The annual AISTS Sustainable Sport and Events Open Module came to a close yesterday at the Synathlon.  The two-day seminar was attended by 52 participants who heard from 10 expert speakers on the hot topic of sustainability in sport. 

This was the 12th edition of the long-standing AISTS Open Module.  The seminar was attended by the class of 2018, along with various participants from numerous International Federations and other sport event’s organisers.  Geert Hendriks, the AISTS Head of Projects, commenced the module providing participants with a current overview on the topic of sustainability in the sports world. In an engaging discussion with the participants, he helped the group exploring how sustainability has progressed from “doing something good” to adding value and reducing risks.

Other speakers also included Christian Stamm from FIFA who presented the 3-step approach that FIFA uses towards sustainability – understand the context, implement a strategy, close and report on your efforts.

Julia Pallé from Formula E, who specialises in reducing the carbon footprint of the Championship and ensuring that they leave a positive impact on the cities they visit, spoke this year of the very controversial step that the FAI has made recently in regards to gender equality, replacing the “grid girls” with grid kids. 

Bartel Berkhout, founder of Nyenrode Sports and Jérôme Lachaze, Head of Sustainability during the bidding phase of Paris to become the host city of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games also presented their viewpoints in regards to leadership and events.   

Day two kicked off with Omar Mitchell, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility of the National Hockey League (NHL) in the USA who posed the question to the participants. 

Sport has a responsibility to address social issues, but what role does the governing body play in this?

Omar also emphasized that it is important to be able to express a sustainability message in multiple “languages” to multiple target groups and to ensure that their sustainability programmes connect with the overall objectives of the sport. 

Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Program Leader for the Volvo Ocean Race joined us for the first time this year.  The Volvo Ocean Race has been in existence for 45 years and attracts a huge audience, worldwide.  The sustainability efforts of the race are a core pillar of the Volvo Ocean Race strategy.  The Volvo Ocean Race takes place in 12 host cities, in 4 oceans, over 5 continents, and last 260 days.  You can take a look this iconic race here and also their sustainability programme below.

The afternoon speakers were Lauren Murphy, who worked for Eurosport at the recent Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang and Lise Van Long from the International Olympic Committee. 

The module concluded with a panel discussion and final viewpoints from various speakers who were present during the second day of the module and concluded with the challenge to the participants to create meaningful programmes and initiatives which create value.   

The next AISTS Open Module will occur in October and will focus on sport event management and organisation.  For more information about the AISTS Open Module please click here