U.S. Ski & Snowboard hoping to reach carbon footprint goal before 2030 time limit
U.S. Ski & Snowboard has embarked upon a new sustainability initiative called Easy Green which includes a campaign to offset 100% or more of its carbon footprint by 2030.
The national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding has secured funding to offset 10% of this season’s total and a fundraiser has been set up to achieve the overall aim by the end of the decade.
However, it has claimed that progress has surpassed expectations and the target could be reached sooner than first hoped.
“Offsetting our carbon footprint is a main priority of ours and will incrementally increase over the next six years,” a USSS spokesperson told Global Sustainable Sport.
“As a nonprofit, we work with partners and donors to raise funds. The feedback to the programme has been great so far, so we hope to reach the target quicker than 2030.”
The organisation is firstly working with Anew Climate, a developer of “forestry credits”, to help offset its carbon impact in Wisconsin which hosts the largest cross-country ski race in the US.
In addition to offsetting USSS’s carbon footprint, Easy Green’s other main goals are to reduce the organisation’s own impact and to utilise its leadership position to increase awareness with the help of its athletes.
In order to begin reducing its carbon impact, the national body has created a sustainability task force with figures in the climate change industry helping to guide actions.
So far, these actions have included using solar power at the organisation’s headquarters in Park City, Utah, using a fleet of hybrid vehicles, and implementing a carpool programme for staff in addition to remote working.
“Offsetting our carbon footprint is a main priority of ours and will incrementally increase over the next six years."
The body added that travelling internationally for different competitions is one of the main concerns in terms of releasing emissions. As a result, USSS has started to work with sustainability tracking firm Greenly in order to specifically measure the carbon footprint of its travel.
It also states that is in talks with the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) to establish a more sustainable calendar as “international travel is the nature of our sport and will continue to be so.”
Easy Green is being supported by the FIS’s new Impact Programme which was created to guide the FIS and its stakeholders through global sustainability challenges.
The programme was launched after the FIS was heavily criticised by Greenpeace and Protect Our Winters Europe, with the backing of hundreds of winter sport athletes, for an alleged lack of action and transparency in its approach to sustainability.
USSS has now been praised for its latest move.
“I’m really proud to see the steps U.S. Ski & Snowboard is taking to collectively use our voices and create positive change,” said Protect Our Winters board member Jessie Diggins, who is also a cross-country team sprint gold medallist from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“We have many hills to climb with regards to climate change, but we’re charging forward and I’m excited to see the focus on offsetting our carbon footprint as well as taking everyday actions to reduce our impact in the first place.”