The International Ski and Snowboard Federation announced today that for the second consecutive season it is leading the way as a Climate Positive international sports federation through its FIS Rainforest Initiative.
First announced last autumn, the FIS Rainforest Initiative offsets the FIS carbon footprint many times over by funding rainforest conservation projects, initially in the Peruvian Ashaninka communities in the Amazonas.
“Our commitment to being a Climate Positive sport is a long-term, year-in, year-out priority,” said FIS President Johan Eliasch. “I believe we have all seen first-hand the impact that increasing temperatures are having not only on the climate, but on our ability to stage competitions. Being Climate Positive must remain our duty if we want to continue to be the biggest organizers of outdoor winter sports.”
In order to be Climate Positive, FIS carried out an internal audit to measure its carbon footprint across all competitions. Based on the data received, FIS was then able to estimate the overall footprint across thousands of events, from the biggest World Cup weekends to individual FIS-level races.
“It was important to me to include the complete picture in our carbon footprint audit,” continued Eliasch. “While our World Cup weekends generate the most media interest, there are literally thousands of other FIS events that also have an impact on the environment and must be included in the calculation if we truly want to be Climate Positive organization.”
Through its Rainforest Initiative, FIS then helps to prevent future deforestation equivalent to many times the estimated carbon emissions that FIS activities generate each year.
Rainforest is essential to all life. Its central role in the oxygen and water cycles is critical for food and water security and preventing extreme weather events. It is also the world’s most important terrestrial store of carbon. Without it, global temperatures are estimated to be at
least six degrees higher and many regions would be uninhabitable. Keeping this carbon sink intact is a top priority - and FIS is committed to providing funding for its Rainforest Initiative.
Through this initiative, FIS has gone one step further than buying carbon credits from historic initiatives. Instead, the organisation is proactively contributing to reducing deforestation with an all-encompassing sustainable avoided deforestation project that fully funds partnerships with the Ashaninka nation in Peru, and is investing not only in preventing deforestation, but also in healthcare, schools, women’s enterprise, cacao production and community assets.
The Rainforest Initiative is part of the three-tiered process that FIS is engaging in for the long-term: ‘Measure, Educate, Reduce’.
Measure: The next step of the project will be to conduct an annual survey with FIS Event organizers to obtain the most accurate carbon footprint data for each season, with the survey sent out at the end of the season.
Educate: Based on the results of the survey, organizers will be provided with a toolkit giving practical tips on how to reduce their carbon footprint across a range of areas.
Reduce: A reward program will be put in place to recognize the FIS organizers that make the biggest strides in reducing their carbon footprint from one season to the next.
Every year, based on the results of the survey, FIS will identify suitable projects to protect the world’s rainforests and their communities. 100% of the funding provided by the FIS Rainforest Initiative will be deployed locally to benefit the indigenous communities living in the rainforest.
In addition to working with the organizers, FIS will also continue to work as the governing body to find the most effective methods to reduce the carbon footprint of FIS. As stated in the FIS Statutes, “FIS shall use all reasonable efforts to conduct its activities in an environmentally friendly manner, to the extent reasonably possible, minimise its carbon footprint and aim to have a carbon neutral footprint through carbon offset mechanisms.” Additionally, as part of signing with the Sports for Climate Action Framework, FIS has pledged to halve its “direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions” by 2030.