International Biathlon Union President Olle Dahlin claimed the Sustainability Report shows its commitment to "transparency and openness" ©Getty Images

International Biathlon Union (IBU) President Olle Dahlin has declared himself "proud" of the organisation's achievements following the publication of its first Sustainability Report.

In September 2020, the International Federation launched its Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030.

By the end of the current decade, it aims to become carbon neutral and reduce biathlon's carbon footprint by 50 per cent, identifying three levels at which to influence change - the IBU itself, its events and the global biathlon family.

Climate, sport, awareness and communication, people, and venue and event have been recognised as focus areas.

The first report covers the period from October 1 2020 until September 30 2021, a timeframe chosen to "better align to the operational needs of the competition season".

It highlights key achievements in each of the five focus areas.

"As I reflect on another challenging year, I’m proud of what the IBU has achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic," Dahlin said.

"I am convinced that we are where we are thanks to the collective efforts of our global biathlon family.

"I also believe that it is this very approach that will help us protect our planet and save our snow for future generations."

While the 2020-2021 season took place without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, initial calculation of events' carbon dioxide emissions took place as a step towards reducing biathlon's carbon footprint.

Two of the IBU's 60 National Federations (NFs) have joined the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework or committed to a carbon management programme.

The IBU is aiming to reduce biathlon's carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030 ©Getty Images
The IBU is aiming to reduce biathlon's carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030 ©Getty Images

A target of 50 per cent of the IBU NFs following suit has been set for 2030.

On the sport side, the IBU reported on the banning of wax products containing C8 fluorocarbons at its events, enforced through written pledges from NFs and their service partners and spot checks.

Earlier this month, this was extended to a ban on all ski preparation products containing fluor from the 2022-2023 season.

For awareness and communication, the Biathlon Climate Challenge was referenced.

This programme in April and May 2021 involved almost 8,000 people, with 100,000 trees planted in Madagascar.

The IBU Athlete Ambassador programme was also cited as a means to drive awareness and education.

In the people focus area, the IBU cited the launch of its Gender Equality Policy and Strategy in early 2021, featuring several objectives to be reached by 2026, and a revamp of the National Federation Development Support programme to provide more targeted funding for sustainability, gender equality and athlete recruitment projects.

For venues and events, IBU World Championships candidates for 2024 and 2025 were required to outline sustainability plans for the first time, with Nové Město na Moravě awarded the first of those events and Lenzerheide the latter.

The IBU's Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030 is targeted at three levels and five focus areas ©IBU
The IBU's Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030 is targeted at three levels and five focus areas ©IBU

Swedish official Dahlin claimed the Sustainability Report demonstrated the IBU's commitment to providing clarity on its goals.

"The IBU aims to be a leader in the sport industry when it comes to sustainability," he said.

"This inaugural Sustainability Report demonstrates that transparency and openness are key to us as we work to meet our commitments of being climate neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2040."

He also suggested that future reports would provide more rigorous analysis on the IBU's progress in the field of sustainability.

"We are still in the early phases of implementing our long-term strategy and growing awareness among our stakeholders about how we can become better custodians of the planet," Dahlin said.

"As we mature in our approach to sustainability, we will also further improve our measurement and data collection and provide even better analysis and reports on our progress."

The IBU has vowed to pay particular attention to making the sport energy-efficient and implementing "sustainability mobility options" for transport.

"Internally at the IBU, each department has a clear role in implementing the IBU Sustainable Strategy 2020-2030 and has several projects underway," IBU secretary general Niklas Carlsson reflected.

"Each department has also identified a change agent whose task it is to ensure that everyone is aware of their sustainability tasks, priorities, and commitments, such as reducing departmental travel emissions by a minimum of five per cent annually.

"The IBU is committed to inspiring the global biathlon family to work together to limit global warming in accordance with the Paris Agreement to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030."