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Sustainability at World Championships Budapest 23 – what to expect

With sustainability taking on an increasingly important role in the delivery of its events, World Athletics has teamed with the organisers of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 to create a series of initiatives to help reduce the event’s environmental impact and enhance its social impact.

Some of what you can expect over the next two weeks in Budapest:

An LOC first

Organisers of the championships are the first to fully embrace the Athletics for a Better World standard, the system developed by World Athletics that advises and evaluates an event on its sustainable delivery. The LOC’s efforts will provide critical input towards the creation of a sustainability baseline for future editions of the World Championships.

Locally, the LOC’s sustainability ambitions are driven by two overarching legacy goals: to create a health and wellbeing legacy by motivating Hungarians to be more active through incentive programmes linked to the World Athletics Championships and to create a tangible urban regeneration legacy.

Organisers broke ground on an urban forest regeneration project in April, the launch of what will become a network of World Athletics Championships Legacy Forests around the world. A comprehensive waste management plan has also been put in place along with a campaign urging spectators to use public transportation to attend the championships. The use of water refill stations in the broadcast compound and media centre is expected to eliminate 342,000 single-use plastic bottles from the event. An extensive plan to increase accessibility, diversity and inclusion at the event through a special charity programme has also been implemented.

Paperless Congress

Another notable first is that this year’s World Athletics Congress (16-17 August) will be the first to be held in a primarily digital format. That will eliminate the use of at least 182,110 sheets of A4 paper, roughly the equivalent of 18 15-metre-tall pine trees, or the carbon emissions produced by three round trip flights between Nice and London Heathrow.

Live streamed panel discussions

The impacts of climate change on our sport and communities, and solutions that sporting event organisers and hosts can implement to address those impacts, are topics that will be examined during two panel discussions in Budapest.

Sport on the Climate Change Front Lines
Monday 21 August, 4-5pm, stadium press conference room

The panel will include team delegation members from five Pacific Island nations that are most at risk from the impacts of climate change and will likely be rendered uninhabitable in the next 50-80 years.

The panel begins at 4:00pm CEST and will be live streamed on this page and on the World Athletics X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn platforms. The panel is open to all accredited people attending the World Championships.

Building Collaborations for Sustainable Events
Friday 25 August, 2:30-3:30pm, ASICS House

The panel, composed of leading practitioners, researchers and scholars working at the intersection of sport and sustainability, will:

· review and examine the ambitions of World Athletics and the Budapest LOC around delivering an event in alignment with the World Athletics sustainability strategy;
· discuss the role of major events in setting strong examples around sustainable delivery; and
· discuss collaborations and partnerships and the expectations of partners and sponsors around sustainability at major events.

The one-hour discussion begins at 2:30pm CEST and will be live streamed on this page and on the World Athletics X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn platforms. The panel is open to all accredited people attending the World Championships, but space is limited. Advance registration is mandatory via

Green zone – activities and athlete appearances

The local organising committee has created a designated Green Zone in the stadium park which will host sustainability awareness-raising activities for spectators, daily quizzes (and prizes) and meet & greets with athletes over the course of the championships.

A regularly updated schedule of athlete appearances and activities is here.

Active mobility project and study

An active mobility study, coordinated jointly by the Health & Science Department and Sustainability team, will measure the benefits of active travel – in this case mostly cycling, but also walking – at large sporting events.

By tracking the project participants’ commutes, the study will measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are avoided and the effect that active inter-modal transportation has on local motor vehicle traffic. It will also evaluate how active mobility by staff working at an event can reduce its environmental impact. Measuring benefits to health and wellbeing are another focus of the project.

The Health & Science team will also provide real time heat index and air quality updates to athletes and team delegations.

Credit: World Athletics

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