World Sailing gains inaugural Sustainability Award

Published on November 10th, 2020

World Sailing has won the inaugural GAISF Sustainability Award, cementing its place as the leader in international sport for its work on sustainability.

Announced November 10 at the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) General Assembly, World Sailing were joined on the podium by World Rugby and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

Founded in 1967, GAISF is a key pillar of the wider sports movement and acts as the voice for its 125 Members, Associate Members, and observers, which include both Olympic and non-Olympic sports organizations.

The first overall winner of the award, World Sailing was recognized for its Sustainability Agenda 2030 which outlines how sailing will contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals, creating a sustainable legacy that spans from grassroots sailing clubs to elite competition.

Already, World Sailing has eliminated hundreds of thousands of single use plastic bottles throughout its event portfolio, and launched an innovative project in conjunction with the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee to encourage a transition from combustion engines in support boats.

World Sailing has also launched a Sustainability Education Program, which covers everything from climate change to biodiversity, and aims to equip future generations of sailors with the knowledge to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Addressing delegates during the session, HSH Prince Albert II, Chair of the International Olympic Committee’s Sustainability Commission, commented, “The world so urgently needs sustainability leaders like yourselves. I can only support your efforts and actions in this field, that’s central for the protection of our planet and for our legacy towards future generations. Please continue the impressive work you have done so far and continue to inspire others to join you.”

Newly elected World Sailing President Quanhai Li reflected on when World Sailing’s Council unanimously supported Agenda 2030 in 2018. “The progress has been excellent, and now as World Sailing President I reaffirm World Sailing’s commitment to delivering a more sustainable future through sport. I’d like to congratulate the other International Federations for their wonderful sustainability projects. Working together we [sport] can make a real impact for the next generation of athletes.”

Dan Reading, Head of Sustainability at World Sailing, was pleased for the recognition considering both the number and level of sustainability projects from across the world of sport. “This will give us extra motivation to reach our Sustainability Agenda 2030 targets and act as assurance to our stakeholders that this is an area to which we are fully committed. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our strategic partners and sponsors for their support; this is a wonderful achievement that many have contributed to.”

With 125 members, GAISF acts as an umbrella body for International Sport. GAISF launched the award in 2019 to encourage International Federations to use their global platforms to combat climate change and educate their communities about the importance of sustainability.

“It is vital that sport continues to lead by example and take responsibility for the future of our planet, the natural arena for all sports,” GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli stated. “As the united voice of sports, GAISF knew it was our duty to shine a spotlight on the incredible efforts of our Members in actively contributing to a more sustainable future.”

Out of the 56 targets in World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030, 13 have been delivered whilst work has started on a further 25.

For further information on World Sailing’s Sustainability initiatives: https://www.sailing.org/about/Sustainability.php.

Source: Daniel Smith, World Sailing

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