World Sailing establishes mandatory Sustainability Charter for special events

World Sailing establishes mandatory Sustainability Charter for special events

Special events will have to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy and adopt ISO 20121 sustainable events management system as part of contractual obligations

Events formally recognised and sanctioned by World Sailing will have to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy, with set time-bound targets, to keep their special event status.

The strategy must align with the International Federation’s own Agenda 2030 sustainability strategy and help the body accelerate its own targets and objectives, which include reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to the health of marine biodiversity.

Special events must also commit to reporting, on at least an annual basis, about their progress and future sustainability goals.

It’s one of a number of requirements set out by World Sailing in its newly-published Sustainability Charter for special events.

Future special events must now be organised in accordance with the ISO 20121 sustainable event management system and aligned with two United Nations initiatives: Clean Seas, which safeguards the oceans from plastic pollution, and the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework, in which sports events and organisations commit to measure, reduce and offset their carbon emissions.

Special events will be expected to implement sustainable procurement policies in collaboration with partners and suppliers. Boatbuilders should be encouraged to carry out impact assessments during the manufacturing process, end of life options for boats should be established, wood must be sustainably sourced and, where possible, event venues should be ISO 14001 (environmental management) certified.

Other requirements laid out by the Charter include: transparent carbon footprint reporting, a gender equality strategy, the showcasing of at least one non-fossil fuel powered boat during the event, and the establishment of an education and outreach programme.

Dan Reading, World Sailing head of sustainability, said that special events were an “excellent opportunity to showcase the sport, sailors and innovation”.

“I’m grateful to our current and past special events for helping shape what we believe is a challenging, industry-leading sustainability framework,” he added. “The Charter forms part of the contract to become a special event and we will look to publish progress and foster partnerships on key targets.”

World Sailing special events include SailGP, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Tour, Star Sailors League and GKA Kite World Tour.

The former two have become the first signatories to the Charter. Indeed, the newly-established SailGP has also adopted the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework in recent weeks.

“This is an important day as we look to be among the leaders in our sport and support the delivery of the Special Events Charter, setting an example of what can be done – from big to small initiatives,” added SailGP chief executive Sir Russell Coutts. “The aim is to inspire others to follow our example, and share our experiences and learnings to drive sustainability across global sport.”

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