News article

Winners of Sports for Nature Challenge crowned at THE SPOT

May 09 2023 Winners of Sports for Nature Challenge crowned at THE SPOT

The final of the Sports for Nature Challenge took place today during THE SPOT in front of a knowledgeable crowd at the Swiss Tech Convention Center in Lausanne.
The Challenge, powered by Sails of Change, looked for innovative solutions that promote and enhance biodiversity conservation, with an actual or potential link with sport.

After fierce competition and three-minute pitches by all ten finalists, the following three organisations were declared the ultimate winners in different categories:

  • We Play Green (impactful campaigns), for their player programme that inspires and assists football players to help mobilise the football family to support the green shift;
  • Red Knot Racing (innovative infrastructure) for their sustainable infrastructure and sports tourism solution for biodiversity conservation on Mount Kilimanjaro; and
  • dimpora (smart technology) for having developed the first high-performant membranes that are not only PFAs-free but also circular.

Sails of Change provided total cash prize money of CHF 50,000. Each of the three winners was awarded CHF 10,000, while the other finalists received CHF 3,000 each. Tomorrow, all ten finalists will participate in an exclusive workshop to frame a potential Proof of Concept with a supporter or major stakeholder from the world of sport.

The winners were selected by an expert jury composed of Sails of Change founder Dona Bertarelli, IOC Director of Corporate Development and Sustainability Marie Sallois Dembreville, and the Director of the Centre for Society and Governance at IUCN, Dr. Radhika Murti.

For this year’s Challenge, ThinkSport received 70 applications from all continents. Thirty applications were selected to participate in the semi-final last month, when the ten best solutions were chosen to pitch in the final.

"We launched the Sports for Nature Challenge to inspire new thinking about how we can protect and preserve biodiversity. The results speak for themselves. In addition to the three outstanding winners, all ten solutions presented today have the potential to generate positive change. I look forward to following the teams’ progress as they develop their projects in the months ahead.” Dona Bertarelli, jury member and founder of Sails of Change

Protecting biodiversity can help people to adapt to climate change, ensuring health and food security, with healthy ecosystems becoming more resilient to climate change. Conserved or restored habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to address climate change by storing carbon. Ultimately, by halting and reversing biodiversity loss, a nature-positive world may be achieved by 2030 for the benefit of the planet and the people.

Click here for a selection of photos.

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