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World Sailing has been shortlisted for two IOC Climate Action Awards 2023 in recognition of its outstanding commitment to sustainability.

July 20 2023 - News Release News Editorial

Launched in 2022 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the awards aim to support National Olympic Committees, International Federations, and athletes in their efforts to manage carbon emissions and understand their impact on the environment.

World Sailing has been shortlisted for two IOC Climate Action Awards 2023 in recognition of its outstanding commitment to sustainability.

Launched in 2022 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the awards aim to support National Olympic Committees, International Federations, and athletes in their efforts to manage carbon emissions and understand their impact on the environment. 

World Sailing has been shortlisted in the categories of: Climate Action x Sustainable Travel, supported by Airbnb, and Climate Action x Innovation, supported by Deloitte. 

Both categories highlight World Sailing’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the sport. World Sailing has implemented a carbon reduction strategy to cut emissions by at least 50% by 2024, compared to the 2019 baseline.  

Alexandra Rickham, World Sailing’s Head of Sustainability, said, “We are honoured to be shortlisted for the IOC Climate Action Awards 2023 and it shows that the changes we have made, as well as the plans we have in place, are achieving the goals we have set. 

“Sailing and the safety of sailors and coastal communities is uniquely tied to the health and wellbeing of the planet, and we have a duty to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce the impact our sport has on the environment. That is why we published our sustainability strategy Sustainability Agenda 2030 in 2018. 

“Simple measures and viable alternatives within World Sailing as an organisation and events organised by us can set a positive example for others to follow. We are committed to embracing new technology and leading the way in promoting the transition towards a more environmentally conscious sport. 

“There is always more we can do, but the success of the initiatives in place already show that it can be done and will continue to inspire us to make a positive change throughout the sport.” 

The main area of focus for reduction has been on travel and transport related to organisational events, particularly the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague. This has included reducing the impact of staff travel with the aim of delivering 100% of staff travel to The Hague via public transport, reducing emissions from on-water support fleets, and compiling more granular data to create a better baseline for future events. In addition, World Sailing targeted the opportunity to introduce robotic race marks. 

The potential to achieve these goals was tested at the 2022 Youth Sailing World Championships, also in The Hague. Group transport was offered and every competitor, member of staff and official was provided with a bicycle to commute between their accommodation and the venue. Robotic marks were introduced to replace the need to anchor racing marks, which risk damaging the biodiverse rich seabeds, and World Sailing trialled several models of electric boats during the event. 

As a consequence, the 2023 Allianz World Sailing Championships will see World Sailing reduce coach boat numbers significantly while using robotic racing marks. Lessons from the Allianz Sailing World Championships will also inform preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

Additionally, the majority of energy will be mains-supplied from renewable sources and the event will utilise HVO and hydrogen options for temporary power needs. These solutions will deliver between 100-70% carbon reduction versus using fossil fuel.

Longer-term, World Sailing is working with manufacturers to address the impact of equipment worldwide. The aim is to increase recyclability and understand the life cycle of all current Olympic classes to reduce the impact of sailing equipment and make the sport more sustainable for future Olympic cycles. 

World Sailing is a signatory of the UN Sport for Climate Action and has developed its own Sustainability Agenda 2030, which outlines how the sport will contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

More information about how World Sailing is making the sport more sustainable can be found on the World Sailing website. 

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