Olympic Sports Making Slow Progress on Environmental Sustainability, Study Finds


Most International Federations in this summer’s Olympics are taking minimal if any action at all on climate and the environment, a new study has found.

Research from the University of Exeter Business School and the University’s Global Systems Institute examined and ranked the progress on environmental sustainability made by each of the 32 Olympic-recognised International Federations – representing 47 sports – since 2010. It found only four International Federations had any kind of strategic plan on environmental sustainability.

Sports with a close relationship to the natural environment were found to be making most progress, with World Sailing coming out on top.

In corporate communications World Sailing’s use of terms such as ‘sustainability’ was found to be genuine and not ‘green washing’, and there was also evidence the Federation was involved in environmental initiatives and had sustainability guidelines for events. It was also found to have an organisation-wide strategy and objectives related to environmental sustainability, as well as an accountability system to ensure the strategy was being implemented.

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