Sport is not just a victim of climate change; it is also a net contributor through greenhouse gas emissions linked to travel, energy use and other forms of consumption. This means that sports organisations have a responsibility to limit their climate impacts, as well as take measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Also, sport is uniquely placed to use its significant powers of inspiration and influence to demonstrate leadership and undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility.

Recognising its responsibility, the World Rowing Federation, FISA, has joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC), Sports for Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Sports for Climate Action Framework. This Initiative calls on sporting organisations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality for a safer planet.

As a signatory, World Rowing has committed to the five main principles of the framework, which are to:

1.    Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;

2.    Reduce overall climate impact;

3.    Educate for climate action;

4.    Promote sustainable and responsible consumption; and

5.    Advocate for climate action through communication

In practical terms, implementing the commitment will involve three key steps:

1.    Measure: Establishing a baseline measurement of World Rowing’s carbon footprint to understand its current position as well as how and where improvements can be made;

2.    Take action: Identifying and implementing actions, the key ones being to avoid, reduce, substitute, compensate and report;

3.    Educate and inspire: Spreading the word by sharing information and lessons learnt with World Rowing’s stakeholders.  

Speaking at the launch event for the Framework, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa explained that sports organisations and athletes are in a unique position in the race against climate change, “because sports touches on every cross-section of society”.

Commenting on FISA’s commitment, FISA President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, Jean-Christophe Rolland said, “By signing the Framework, we have demonstrated our commitment to playing our part to ensure the sports sector is on the path to a low-carbon future. The operations of an international sport federation mean that we have unavoidable impacts, primarily through our events, but we recognise that there are concrete steps that we can take to reduce and compensate for this impact – this is a challenge that we are ready to embrace.”

“We are delighted to welcome FISA among the signatories of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework,” said Michelle Lemaitre IOC Head of Sustainability. “More than 50 sports organisations have signed up to the framework so far, marking an unprecedented momentum for meaningful climate action across the sports world. As the co-creator of the framework, the IOC is ready to guide and support the Olympic Movement signatories in turning their commitments into reality.”

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