ASAP project among IOC Sustainability Case Studies 2020

In the development phase of the ASAP project proposal as well as in the first phase of its implementation, the ASAP team has relied heavily on the existing expertise of other Olympic movement organisation, in particular of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC Sustainability Essentials as well as the Sustainability case studies gathered over the period 2017-2019 have served not only as inspiration, but also as essential guidance in preparing the structure of both the forthcoming three sustainability strategies (NOCs of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia), and the ASAP Sustainability Strategy Creation Roadmap.

All the more delighted was the ASAP Team to have learnt that the IOC decided include the project amongst the 2020 Sustainability Case studies. The twenty new case studies, among which only two NOC-lead initiatives, were unveiled during the IOC IF Sustainability Session, which also saw twenty Olympic Movement organisations (15 International Sports Federations and 5 NOCs) being awarded with this year’s Carbon Action Awards of the IOC and DOW.

The ASAP project case study highlights one of the most important elements and building blocks of the project, which is partnership and mutual learning: “The programme is designed to catalyse the power of partnerships in the pursuit of sustainable development. While the programme has a direct goal of bridging the gaps between mentors and mentees and support the creation of concrete strategies, it was also designed to leave a positive legacy that can be leveraged, and even replicated, by other organisations on a global scale.”

The ASAP project team looks forward to further developing this dimension and to sharing project’s outputs and experiences with a wide (sport organisations) audience.

Third ASAP meeting: intensive, fruitful, and inspiring

Even though the ASAP team could not meet in person, the third project gathering, taking place on 26-28 October 2020, turned out to be a successful one.

Thanks to efficient online communications tools, the main agenda points and the rationale of the meeting remained unchanged. After a warm welcome by Karin Fehres, German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB)’s Executive Board Member for Development of Sports, Mentee NOCs (Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia) presented news regarding the preparation of their respective sustainability strategies. As each mentee organisation follows somewhat different path due to the varied roles, structures and positions in their countries, the exchange was very beneficial in bringing forward various mechanisms and collaboration tools used by the mentees, which can serve as an inspiration to others. In this respect, the varied elements will also feature in the forthcoming ASAP Sustainability Strategy Creation Roadmap and in the three case studies.

The second meeting block started with an interactive session, where mentees, with the help of their mentors, focused on the why’s and how’s of the creation process of an effective action plan. Following the logical sequence of a strategy building process, the next topic on the agenda was “sustainability management in sport”. The ASAP team was very happy to welcome to the meeting IOC Senior sustainability manager, Julie Duffus, who not only presented the main points outlined in the new IOC “Sustainability Management in Sport” guide, but also took participants through the most important aspects pertaining to the ISO 20121 management standard. To conclude the intensive meeting block, participants discussed the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework with Ms. Duffus, who encouraged them to follow the example of the NOC and Denmark (ASAP mentor), which has recently become a signatory to the Framework.

In the last part of the meeting, DOSB sustainability expert and ASAP Team member, Bianca Quardokus, shared with her colleagues the latest news regarding the implementation of the DOSB Sustainability strategy, while her colleague, Karten Dufft, outlined the main initiatives and aspects of the DOSB’s longstanding work in the area of “sport in nature”.

Originally planned to be hosted by the DOSB at its headquarters in Frankfurt, the meeting had to be transferred into an online environment due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in partner countries.

The next ASAP team meeting is envisaged to take place in April 2021 in Helsinki.

Sustainable sport infrastructure on the project agenda

According to recent studies, buildings consume around 40% of EU’s energy and are the single largest energy consumer in Europe. They emit 36% of EU’s CO2 emissions. Almost 75% of the building stock, including a large number of sport facilities, is energy inefficient.

In this context, and in the context of the European Union’s increasing climate ambition, sustainable and green construction, reconstruction, and management of sport infrastructure presents not only a challenge for many countries, but also a great opportunity. Even though this topic may not be a direct subject of (future) sustainability strategies of the ASAP project partners, it is of outmost importance for most countries in Europe as the general state, including energy efficiency and accessibility, of sport infrastructure is often unsatisfactory.

This is why, following the example of a seminar on this topic organised by SK NOC, the ASAP team decided to invite one of the most prominent experts on the topic, Prof. Dr. Natalie Essig, Head of Institute for Building Climatology at the Faculty of Architecture of the Munich University of Applied Sciences, to talk about the basic concepts pertaining to sustainable sport infrastructure and to introduce its advantages.

Over twenty participants representing Olympic movement organisations (NOCs, IOC, EOC EU Office), International Sport Federations (FIFA) and national-level institutions took part in the very useful journey through the history of sport infrastructure, the challenges it currently faces, the relevant sustainability assessment methods, and finally, through the sustainable criteria for sport facilities. Going well beyond environmental and ecological aspects, the framework of sustainable sport infrastructure criteria, as presented by Prof. Essig, is comprehensive and takes into account the whole life cycle of the infrastructure as well as its impact on people, planet and the economy:

    ·Ecological quality (energy, water, materials, area consumption, recycling etc.)

    ·Social and functional quality (comfort, health, user-friendliness, barrier-free accessibility, multi-functionality etc.)

    ·Economical quality (life-cycle costs, economic efficiency etc.)

    ·Technical characteristics (fire protection, acoustics, building shell, deconstruction, maintenance etc.)

    ·Process quality (master planning, integral planning, tender process, construction site, monitoring etc.)

    ·Site quality (risks, transport etc.)

    ·Sport-functional quality (integration into existing urban structure, re-use, sport-functional aspects, user quality etc.)

While applying the whole set of criteria may be impossible for small infrastructural projects, especially those at grassroots level, all new construction and reconstruction initiatives can, and indeed, should be look at through the sustainability lenses, even if it means that only the basic criteria are taken into account (see below). Every step, not matter how big, counts.