Trail runner (© Brian Erickson)
In a global research study in 2020* people from 18 countries were asked how the pandemic would change their future behaviours. The research found that the biggest change in behaviour across all 18 countries was to be more health-conscious post-COVID-19. The second biggest behaviour change was to be more environmentally conscious.
With that in mind, World Athletics is proud to annouce it has become a member of Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI), an organisation committed to accelerating sustainability in and through sport.
Together, SandSI and World Athletics will focus on putting in place a sustainability framework of best practices, leveraging the power of sport and athletics to create a better world for future generations to enjoy.
The partnership aims to support World Athletics continuing commitment and efforts toward a more sustainable future. In April 2020, World Athletics announced its Sustainability Strategy, the central goal of which is to make World Athletics’ operations and its global World Championship events carbon neutral by 2030.
“We are excited to partner with World Athletics and support their Sustainability Strategy and ongoing efforts,” said Philippe Duperrex, Secretary General of SandSI. “We commend the strides World Athletics is making in the area of sustainability, and we look forward to working together as we endeavor to achieve our collective SDG targets.”
Key to the success of all organised athletic competitions, at every level, is a sustainable and healthy environment in which events and training can be held safely.
Commenting on the partnership, Dr Paolo Emilio Adami MD from World Athletics’ Health and Science Department said: "Our sustainability strategy is ambitious but necessarily so as meaningful change requires large scale thinking, collaboration and a robust and realistic timeframe for delivery.
"Air Quality is one of the six focus areas of our Sustainability Strategy and we are working closely with cities and venues to effectively monitor air quality, raise awareness of an invisible threat that claims the lives of seven million people across the world every year and find ways of protecting athletes and the 1.4 billion people who run regularly. We are looking forward to this important collaboration with SandSI and other partners."
SandSI and World Athletics jointly recognise the vital role the sport industry plays in addressing sustainability issues facing the world today, as well as the need for a collective response to these challenges. It is this collaborative spirit that will help accelerate the sustainability movement in sport, creating a better and more sustainable world, and future, for all.
World Athletics Health & Science Department has also recently signed memoranda of understanding with Runnin'City and Plume Labs, two French start-ups whose collaboration will be critical with air quality projects that will be launched later this year. Runnin'City is a free smartphone app that helps guide runners through their chosen cities. The Plume Labs (creators of the Flow personal air quality monitor) app predicts air pollution in cities around the world, showing users the best times to exercise outdoors.
Sport and Sustainability International and World Athletics
* Source: Toluna, Global Barometer, Consumer Reactions to COVID-19; March 25-April 2, 2020