World Athletics is committed to ensuring that its athletics events, which are held all over the world, and its headquarters, based in Monaco, are fully aligned to the principles of sustainability.
This is in recognition of the growing environmental challenges that the world faces today, specifically air pollution, climate change and our overconsumption of resources. Those, coupled with a lack of global equality and diversity, create an environmental and social impact that poses a serious threat to the quality of our lives and communities.
Sustainability within athletics is defined as driving the practices and behaviours of all individuals and organisations developing the sport in such a way that it:
- accounts for the needs of future generations;
- provides a fair and level sporting platform based on sound ethical principles;
- actively involves interested parties and is open about decisions and activities; and
- ensures actions take a balanced approach to their social, economic and environmental impact.
In April 2020, World Athletics announced its Sustainability Strategy, whose central goal is to make the organisation carbon neutral by 2030.
The ten-year strategy is designed to deliver tangible benefits across the three pillars of sustainability - environmental, social and economic - by using the power of sport and athletics to create a better world for communities. The strategy includes a broad commitment to embrace sustainability principles and practices within its operations, its Member Federations and the organisation of future World Athletics Series events.
The key benefits of the strategy include:
- better management of the sport’s social and environmental risk factors;
- identification of opportunities benefitting the sport and engaging a wider group of stakeholders;
- more efficient use of resources delivering lower operating costs enabling greater investment in the sport; and
- wider activation platform for partnerships to bringing significant economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities.
Components of the Sustainability Strategy include a plan to reduce World Athletics’ carbon output by 10 percent each year, a switch to 100 percent renewable energy at its headquarters by the end of 2020, the introduction of a sustainable procurement code and travel policy and to 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:
- leadership in sustainability;
- sustainable production and consumption;
- climate change and carbon;
- local environment and air quality;
- global equality; and
- diversity, accessibility and wellbeing.
In 2021, World Athletics became a proud signatory of the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework, an initiative supporting and guiding sports organisations to measure, reduce and offset their carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.