24,000€.

Why does the Climate Club Trophy fit this year's theme "Scoring For People and the Planet" so well?

At the BMW IBU World Championships Biathlon in Oberhof, the athletes scored a total of 7,981 hits at the shooting range in individual competitions and collected 71,8 tons of CO2 savings through their hits for the Viessmann Climate Solution - translating into a value of 21,000€. The IBU contributed an additional 3,000€ to the value of the voucher, raising the value to 24,000€.

DAV Ulm has always pursued measures and goals that are good for the environment, economically sound and have strong potential to develop the sport. Faced with the undeniable reality of climate change – situated at 600 metres above sea level, snowless winters have become the norm, rather than the exception – the club has realised plans to increase grassroots and elite-level participation by developing its training centre, which includes a roller skiing course and a shooting range.

Having witnessed the effects of climate change first-hand, DAV Ulm has also prioritised mitigation of its own effects on climate change. The club’s operational sustainability strategy is based on two pillars: Sustainability at Home, which is focused on the sustainable development of its PistenBully Biathlon Centre, and Sustainability on the Road, which deals mainly with the transportation of the club’s athletes and equipment to competition and training venues.

How are these goals achieved?

DAV Ulm has made the decision to invest in biathlon even though the future for the Swabian Alps holds no snow. Very seldom do the members of DAV Ulm train on snow these days. Sometimes, over Christmas, the club will organise snow training in the Black Forest or Allgäu region, but this is more of a community-building initiative than specifically for training. Roller skiing has taken precedence, during summer and in wintertime.

Despite this, or rather because of its well-equipped biathlon training centre, the club has continued to grow its large pool of youth talent, at the under-16 level. As a highlight, the club’s talent Julia Tannheimer returned from the IBU YJWCH 2023 in Shchuchinsk, Kazakhstan, with three gold medals and one silver. Furthermore, its membership numbers are increasing, thereby contributing hugely to grassroots participation in the region.

The club owns the PistenBully Biathlon Centre. It was opened in 2005 and has since been expanded in several stages, thanks in large part to significant funding received from local authorities and its partners. Currently, the club is pushing ahead with the construction of a new multi-functional building. Throughout the development of this phase, as in all previous phases, the club has always kept sustainability as the focal point of decisions. Initiatives have included water harvesting for snowmaking purposes, lead bullet collection, an unheated cold hall, a heat pump, and a planned photovoltaic system.

Travel is known to be the biggest cause of CO2 emissions in winter sports. The club saw the need to reduce this impact too, in tandem with its own energy costs, through organising a bus-sharing operation in cooperation with its partners.

What were the challenges faced?

DAV Ulm faced up to the biggest challenge that is affecting the world today – Climate Change. The club recognised that if it was to continue offering people the opportunity to ski, it would not be on snow. So, it shifted its focus to roller skiing and the quality of the courses on which it could be practised.

Aside from the very real threat to its continued existence as a club, funding has often been a challenge as well. DAV Ulm has flourished thanks in large part to the generosity of its partners. For example, the new multi-functional building that is being constructed will cost 2.5 million euros, 1.3 million of which is being invested by the city of Ulm along with contributions by the club’s other partners.

What are the next steps?

In the future, DAV Ulm wants to purchase a minibus that can be operated as a plug-in hybrid or purely battery-electric vehicle. The idea would be that it can then charge the minibus with its own electricity that it would be able to harvest through the photovoltaic system that will soon be added to its functional building.

It also plans to attract future income through the private rental of the multi-functional building – specifically the fitness centre and seminar room – by non-members of the club to ensure that the new facility is used as much as possible.

The club is also keen to host more events at its centre, including summer biathlon competitions at the national and regional level.

A full case study will be made available shortly.

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