World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24

World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 praised for sustainable delivery

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The World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 became the first event to be awarded platinum level recognition against the Athletics for a Better World (ABW) Standard, the evaluation system implemented by World Athletics this year that measures an event’s achievements in sustainable delivery.

The recognition came after a comprehensive evaluation by a team of international sustainability experts of the local organising committee’s approach to the event’s environmental and social impacts.

Efforts to include social impact and environmental sustainability into the delivery and legacy of the championships was a strong focus for event organisers who delivered initiatives.

  • More than 800 staff and volunteers received mental health training to help them deliver a mentally healthy event for themselves, athletes, officials and spectators. The project, developed by the event’s partner Scottish Action for Mental Health (SAMH), was a first of its kind for an event in Scotland.
  • Organisers also partnered with a food bank in the city’s east end to redistribute all excess food from the event – more than 1,000 meals – to forge a positive partnership that has set the path for future events at the Glasgow Arena.
  • Efforts to reduce the event’s carbon emissions included public transport partnerships, a catering menu with an extensive selection of plant-based options and awareness-raising events, panel discussions and activations in the months leading into and during the championships.
  • And, adding to the event’s legacy, a dedicated social impact project manager, hired for the local organising committee, will stay on to continue this work with the Glasgow Life events team with plans already underway to integrate positive social impacts into Glasgow’s wider event portfolio.

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow is extremely proud to have been recognised by World Athletics for its approach to social responsibility when hosting the World Athletics Indoor Championships last month.

“To achieve platinum level against the Athletics for a Better World Standard, the highest level ever awarded to an event host city, is a huge accolade. It’s testament to the vision, commitment and ambition of the Local Organising Committee led by Glasgow Life and UK Athletics.

“The team was committed to embedding sustainability into Glasgow’s plans to deliver a successful world-class event, without compromising the needs of our planet. Glasgow is increasingly recognised as a global leader on sustainability and this award gives us strong foundations for hosting future events.”

The ABW Standard consists of 55 action areas that address all levels of event delivery, measured in terms of how they align with the six pillars of the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy, which was released in 2020. Those areas include procurement, waste management, energy, food and water management, travel and accommodation planning. Diversity, accessibility and inclusion of staff and volunteers is also addressed, as is ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all participants.

The World Athletics Sustainability Report 2022-23 highlights the progress made on the ABW Standard since its unveiling in December 2021. Organisers of more than 300 one-day athletics competition series events and label road races have been introduced to the ABW Standard. Several dozen events piloted the Standard system in 2022 and more than 100 piloted elements of it in 2023, providing valuable input prior to its implementation on January 1 2024 when sustainability reporting became a mandatory component of World Athletics’ broader event evaluation process.

While reporting against the ABW Standard was not mandatory for the Glasgow competition, all World Athletics Series (WAS) events whose bids opened in the latter half of 2023 will be contractually obligated to commit to a high level of delivery. The 2027 World Championships in Beijing will be the first WAS event that will be required to deliver to a gold level achievement. Glasgow scored 108 of the 120 available points in the tiered ABW Standard to meet the platinum level threshold.

Ian Beattie, chair of UK Athletics and co-chair of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 Steering Group, said: “After staging an unforgettable World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24, it is fantastic news to hear the Championships has achieved platinum level against the Athletics for a Better World Standard with regards to sustainability. It is a credit to all the team working on the championships that they have achieved the highest standard possible and shown they are world-leading in this area.

“Not only was it a superb event on the track and in the field in Glasgow, but this outstanding event has shown how it can be delivered sustainably and be used as a model for future championships.”