Sustainability celebrated at World Athletics Championships
Organisers of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 have showcased their sustainability efforts by planting 40 trees in an urban forest in the Hungarian capital.
The project, in line with World Athletics’ Sustainability Strategy 2020 roadmap, featured pupils from the sports department of the Gyulai István Primary School in a tree-planting ceremony. The youngsters were also able to try out a renewed forest running circuit.
Balázs Németh, Chief Executive of Budapest 2023, said: “The World Championships are not just about the nine-day competition, but also about the positive legacy the event leaves behind.
“To this end, we are implementing our comprehensive sustainability programme, which focuses on mobilising the country’s population, developing urban green spaces, public transport, waste management, and raising awareness of environmental issues.”
World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon added: “Both World Athletics and the Local Organising Committee are committed to leaving a sustainable and positive legacy for the future of the World Championships in Budapest. This tree planting is a significant event for the local community.”
The National Athletics Centre was a brownfield project that has seen the area completely rehabilitated after it was previously a contaminated site due to industrial activity. The new sports facility and its surroundings will host the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 from August 19-27, before being transformed into a recreational park open to the public from 2024.
During autumn last year, over 500 trees and 2,000 shrubs were planted in the park, with 40 trees planted closer to the stadium. The greening programme is set to continue with thousands more trees planted in Budapest, in collaboration with the local forestry company.
“The World Championships are not just about the nine-day competition, but also about the positive legacy the event leaves behind."
Further initiatives within the World Championships’ sustainability programme include environmentally friendly waste management, with a focus on the reduction of PET bottle consumption. There will be water balloons, drinking fountains and reusable water bottles to help combat this issue.
Green transport will also have a role, and thanks to an agreement with the MÁV-Volán transport group, spectators will be able to travel around Budapest at a reduced fare. Organisers have also prioritised local, domestic partners and have aimed to make the Championships as accessible and affordable as possible as part of the event’s social responsibility.
Further social commitments include encouraging more schoolchildren to participate in the Championships through its Schoolhero programme, and the offer of discounted tickets to civic groups, workplace communities and disadvantaged groups.