2023 MPA Nominee –
Climate Statement – Elite Swiss Climbing National Team
An athlete driven initiative to align with the federation’s climate goals
The climate statement of the Elite Swiss Climbing athletes has the vision of reducing the impact of competitive sport on the environment. The measures chosen and outlined in the statement are effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but should not negatively impact athlete performance. With financial support of the Swiss Alpine Club’s competitive sports department, the measures to ensure sustainable implementation are supported.
View of UIAA MPA Assessor
This initiative is very interesting because the impact of sport climbing events on climate is relatively big. The fact that financial and staff resources of the Swiss Alpine Club have been allocated to fulfil the measures of the climate statement of the Elite Swiss Climbing National Team shows the commitment of the national federation and truly supports the athletes and coaches in their endeavour.
Vision, goals and aim of the project:
More details on the project + project status as per May 2023
This open-end project started in January 2023, when athletes and coaches of the elite Swiss Climbing National Team submitted a purely athlete driven climate statement, which was developed together with the environmental department of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). With athletes being in the lead of this initiative, it has a sustainable impact on their behaviour and the organisation of performance sport in Switzerland. The statement and outlined measures are perfectly in line with the climate strategy of the SAC to protect mountains and climbing areas.
The climate statement has the vision of reducing the impact of competitive sport on the environment. The measures chosen are effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but should not negatively impact athlete performance. The competitive sports department of the Swiss Alpine Club will provide financial support for the measures to ensure sustainable implementation.
The implementation of the statement is done annually by planning the season, the selection of athletes and competitions, and operational and strategic decisions in general. The season planning by the federation is supervised by athletes’ representatives who ensure the implementation of the climate statement. After each season the outcomes are reviewed and lessons learned.
Through the unique bottom-up approach similar to the “Fridays-for-future” movement, the Swiss Alpine Club motivated its athletes to express their needs to protect their future earth. The development of the statement was purely athlete driven and discussed extensively among themselves. The process and the final decision were done in a participatory and democratic process to ensure high level of commitment and self-management by all the athletes.
Within the statement, the Swiss National Team in sport climbing recognizes the fact that global warming caused by humans is already a very big problem and that elite sport, as it is practiced today, is part of the problem due to international travel and the holding of big events.
Among the measures highlighted within the statement are:
- Raising awareness of the problem – elite sport contributing to greenhouse gas emissions – to current and future athletes and coaches in the team.
- A laid out preference to travel to competitions by train or team bus if possible, provided that the effort is reasonable and the performance of athletes is not impaired as a result.
- If travel by plane is planned and an athlete would like to travel individually by train, the athletes request from the SAC to fully compensate the the journey by train.
- No more flying to training camps. These should only be organised at locations which can be reached by team bus or train.
- Whenever the team cooks for themselves, the food should generally be vegetarian. When shopping, attention is paid to the seasonality, locality and organic label of the products.
- Team clothing should be completely renewed every 3-4 years at most.The full statement can be viewed here.
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Please note that the content published in this article is courtesy of the Award nominee. The UIAA has made minor revisions to the original submission. To discover more about the UIAA Mountain Protection Award please click here.