The IOF joins “Sports for Climate Action” initiative

At it’s latest meeting the IOF Council approved the proposal from the Environment and Sustainability Commission about joining the “Sports for Climate Action” initiative.

Sports for Climate Action is a project by United Nations – Climate Change, UNCC and the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The Sports for Climate Action invites sports organisations to join a new climate action for sport movement. This initiative aims at supporting and guiding sports actors in achieving global climate change goals.

Sports for Climate Action is about two overarching goals:

  1. Achieving a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change, through commitments and partnerships according to verified standards, including measuring, reducing, and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the well below 2 degree scenario enshrined in the Paris Agreement;
  2. Using sports as a unifying tool to federate and create solidarity among global citizens for climate action.

Federation that join the “Sports for Climate Action” initiative commit themselves to the following five principles:

  1. Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  2. Reduce overall climate impact;
  3. Educate for climate action;
  4. Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
  5. Advocate for climate action through communication.

Environment and Sustainability Commission about the IOF and the sport of orienteering:

Orienteering is probably one of the most environment friendly sports and orienteers are generally environmentally conscious people. This means that:
a) Making our sport more visible will give us an opportunity to claim its positive qualities towards a broad audience within the IOC family;
b) We (IOF, Federations, orienteers) will increase our consciousness about climate and the consequences (positive and negative) of our behaviours; and that will reflect also in our daily lives;
c) We will undertake a road of continuous improvement with the help and support of a broad sports community.

Most of the actions required to comply with the five principles are already in the programmes of the IOF Environment and Sustainability Commission and therefore no significant extra effort would be required apart from, most likely, an engagement to participate in meetings that UNCC and IOC should convene for signatories. These events would be beneficial for the IOF by enhancing our ability to act and to be recognised for our actions.

Almost all sports, in various degrees, produce climate-changing emissions due to travels, materials and energy use, construction of venues (not Orienteering!), catering, and so on. Transports are certainly the most critical climate-related issue of orienteering. However, within the Sports for Climate Action, immediate solutions are not expected in any discipline; what matters is the development of a credible roadmap of continuous improvement and being able to demonstrate progress.

Sports for Climate Action