We introduce our ambitious sustainability initiatives, reflecting our shared responsibility for the sport, society and the environment. At the heart of our strategy is a commitment to climate action and sustainable practices, underpinned by the International Biathlon Union's (IBU) robust Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030.
This sustainability map outlines our transformative journey towards minimizing environmental impacts, promoting sustainable sports events, and fostering community engagement. From innovative venue reconstruction and efficient snow management to our focus on local organizing talent and inclusive social programs and compensation measures.
The reconstruction of the Vysočina Arena, the top Czech biathlon and cross-country skiing venue hosting the WCH 2024, has been an extensive project that includes numerous improvements aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of the venue during international events as well as daily operations.
The key objects reconstructed include:
- Tribune E, which includes family club, wax cabins, permanent toilets, and 12 double-rooms for OC accommodation
- Additional complex of 16 wax cabins
- A new office building connected to the existing Office Area building
- Permanent sanitary facilities under the grandstands D
- New stadium and track LED lighting that requires 50% less power output
- Renovated electric network allowing for limited power back-ups via diesel generators
Venue renovation to implement best practices for sustainable sport events
These newly built permanent structures reduce the demand for transportation of mobile containers and other equipment, significantly lowering the local environmental impact and CO2 production. Notably only brownland was utilized for the reconstruction of the venue for the WCH 2024. No construction was built on green land, demonstrating that the reconstruction is being done with sustainability and responsible land use principles at the forefront.
The reconstruction of the venue for the WCH 2024 is expected to yield CO2 savings of an estimated 67 tons, which is a significant contribution to mitigating the event's overall carbon footprint. By realizing such savings, the Vysočina Arena venue not only lowers harmful emissions but also sets an example for sustainable event hosting.
The reconstructed Vysočina Arena shows the sports industry that sustainable event hosting is possible, not just an afterthought. With proper planning and implementation of eco-friendly technologies and practices, significant venues such as the Vysočina Arena can significantly reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing quality or competitiveness.
Resource-efficient snow management
At the Vysočina Arena, our approach to snow management is a testament to our commitment to sustainability and efficient resource use.
Key elements of our strategy include:
- Snow Storage Optimization: Our facility boasts a snow storage capacity of up to 60,000 m³. This significant capacity allows us to produce and store snow under optimal conditions for snowmaking, ensuring we are prepared for future winters.
- Enhanced Snowmaking System: We have upgraded our snowmaking system to increase snow production by 50%. This enhancement enables us to capitalize on optimal snowmaking temperatures, ensuring efficient use of resources while maintaining top-quality snow conditions.
- Compact Maintenance Strategy: To minimize snow loss during warm and wet winter periods, we implement a compact maintenance strategy. By keeping the snow compact until just before international competitions, we reduce the need for additional snow production. This strategy not only conserves resources but also maintains excellent conditions for biathlon and cross-country skiing training and national level competitions.
Through these measures, the Vysočina Arena balances high-standard competition requirements with environmental stewardship, showcasing a model for sustainable snow management in winter sports.
Sustainable synergies: The local touch
For the WCH 2024, the Organizing Committee (OC) made a bold commitment to sustainability by prioritizing the utilization of local resources. With 90% of the 700-strong organizing team residing within a mere 15 kilometers of the venue, the event celebrates the pinnacle of biathlon while championing a low-carbon footprint approach.
One of the pillars of this strategy lies in harnessing the power of local talent. By drawing from the surrounding community, the event minimizes the environmental impact associated with commuting and travel by the organizers. This conscious decision not only contributes to reducing carbon emissions but also fosters a sense of community engagement, pride, and ownership. Local team members bring a wealth of knowledge about the region, its unique challenges, and a deep connection to the community, all of which enrich the event in ways that extend beyond the competition itself.
The commitment to sustainability doesn't stop with the event's organizers. The OC has extended a welcoming hand to local businesses, providing them with a platform to directly participate in the Championships. This inclusive approach has created a symbiotic relationship between the event and the community. Catering services, local farmers, beer producers, marketing companies, and various other enterprises from the area have found an opportunity to showcase their products and services, thereby boosting the local economy.
Local businesses add a distinctive flavor to the event, figuratively and literally, and play a crucial role in reducing the overall environmental impact. The reduced need for long-distance transportation of goods and services cuts down on the carbon footprint associated with traditional event setups. This localized approach aligns seamlessly with the growing global emphasis on sustainable practices and responsible event management.
In essence, the WCH 2024 is not just a sporting spectacle; it is a model for sustainable event planning. By prioritizing local talent and businesses, the OC has laid the groundwork for a legacy of community collaboration and environmental responsibility. As the championships unfold, the world will witness the power of unity between sport and sustainability, setting an example for future international events to follow.
