Biathlon Events AB, host of the World Championships and World Cups in biathlon, places
– ethical and
– economic issues at the top of the agenda.
We want future generations to also enjoy winters and fantastic competitions at our biathlon stadium. This is a serious concern, because Östersund is one of the European cities where the average temperature has increased most in the last 100 years.
Sustainability is important to us in all our areas of activity – and we know that it is important to racers, spectators and officials too. We believe that together, everyone who is interested in winter sports can help in achieving our shared targets. Our vision for sustainability is that a visit to the 2019 IBU World Championships Biathlon in Östersund will produce a smaller environmental footprint than if you had stayed at home that day!
To achieve this, we have two sustainability motivators within the organisation, Sara Nordstrand and Ulf von Sydow. As the title implies, their specific task is to inspire and motivate every single one of our officials and employees to think sustainability about our focus areas, whether we are ticket checkers, snowcat drivers or chefs.
One rule we live by is that regardless of whether you are with us as a volunteer, racer, sponsor/partner or a visitor, it should be easy to do the right thing! As a visitor, it should be easy for you to help by putting packing, cans, food waste and other refuse in the right place at our recycling stations, which are located around the stadium.
As the greatest challenge facing us now is climate change, we compensate for all our emissions of greenhouse gases, whether these are due to vehicles or meat consumption. The food we serve is primarily from vegetable-based sources and our vehicles run on electricity or renewable fuels. Visitors travelling from further afield are offered attractive rail packages and fossil fuel-free transfers to the stadium. For local visitors, bus timetables are adapted to the race schedules.
One of the City of Östersund’s investments in renewable sources of energy, Arctura, is clearly visible at the National Arena for Swedish Biathlon – it is best known as a viewing tower and restaurant, but Arctura is actually an accumulator tank that holds hot water from the cogeneration (CHP) plant. This tank is part of Östersund’s district heating network and allows smoother operation of the CHP plant, so less biofuel is used and power production increases. Our restaurant marquee is heated using district heating straight from Arctura.
We are also proud to continue the environmental tradition of the 2008 Biathlon World Championships, which was the first one to be environmentally certified. This is one reason why we chose to train our drivers in eco driving. At the 2019 World Championships, all heavy vehicles – lorries and buses – will run on the green fuel HVO100 and all cars are either electric or plug-in hybrids. If the charge runs out, we make a climate compensation for the distance travelled.
Our sustainability plan is in line with the policy of our partner, the City of Östersund. Östersund was the first municipality in Sweden to be completely environmentally certified according to ISO 14001 and the second to be registered according to the EU standard, EMAS. The municipality has conducted systematic environmental management since the early 1990s and environmental certification can be regarded as its crowning glory. ISO 14001 is an international standard for the governance and quality assurance of an organisation and EMAS supplements this with requirements for an approved annual environmental audit.
A Bigger Biathlon World – this is our concept for societal and ethical sustainability. Its foundation is a society with equality, one where everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality, is welcomed and lives a life in good health. We would love more people to become involved in our sport and our events. Our volunteers have international backgrounds, which brings development based on diversity and a high level of tolerance, with the equal dignity of all people at its heart.
In addition to the abovementioned – and perhaps better-known – element of the sustainability cycle, we must also consume sustainably. We buy or rent what we absolutely need – but does everything have to be bought new? Can we purchase second-hand? Is it ‘nice to have’ or ‘need to have’? We often forget to ask that question of ourselves and those around us. And what we buy, we use for years to come.
We know that our events contribute to the development of biathlon throughout Sweden, but biathlon events also contribute to societal development in many ways. From an economic perspective, there are individual, organisational and societal gains but, however we look at it, economics must not be prioritised over environmental or societal issues. We believe that sports, events and championships must be conducted with human rights as their guiding light – on this, we will never compromise.
Once again – it should be easy to do the right thing!
The full text of our sustainability plan is currently being updated and will be published here soon.