Last week FIS President Johan Eliasch attended the 11th Olympic Summit in Lausanne, joining other leading members of the Olympic Movement to discuss critical issues and plan for the future. Following the summit, President Eliasch was pleased to highlight two key points in its Final Declaration: the commitment of the IOC and the Olympic Movement to improving the sustainability of the Winter Games; and the importance of the Olympics as a force for peaceful co-operation, especially in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On the question of sustainability, the IOC Executive Board had earlier decided to give the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games more time to explore issues such as rotating the Games and using ‘climate-reliable’ locations. President Eliasch spoke in favour of a rotation of the Winter Games, starting in 2030, as this would have several clear benefits: Olympics venues would be re-used, the venues would be ripe for more long-term investment, allowing them to be modernised in a sustainable way; and such venues could be supported by Olympic IFs with more events and competitions in the ‘fallow’ years between Olympics.
“I am grateful to the IOC and President Bach for their efforts to take the consequences of climate change into account when choosing the hosts of the Winter Olympics, and for their willingness to implement the Games in the most climate-friendly way possible,” said Eliasch. “We in the Olympic Movement have an extraordinary platform, and the power to influence billions of people who are engaged by sports. From this platform we can demonstrate to the world how large-scale events can be conducted in a way that is sustainable and mindful of our impact on the climate. There is a clear ‘win’ to be had in rotating the Winter Games because long-term, it would drastically cut down on the carbon emissions created by these events.”
“At FIS we are taking the question of sustainability extremely seriously. For two years in a row, we have been the first Climate Positive sport, with our carbon footprint measured and off-set many times over by projects FIS is funding in the Amazonian rainforest. We are fully committed to the climate protection agenda – and so we are delighted to see the IOC’s clear engagement and ambition on this issue.”
FIS is also fully supportive of the IOC's initiative to seek the adoption of the UN Resolution “Sport as an enabler of sustainable development” by the United Nations General Assembly on 1 December 2022.
“The adoption of the UN resolution is an extraordinary achievement by the IOC leadership”, said Eliasch. “The clear statements about international sports being conducted in a spirit of peace underline the power and purpose of the Olympic Movement. The Games must remain a neutral space where dispute, division and political differences can be set aside, and where our common humanity can be celebrated. All federations, athletes and sports fans should be appreciative of the IOC and President Thomas Bach, for clarifying what matters. This initiative is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize – and we at FIS fully support the relevant recommendations.”