Social, youth oriented and inclusive offers
Nurturing tomorrow: Students' day out
The collaboration between the WCH 2024 and the Ministry of Education of the Vysočina Region provides an opportunity for up to 10'000 school children to witness a world-class sporting event firsthand. This partnership not only allows them to experience the excitement of high-level competition but also emphasizes the significance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
The provision of free entry on selected competition days by the event organizers is an initiative that opens a gateway for students to observe top-tier athletes in action while drawing inspiration for their own participation in sports activities.
Specifically designed for these school days, a variety of engaging on-site activities will promote physical activity, healthy living, and environmental awareness. Interactive stadium events and accompanying sports activities aim to impart valuable lessons about the benefits of an active lifestyle and the role that winter sports can play in fostering overall well-being. Furthermore, students will gain insights into how their individual choices and behaviors can contribute to environmental sustainability.
Beyond the educational aspects, the students' days out offer a chance for students to connect with their communities. Participation in a major sporting spectacle is not just a source of enjoyment; but serves as a platform for students to cultivate crucial life skills, such as teamwork, collaboration, and perseverance.
In essence, the collaboration between the WCH 2024 and the Ministry of Education of the Vysočina Region exemplifies how sports can actively promote healthy living and environmental sustainability. The offer of free entry is an incentive for schools to engage with this event, promising a valuable and inspiring experience for all those fortunate enough to attend.
Saving lives on and off the snow: Czech Biathlon Union's ongoing partnership with IKEM
Since 2016, the Czech Biathlon Union has been forging a powerful collaboration with the Czech Register for Donors of Hematopoietic Cells (IKEM), dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those in need. This meaningful partnership extends beyond marketing efforts, as it actively involves visitors of the IBU Biathlon World Cups in registering as potential donors.
In a continued commitment to this life-saving cause, the same practice is set to unfold at the WCH 2024. A dedicated registry office will be open throughout the event, providing a convenient opportunity for attendees to register and contribute to this noble project.
The collaboration underscores the Czech Biathlon Union's understanding of the profound impact sports can have beyond the field of play. By actively engaging the biathlon community and event attendees, they not only promote the donor registry but also create a platform for individuals to directly support a cause that can save lives.
The registry office at the invites participants to be part of something larger than themselves. Each registration is a potential lifeline for someone in need of hematopoietic cell donation, and exemplifies how sports events can serve as catalysts for positive change in the community.
As the WCH 2024 unfold, the Czech Biathlon Union invites all attendees to join hands in this life-affirming endeavor. By registering as donors, participants can make a lasting impact on the lives of those facing health challenges. Together, they not only celebrate the triumphs of the biathlon world but also contribute to a legacy of compassion and generosity that extends far beyond the snow-covered tracks.
Community engagement and support: Long-term charity partnerships
At the heart of our sustainability efforts lies a deep commitment to community engagement and support. We are proud of our enduring partnerships with two local charities:
- Pomněnka - Alzheimer Centre: Supported by our national biathlon team member Jonáš Mareček, the Pomněnka Alzheimer Center plays a crucial role in the local community. Our collaboration involves various projects hosted at the Vysočina Arena and leverages major sporting events to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care and research.
- Portimo - Comprehensive Social Services: Our alliance with Portimo encompasses a wide range of social services, including programs for children, youth, and families, as well as social rehabilitation and preventive initiatives. By integrating our events with Portimo's mission, we use the draw of large sporting events to support their vital work in the community.
These collaborations are integral to our sustainability roadmap, demonstrating our commitment to leveraging the power of sport to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around us.
Sustainable mobility concept
On the road to sustainability: Carpooling adventures
At the WCH 2024, we are steering towards a greener and more sustainable future by placing a special focus on mobility. Recognizing that travel is a significant contributor to environmental impact of our sport events, our primary initiative involves promoting carpooling to the venue, utilizing the BlaBlaCar carpooling website.
To bring a touch of humor and camaraderie to this eco-friendly endeavor, we are crafting a series of humorous clips. These clips highlight the practical benefits of shared drives, such as making new friends and having fun experiences, and underscore the positive environmental impact of reducing the number of individual vehicles on the road. Fewer cars mean less local and global impact, aligning with our commitment to responsible event hosting.
As a token of appreciation for those who choose the carpooling route, we plan to distribute souvenirs and showcase their commitment on large screens within the venue. This dual approach aims to celebrate and incentivize the use of carpooling as a sustainable transportation option.
Our hope is that by encouraging carpooling, we can significantly decrease the overall carbon footprint of the World Championships. Through this initiative, we not only address the environmental impact of travel but also foster a sense of community, fun, and shared responsibility among attendees. This way, we embark on a journey towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious celebration of biathlon excellence.
