FIS and Lahti 2017 take on challenge of sustainable solutions

Sustainability issues such as climate change and natural resource scarcity place a significant threat to future generations’ ability to enjoy winter sports and compete in international championships. The Lahti 2017 Organisers took sustainability of the World Championships seriously and worked intensely to minimize the negative environmental impact of the event and enhanced positive ecological, cultural and social effect.

The sustainability slogan of the Lahti 2017 World Championships was ‘Not for 10 days, but for the next 100 years’ referred to how the actions of today impact the future.

Lahti 2017 Secretary General Janne Leskinen highlighted: “We have an opportunity to enhance sustainability in two ways: First by setting an example of how environmentally sustainable events are organised and two by influencing our stakeholders. Sustainability issues should be already in the negations and in the contracts with the partners.”

This was the core message on 3rd March when Lahti2017 and partners – Finnish Olympic Committee, Sitra (the Finnish Innovation Fund), Stora Enso and Protect Our Winters Finland – met with FIS to discuss sustainability in winter sports.

FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis stated: “FIS has a strong background and commitment to developing sustainability since the adoption of the Mainau Manifesto in 1994. The FIS World Championship Organisers since many editions have embraced sustainability and environment protection and Lahti 2017 has developed a template that will benefit future events and Organisers.”

Lahti 2017 Environmental Manager Maarit Virtanen agreed: “It is very important to us that the city of Lahti is green by nature and our active partner, for example by providing free public transport to our 2,700 volunteers and installing solar panels on the roof of the main stadium. Also, our presenting sponsor Stora Enso has put environmental solutions in the core of the partnership with us.

All attendees agreed that athletes have the power to engage with a wider audience, and in communicating sustainability telling a story is key. As Chairman of Protect Our Winters Finland, Niklas Kaskeala said: “We have engaged the athletes at  Lahti 2017 to tell the importance of saving winters from climate change. Winters are essential for athletes and their fans. Climate change is a threat to all of our lifestyles, not just the athletes.”

The Lahti 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships was awarded the EcoCompass environmental certificate on 24th February 2017.