The long-term European Para Championships vision is to establish a groundbreaking standard in global Paralympic sports. In all conceivable aspects. To achieve this, we recognized the vital importance of creating a sustainable sporting event in the most comprehensive way possible. This meant conscientiously considering our 2023 event’s impact on the planet, which we believe is crucial in setting a new standard in the broadest sense of the word.
In 2023, we partnered with More2Win, a social enterprise dedicated to transforming the world of sports and making societal impact through sports a common practice. Together, we aimed to conduct the European Para Championships with sustainability at the forefront. More2Win joined our organization team and played a key role in researching and releasing a sustainability report for EPC2023 and contributed to shaping the sustainability policy leading up to and during the event.
Here are the most relevant and interesting outcomes from the Sustainability Report on EPC2023, along with the key measures implemented:
Objectives & Approach
Our primary sustainability objective for EPC2023 was two-fold: to make sustainable choices wherever possible and to use the event as a learning opportunity for future editions. A dedicated sustainability manager was appointed to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan, guide decision-making processes, and conduct post-event assessments. The entire European Para Championships team actively engaged in the sustainability initiative.
Most Important Steps Taken
- Collaboration with team heads to devise a reduction plan, considering impact, costs, feasibility, and visibility.
- Comprehensive communication strategy centered around sustainability themes.
- Collaboration with partners, including Rotterdam Ahoy and JOGG, for sustainable and health-conscious catering choices.
- Offering free public transport across Rotterdam for athletes, officials, crew, and volunteers.
- Repurposing purchased materials, prioritizing functionality and sustainability.
- Use of sustainable energy sources, primarily green electricity from Ahoy’s solar panels.
- Extensive communication of sustainability initiatives to diverse target groups.
Conclusion & Lessons Learned
In 2023, our focus was on learning and taking initial steps toward hosting a more sustainable sports event. We celebrated successful endeavors, acknowledged challenges faced, and highlighted areas for improvement in our continuous journey towards sustainability. Valuable lessons were learned, offering insights for the forthcoming host city.
- Successful implementation of sustainability actions in areas like catering, transportation, and material repurposing.
- The importance of unconventional choices, such as a fully plant-based VIP dinner, in setting a precedent.
- Acknowledgment of the need to set specific sustainability targets and integrate sustainability from the start for future editions.
The Road to 2027 and Beyond
While our ultimate goal is not yet reached, our ambition is to take further strides toward a more sustainable future. To achieve this, we plan to:
- Establish a comprehensive long-term sustainability ambition for the European Para Championships.
- Set tangible sustainability targets for the upcoming edition.
- Seek partnerships aligned with sustainability goals.
- Collaborate closely with the host city to address unique challenges in achieving sustainability objectives.
- Focus on travel and transport, energy, food, and beverage choices in new locations.
- Boldly communicate sustainability aspirations to inspire and encourage knowledge-sharing.
As we reflect on our accomplishments, we are poised and eager to surpass these milestones in the European Para Championships future editions 2027, 2031, aiming to be a model for international sporting events.
Our goal is not just to lead but to encourage others to join us in protecting the future of our planet!