Environmental Sustainability back to the forefront as pandemic focus slowly shifts

by doug.gray@triathlon.org on 18 Mar, 2022 02:30 • Español
Environmental Sustainability back to the forefront as pandemic focus slowly shifts

At the first meeting of 2022 for the World Triathlon Environmental Sustainability Commission, members sketched out their blueprint for reducing the sport’s impact on the planet over the coming years.

The commission is chaired by Executive Board member Michelle Cooper and also counts on the combined knowledge of IOC Sustainability Senior Manager Julie Duffus, Director of Sustainability at Logitech Caroline Kennedy (IRL); event organiser and sustainability “evangelist” in sports in Norway, Dag Oliver; El Paso Campus Dean and Associate Professor Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences Kristina Mena (USA); British Triathlon’s executive lead of the Sustainability Commission, Ben Cumming; Secretary General of Triathlon Association of the Philippines and Green Triathlon campaigner Ramon Marchan and 2013 World Triathlon Champion Non Stanford.

With the forthcoming WTCS Yokohama and WTCS Leeds among the LOCs already determinedly setting the standards for sustainable practices in 2022, the appetite for change as racing continues to gradually emerge from the pandemic is suitably strong. 

“To ensure that World Triathlon is sustainable going forward, there’s going to have to be changes that athletes and everybody involved are going to have to get used to,” said Non Stanford ahead of Global Recycling Day on 18 March. “Our sport relies on the environment, we swim in the oceans, lakes, the rivers and it’s important we recognise that. I think that’s why I wanted to be on the commission, to try and help triathlon be around for as long as possible.”

“As an athlete it can be a difficult subject to navigate with all the travelling and things like nutrition, water, everything comes in plastic… so i’ve set myself a challenge this year to get in touch with the brands I work with and find out what their sustainability practices and plans are.”

With the carbon footprint of events, as well as World Triathlon as an organisation, set to be increasingly in the spotlight over the coming years, the groundwork is being laid for cooperation at all levels of the sport to measure and mitigate that impact. The sustainability certification process that all LOCs will now go through will award those with the best environmental credentials and initiatives while helping share best practice.

“We are continually reviewing our operation to ensure that it’s world class, and sustainability is central to that,” said Lindsay Impett, Event Director of AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds. “We know that the gold certificate is a high bar to achieve but that is something we are committed to achieving.”

“Many of the improvements, in terms of sustainability, will build on last year’s event and may go unseen by participants because they are focused around how the processes and infrastructure that go into the planning and delivering the event are sustainable. There will however also be a number of things that participants, spectators, volunteers and everyone else involved in the event will become aware of, whether it’s the materials that go into the merchandise, the ease of recycling across the event site and how we support all attendees in their individual decisions on sustainability throughout the weekend.”

Throughout 2022, World Triathlon will keep you updated on its mission to reduce its carbon footprint 50% by 2030 and then targeting net zero, sharing the efforts and stories from around the global triathlon community that are helping to achieve it.

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