Organised in Prague on 12 October 2022, the Forum brought together 19 speakers and over 60 onsite and 50 online participants representing close to 20 NOCs (including members of the EOC Sustainability and Active Society Commission), International Olympic Committee, International Biathlon Union and other international federations, Czech national sport federations, universities, sustainability experts and other stakeholders to discuss how to put in practice the vision of the ASAP project of “moving from words to action and from ad-hoc initiatives to integrated sustainability across sport organisations’ operations and activities.”
In her keynote speech, Rikke Rønholt Albertsen, Board Member of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark and PhD Fellow in Sustainability, set the scene by highlighting the unique position of sport to address the holistic agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the great opportunity it has to make sustainability part of our daily lives.
International Olympic Committee’s senior sustainability manager, Julie Duffus, built on Rikke’s words and highlighted the main arguments why “going strategic” was the only way for sport organisations to fully seize this opportunity and use sport’s unique position to the maximum in a long-term manner.
And how to implement and operationalise this strategic approach? Answers to this question were provided by the ASAP project manager, Jana Janotová, who presented the main outcomes of the ASAP project – sustainability strategies, case studies, ASAP Roadmap and its toolbox – which have been developed to help other sport organisation to create and start implementing their own sustainability strategies. ASAP Team members Igor Kováč, Bianca, Quardokus and Dorottya Pignitzky then shared with the participants their concrete experiences not only with the development of their own sustainability strategies, but also with the cooperation and mentorship methodology which was a true driving force throughout the project.
As the title “Inspiring sustainability in sport” suggests, the exchange of good practices and ideas was one of the main objectives of the Forum; and one of the main working principles of the ASAP project as such. To fulfil this objective and create an atmosphere conducive to such exchange and cooperation, the ASAP Team members coordinated 4 interactive roundtable:
- Carbon footprint: travel and transport as a major challenge for sport organisations
- Leveraging the power of communications to drive sustainability in and through sport
- Advancing sustainability together with commercial partners
- Athletes and sport organisations: working together on reaching sustainability objectives
Each session featured two case studies and an interesting discussion and their outcomes, including links to inspiring examples, roundtables can be found here.
The ASAP Forum fulfilled its main objectives. As Berit Kjøll, President of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports and Chair of the European Olympic Committees Sustainability and Active Society Commission noted in her conducing remarks: "the ASAP project is a fantastic example of how cooperation and partnerships between sport organisations can become a true driving force in integrating sustainability into our movement. And today’s event has only confirmed it. The honest exchange of experiences and best practices, the clear will to cooperate expressed by all of you, the fantastic project examples and ideas for the future, all this fills me with great hope for our movement and its role in society."
Even though the ASAP project is nearing its end, “every finishing line is the beginning of a new race,” as we say in sports. Indeed, by initiating cooperation between NOCs, establishing a strong partnership, and creating our sustainability strategies, we have gotten ourselves prepared, equipped and ready for the race towards sustainability, which has just begun! Get ready by using the ASAP guidance documents and join us because as Henry Ford put it “if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”