Seamless travel with shuttle connections
Besides promoting carpooling, we are dedicated to enabling sustainable journeyto the festivities. Recognizing the importance of efficient and eco-friendly travel, a direct shuttle bus connection is available between Žďár nad Sázavou railway station and the Vysočina Arena.
This initiative aims to provide a comfortable and convenient transportation option for visitors arriving by train, particularly those traveling from Czech Republic's two largest cities, Brno and Prague. As Žďár nad Sázavou sits on the main train line connecting these urban centers, the direct shuttle connection streamlines the travel experience for attendees while promoting sustainable commuting.
By offering a hassle-free connection from the railway station to the event venue, we encourage visitors to opt for train travel and help reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Championships. The free shuttle is a key step in making the journey to the event as seamless, enjoyable, and environmentally friendly as possible.
Resource conservation and waste management
Sustainable sip: reducing plastic waste
In another move towards sustainability, the WCH 2024 is adopting an exclusive use of reusable plastic cups - for visitors as well as organizers. With an anticipated attendance of more than 200'000 spectators during the 10 competition days, this eco-friendly initiative aims to curtail the environmental impact associated with disposable plastic cups.
The shift to reusable cups minimizes waste and lessens carbon emissions linked to their production. To encourage responsible consumption, a 100 CZK (ca. €4) deposit fee is introduced, motivating spectators to retain and return their cups at the event's conclusion.
This conscious choice is projected to save approximately 9 tons of plastic waste based on anticipated attendance and drink sales during the Championship. Despite the need for washing, reusable cups significantly reduce overall waste compared to disposable alternatives like paper, plastic, and Styrofoam. This effort results in a cleaner event area, conserves resources, and minimizes the event's environmental impact.
Promoting sustainability involves multifaceted approaches, and the transition to reusable cups is a pivotal step in aligning sports events with the principles of circular economy.
Waste-wise excellence: sustainable recycling practices
In a dedicated effort to champion environmental responsibility, the WCH 2024 is committed to comprehensive waste management, collaborating directly with the local municipality-owned company, "Technical Services" in Nové Město na Moravě. This strategic partnership ensures the efficient recycling of plastic (PET), cardboard/paper, glass, and mixed waste generated across team, media, and all OC areas during the event.
By enlisting the expertise of "Technical Services," a municipality-owned waste management entity, the championships are poised to manage and recycle tons of waste generated throughout various event zones. This collaborative approach actively contributes to the local community's waste reduction efforts while reinforces the Championships broader commitment to responsible event hosting and environmental stewardship.
Ecological compensation measures
Forest regeneration: A commitment to our natural playground
The local forests of Vysočina Highland, an integral part of our biathlon playground, have suffered significant damage due to wood beetle infestations. Recognizing the urgency of forest regeneration, we have actively participate in tree-planting efforts. Following the World Championships, we pledge to intensify our commitment by planting 10,000 trees over the next two years.
This initiative is not only about restoration but also about combating climate change. Each new tree plays a vital role in carbon sequestration. On average, a young, healthy tree can absorb about 22 pounds (10 kg) of CO2 annually. Over 40 years, a single tree can sequester approximately 1 ton of carbon. Our commitment to plant 10,000 trees translates into a significant long-term impact, potentially absorbing 220,000 pounds (100,000 kg) of CO2 each year, enhancing air quality and contributing to a healthier planet.
Looking ahead - next steps
The IBU World Championships 2013 in Nové Město na Moravě marked a significant turning point for biathlon in the Czech Republic. It was during this event that the sport captured the hearts of the Czech people and inspired a wave of enthusiasm among young athletes nationwide. The dedication of numerous individuals has been key in steadily advancing the sport, offering young athletes the chance to partake in a healthy lifestyle, enjoy nature, join a supportive community, and grow both athletically and personally.
The IBU World Championships 2024 is set to be another chapter in this ongoing narrative, aspiring not just for sporting success, but also for a positive impact on the Czech biathlon scene and the Vysočina Region as a whole. The goal is to contribute significantly to elite sport and event management, while laying a solid groundwork for the continuous growth of local communities and grassroots sports engagement.
However, the WCH 2024 is more than just a singular event; it's a step in our ongoing journey towards sustainability in major sports event organization. By adhering to the IBU Sustainability Charter, the Organizing Committee of the WCH 2024 and other events at the Vysočina Arena are dedicated to taking meaningful steps towards combating climate change, minimizing our environmental footprint, fostering sustainable development, conserving nature, and creating lasting, positive impacts for our community.
Stay tuned for more!