Press Release06 Apr 2020

World Athletics makes commitment to a cleaner, greener, more equitable world


World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, Sustainable Development Advisory Group Chair Sylvia Barlag and HSH Prince Albert II are shown the air quality monitor by Kunak Technologies CEO Javier Fernandez Huerta (© Philippe Fitte)


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World Athletics has today launched its Sustainability Strategy, which has a central goal of making the organisation carbon neutral by 2030. The strategy addresses global issues that pose a threat to the quality of our lives, using the power of sport and athletics to create a better world for communities.

The organisation will embrace sustainability principles and practices within its operations, its Member Federations and the organisation of future World Athletics Series events.

The ten-year strategy is designed to deliver tangible benefits across environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Among its commitments, World Athletics will reduce its carbon output by ten percent each year, switch to 100 percent renewable energy at its headquarters this year, introduce a sustainable procurement code and travel policy and develop best practice guides for its 214 Member Federations and its event organisers.

The strategy is divided into six pillars, each of which contain actions and targets for the organisation to pursue.

Some of the key components are:

Leadership in sustainability

  • Produce best practice guides for Member Federations and World Athletics Series event organisers
  • Embed sustainability principles in permit and licensing programmes
  • Align and embed sustainability goals into partnership agreements
  • Identify and engage our partners around the sustainability programme

Sustainable production and consumption

  • At headquarters, switch to 100 percent renewable energy
  • Implement comprehensive waste management system targeting reduction and reuse
  • Embed responsible procurement for all World Athletics activities and sanctioned events

Climate change and carbon

  • Reduce carbon footprint by ten percent each year to reach goal of carbon neutrality by 2030
  • Implement a sustainable travel policy reducing travel and building local capacity
  • All sanctioned events to commit to carbon neutrality targets

Local environment and air quality

  • Working with partners, establish low emission zones around athletics arenas
  • Maximise local economic impact around events by supporting local businesses
  • Develop a toolkit for improving air quality.
  • Air quality targets to be understood, set and monitored to protect runners and athletes
  • Air quality emissions to be included in equipment and venue standards.

Global equality

  • All geographic areas to have recognised opportunity pathways for both genders in all professions in athletics across athletes, coaches, technical officials, administrators
  • Build gender capacity with annual female leadership seminars conducted in all Areas

Diversity, accessibility and wellbeing

  • Protect athlete welfare with standardised basic health checks for all athletes before they compete in international events.
  • Ensure headquarters and other facilities are fully accessible
  • Ensure diverse workforce and fair treatment of staff and those working at and on our events, and for our suppliers and partners

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said it was important for the organisation to make a commitment to a better future for coming generations.

“In the modern world, it has become apparent that our athletes and fans expect more from us than good governance of our sport. They also expect us to be a good global citizen, to take a leadership role in issues that affect the wider world and their communities. Sustainability is one of the great global challenges. We want to do our part to make this a better world and contribute to a cleaner, greener, more equitable future for everyone.

“We started on this path a couple of years ago when we made a commitment to assist the global campaign for improved air quality, and began installing air quality monitors in stadiums around the world, but it’s time for us to do more and I’m delighted to launch this roadmap for our organisation and our sport over the next decade. We have already ticked one item off the list, by switching to 100 percent renewable energy at our headquarters this year, and our ambition is to be a leader in organising sustainable events as we go forward.”

World Athletics