Sports for Nature

“Sports for Nature” is an initiative launched by various International Organisations[1] in collaboration with the IOC-International Olympic Committee to involve the sports communities in efforts aimed at the preservation of nature and at its restoration where the natural environment has been destroyed or degraded.

By participating in the Sports for Nature Framework, the IOF wants to demonstrate its leadership in nature conservation and improve the efficacy of its actions by collaborating with other organisations representing different sports and communities.  Tapping into the experience of like-minded organisations can suggest new initiatives and help in the identification of (in)efficiencies in operations. Sustainability is one of IOF’s main values and IOF is thereby committed to live up to the following objective: “We are respectful of the natural environment and promote environmental good practice”.

Orienteering is a “Sport in Nature” and is probably the sport that provides the best experience of being immersed in nature, moving freely in the forest, leaving no trace apart from some footprints, just as the wild animals do. Protecting nature is protecting our unique experience. And that is what we do. Organisers, course setters and orienteers have a very good reputation for keeping the forest and the arenas clean.

However, the natural environment is under threat in many places and for many reasons. Habitats are disrupted or destroyed, invasive plants, insects and other animals spread where they threaten native species, climate is changing faster than we can perceive, and pollution is a menace also for our own health.

Sports, all sports, have a great appeal worldwide; sport celebrities are trusted more than most politicians and stand out as role models that many, especially among the younger generations, would follow. Sports, like all human activity, contribute to the crisis of nature, for example with carbon emissions due to travels of teams and fans; but the awareness of our impacts and sincere efforts to adopt initiatives and behaviours to reverse the trend and start a positive change would have an enormous influence with the wider public.

The Sports for Nature Framework calls on sports organisations to work towards four principles:

  1. Protect nature and avoid damage to natural habitats and species.
  2. Restore and regenerate nature wherever possible.
  3. Understand and reduce risks to nature in your supply chains.
  4. Educate and inspire positive action for nature across and beyond sport.

In recognition of our commitment to the principles of Sports for Nature, the IOF has been authorised to use a new logo in its communication with the public.

The journey has started and we can all make a difference!
Brilliant ideas, good practices, experiences of National Federations or Clubs can be shared and prove useful in other contexts. Do not hesitate to share them with us:
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[1]   IUCN-International Union for the Conservation of Nature, UNEP-United Nations Environment Programme, CBD-Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.