Given the significant and unstoppable changes being created by global warming as a result of environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity, speaker after speaker at the 2017 IF Forum, many of whom represent international sports federations, shared case studies outlining the actions they are taking, and appealed to peers to take advantage of the unique opportunity in sport, to lead the way towards a sustainable agenda – the focus for the conference programme.
The politics of climate change are shifting. Saving planet earth is more than just a fad and international sports federations can have impact. Delegates heard how new voices and new strategies are taking the lead – and how sport can shift attitudes towards achieving global sustainability. Speakers reinforced the view that sport is in a unique position to raise awareness on many levels, engage fans and global citizens everywhere, as well as empower young volunteers and change-makers, with sustainable initiatives and show how innovations can be impactful.
The urgency and poignancy of these messages were the subject of 24 presentations and case studies throughout the IF Forum, attended by 109 international sport federations and associate members, as well as 7 observer organisations.
Inger Andersen, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provided some thought-provoking and motivating insights during her session on sport and biodiversity and the role of the sporting community ending with a passionate plea, “Planet earth is the only place we know as home. If we don’t take action, there is no alternative home for us. Sport has a responsibility and an opportunity to do what it can for sustainability, to secure our future and make planet earth a better place for future generations.”
Lorenz Isler from Ikea Group gave a candid account during his session on the reactive to proactive ways of handling resources in industry: “As a Sustainability Manager from the IKEA Group I found it very interesting to participate at the IF Forum 2017. Such gatherings are important to discuss challenges and exchange best practices so that we can learn from each other. Climate change and resource scarcity are real, and urgent actions are needed. I am thus positively surprised that this years’ IF Forum was fully dedicated to the topic of sustainability.”
Hosted by SportAccord Convention, delegates were welcomed by Thomas Bach, President, International Olympic Committee, and Philippe Leuba, State Councillor Department of Economy and Sport, Canton of Vaud.
Patrick Baumann, President of GAISF and SportAccord Convention gave the opening address. Summing up the IF Forum President Baumann said: “I would like to thank the many expert speakers for making this year’s IF Forum on Sustainability so illuminating, bringing clarity and insight to important issues and highlighting ways in which we can help make a difference.
“While we have a clear duty to preserve and promote sport for the next generation we have an even greater Duty of Care to our environment to ensure that the world we hold in trust is a great place to live and to play sport.
“This has been a fascinating, rewarding and useful Forum and I am sure delegates will go back to their Federations inspired and full of new ideas.”
In conclusion, Raffaele Chiulli, President of ARISF and UIM, and GAISF Vice President shared the following message in his Closing Remarks: “IFs are uniquely placed to promote the conservation on biodiversity and sustainability in sport. It is imperative that we also take a leading role in spreading our message and encouraging all our stakeholders to do more as well.”
The IF Forum conference programme was a collaboration between the IOC and the stakeholders GAISF, ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF, AIMS, and Associate Members.
Panel sessions were led by David Eades, Anchor and Journalist, BBC World who served as Master of Ceremonies for the IF Forum 2017.
Official Partners included: JLT Specialty, Nielsen Sports, Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition; Legacy Partner Sport Event Denmark; and Host City Partners Lausanne and the Canton de Vaud.