The International Canoe Federation took another major step towards making their events environmentally sustainable with a successful pilot event at the junior and U23 canoe sprint world championships in Pitesti, Romania, last week.

The event was a wonderful example of collaboration between the ICF, the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS), the host organisers, athletes, officials and volunteers. 

It followed a successful launch of the program last year at a canoe slalom world cup in Augsburg, Germany.

“This was the first time we have tested our sustainability program at a canoe sprint event, and we are absolutely thrilled with the results,” ICF sustainability manager, Catherine Wieser, said.

“We were excited when the Romanian Canoe Federation expressed a desire to host this pilot project, and were impressed by their level of enthusiasm before and during the event.

“We hosted a workshop with Pitesti in April, which was attended by the local Mayor, members of the host organising committee, athletes and local media.

“It was also important for us to be able to tap into our younger members of the canoeing community, who tend to be very environmentally aware. The feedback was very positive and we are confident we have built a platform for events for the future.”

Among the highlights of the program was the use of locally sourced produce and products, a water refill station at the course to encourage the use of reusable bottles, and using reusable glasses in areas like the VIP room.

During competition, more than 1000 lunches were served to athletes each day, all on reusable plates and using reusable cutlery. Vegetarian food was available, which was widely appreciated by spectators who were surveyed by ICF staff.

To eliminate unnecessary printing, a local vendor was engaged to work at the course to print shirts, banners, signage and souvenirs. The printing was provided on demand, reducing costs and transport for organisers.

“During the event we carried out more than 160 surveys, targeting athletes, volunteers and spectators,” Geert Hendriks, on-site representative of AISTS, said.

“We wanted to hear their thoughts on how we could make events more environmentally sustainable, what feelings they had about the work that was done at the event in Pitesti, and what is considered as important for future canoeing events.

“We will collate all the results over the coming days, but an initial analysis gave us a lot of insight on what has  already been done. We are very grateful for the work carried out by the Romanian Federation to make this pilot project such a success.”

The ICF will run a similar pilot project at the 2019 canoe slalom and wildwater world championships in La Seu, Spain.


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