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“Every end is the new beginning” as ASAP Project draws to a close and Olympic Committees look to implement their new sustainability strategies

December 21 2022

December 31st marks the end of the As Sustainable as Possible (ASAP) project, which has been running for the past three years. The project has seen six National Olympic Committees (NOCs), supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the European Union’s Erasmus + Programme, working together to develop a sustainable strategy that all Olympic Committees and other sports organisations could follow.

“Every end is the new beginning” as ASAP Project draws to a close and Olympic Committees look to implement their new sustainability strategies

ASAP Project involved six National Olympic Committees

The project was initiated and managed by Jana Janotova, International Relations and ASAP project manager, Czech Olympic Committee, and brought together six NOCs, with three acting as ‘mentors’ – Denmark, Finland, and Germany – and three as ‘mentees’ – the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.

The concept behind the project was for the ‘mentee’ NOCs to ‘create, adopt and start implementing integrated sustainability strategies in their organisations’, while the ‘mentor’ NOCs aimed to ‘further improve their operations by sharing and learning from each other and from other experts in the field’.

This mentor-mentee working method allowed the NOCs to translate recommendations, guidelines and best practices into a practical hands-on approach which enabled each organisation to integrate sustainability into the very core of their operations, creating a more purposeful approach.

“I believe that the most important legacy of the ASAP project are the altered and changed minds and attitudes of organisations and people involved in the project, including myself. This legacy builds on a number of “tangible” results (sustainability strategies, case studies, and guides), which, I hope, will help other sport organisations move forward on, and fully benefit from, their own sustainability journeys,” Jana Janotova, International Relations and ASAP project manager, Czech Olympic Committee

The project was funded and supported by the European Union’s Erasmus + Programme to the tune of €330,396 and received support and guidance from a range of organisations and industry experts.

The project involved hundreds of hours of work from the ten-member ASAP team, the mentees/mentors, and industry experts. During the three-year programme they were involved in five in-person team meetings, six bilateral mentor-mentee visits, a range of team meetings, calls, and training events, and ASAP seminars and workshops.

The IOC’s Sustainability Senior Manager, Julie Duffus, was heavily involved in the project, alongside a range of experts who together covered a broad set of sustainability topics ranging from marketing and communications to infrastructure and strategy building.

“For me, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, one of our strategic priorities. You will see it woven into every decision we make. It is one of our basic principles and values," Julie Duffus, Sustainability Senior Manager from the IOC.
"When you look at the UN Sustainable Development Group’s agenda, it's all about active living, educating people about being in nature - it's all connected to what we do in and through sport.”

ASAP Forum: Inspiring sustainability in sport

The project concluded with the ASAP forum in October 2022, on the theme of ‘Inspiring sustainability in sport’. The aim of the forum was to ‘inspire and motivate sport organisations to approach sustainability strategically’. Some powerful speeches and presentations were made during the event, including an impassioned speech from the Chair of the EOC Sustainability & Active Society Commission Berit Kjøll.

“Through the ASAP project, the sports community have a tool to move from words to action. We need to get into delivery mode on sustainability,” Berit Kjøll Berit Kjøll, Chair of the EOC Sustainability & Active Society Commission and President of Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports
“The project partners, led by the Czech NOC, have created a tool we will all gain from as we move forward. The ASAP project is a fantastic example of how cooperation and partnerships between sport organisations can become a true driving force in integrating sustainability into our movement.”

A variety of athletes supported the project, including Šárka Strachová, Olympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing and now president of the Czech Fair Play Club.

“For me, it primarily means healthy movement and proper development. By this I mean that we should not let our children play sports as a priority with the intention that we want them to become top athletes, but above all so that they develop healthily, to play sports, to acquire the right movement habits, because it is during that period that they are building all the foundations for the coming life,” Šárka Strachová, Olympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing and now president of the Czech Fair Play Club.

The ASAP Roadmap

 The project leaves a lasting legacy, with several tangible outcomes set to lay the groundwork for future work in the area. Among these are guides for the creation of a sustainability strategy, including the ASAP Roadmap and ASAP Toolbox; three sustainability strategies for the three ‘mentee’ organisations; and three case studies.

The ASAP Roadmap, which is available in both long and short versions, provides sports organisations with a process-based guidance and framework for the creation of a sustainability strategy. It aims to take organisations through the process step-by-step, from prerequisites through to managing stakeholders.

The ASAP Roadmap is supported by the ASAP Toolbox, which includes a range of templates for use in the process of creating a sustainability strategy. The ASAP Toolbox includes:

  • NOC Sustainability Strategy Template
  • Making the Case for Sustainability
  • Introduction to Sustainability – Model Training Programme
  • Organisational Screening Tools
  • Materiality Assessment Tools
  • Sustainability Communications Cheat Sheet

The ASAP website also includes the three sustainability strategies developed through the ASAP project for the Czech Olympic Committee, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, and the Slovak Olympic and Sport Committee, which are supported by Case Studies on each of these organisations.

The project formally ends on December 31st, 2022, and concluded with the words “every end is the new beginning”. The ASAP project may have ended, but for many sports organisations the sustainability road is only just beginning, and the ASAP Roadmap will be an invaluable guide to help them on that journey.

For further information on the ASAP project the Roadmap, Toolbox, Sustainability Strategies and case studies, visit the ASAP website.

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