The Client: International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF)
The Brief: In April 2014, the ISMF was granted provisional IOC-recognition following a decision by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board.
As one part of the plan to help pursue full IOC recognition, the ISMF called on the AISTS to join its Sustainability Commission to define a set of sustainability initiatives for its 2015 World Championships in Verbier, which would also provide concrete guidelines and a sustainability blueprint for all future ISMF sport events.
The initial stages of the project involved the AISTS contributing to a working group made up of various stakeholders to help brainstorm potential sustainability initiatives to deliver a successful as well as sustainable event.
These initiatives were then defined, classified and prioritised based on the objectives of the different stakeholders of the World Championships.
The next step then involved the drafting of a useable document outlining 19 agreed sustainability objectives (social, environmental and economic) along with respective performance indicators and references to additional resources for use by the local organising committee.
During the 2015 World Championships in the resort town of Verbier, representatives from the AISTS and Swiss Olympic partnered up to collect data on-site to gauge how well each of the 19 sustainability objectives were met. The AISTS collected the following data:
- Survey responses from spectators in both French and English
- Anecdotal and quantitative information from representatives of the Verbier 2015 Organising Committee
- Photographic documentation of the sustainability initiatives
The end result:
- The ISMF gained a comprehensive 360 degree understanding of the sustainability strengths and weaknesses of its World Championship event
- The majority of the sustainability objectives were achieved, with information also collected to help support recommendations for future improvements
- A concrete set of Sustainability Guidelines for the ISMF were developed by the AISTS and approved by the ISMF General Assembly in June 2015, using the SSE Toolkit as reference
- The world Championship event organisers conducted a self-assessment prior to the event, using profilEVENT from ecosport.ch, gaining a very high score. This assessment was audited by representatives of ecosport.ch (Swiss Olympic) following their visit to the World Championships.
- The ISMF reached its objective of becoming an IOC recognised federation
- Full results of the Sustainability of the ISMF World Championships can be found here
- Being an integral part of the ISMF’s sustainability strategy and roadmap
- Getting really creative with some of the sustainability initiatives, including using a drone for filming the event and providing vests to volunteers and athletes made out of recycled PET-bottles
- Showing ISMF as an example for small to mid-size federations that sustainability can be achieved in meaningful ways
- Witnessing World Champion, Jornet Kilan, giving his own gold medal to the winner of the ISMF race for mentally-disabled children.
- Hitting the slopes of Verbier wasn’t a bad gig either!
Words from ISMF:
As a smaller-sized international sport federation, with limited resources, the area of sustainability can often be overlooked in among other strategic imperatives. However, we also understand that the area of sustainability can no longer be treated as a secondary objective in this highly competitive industry.
We sought to become an International Olympic Committee recognised federation. One major aspect of the plan to becoming recognised was improving key areas, including raising the performance and understanding of sustainability.
The value of working with the AISTS is not only their level of expertise and experience in sustainability, but for an an organisation like ours, it was their pragmatism in creating and implementing sustainability strategies that are realistic for small to medium federations to achieve, while still demonstrating that international standards such as GRI – a reporting standard – can still be equally applicable and beneficial.
As a direct result of working with the AISTS team, the ISMF was granted official IOC recognition status. The high collaboration and work made by the AISTS has been more than satisfying-