IWGA launches new Sustainability Strategy. GETTY IMAGES

The International World Games Association (IWGA) has launched a new Sustainability Strategy for the World Games, reinforcing its commitment to the environment.

World Environment Day, celebrated internationally on 5 June, is the result of a long-running United Nations initiative to promote global awareness and action to protect the planet in all sectors, including sport.

In a context of climate challenges and global warming, the IWGA has developed a Sustainability Strategy aimed at improving the environmental, economic and social impact of the Games.

This initiative undoubtedly aligns with the Association's values of Excellence, Sustainability and Inclusion, seeking to improve the quality and legacy of the Games, although it should be noted that it also aims to demonstrate leadership in global projects that seek to solidify the term 'sustainability'.

Relations with the OECD

The strategy, introduced in April 2024 and officially presented at the Annual General Assembly in Esslingen, Germany, on 1 May, follows the pillars of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In addition, all of this will be achieved through a holistic and sustainable approach to the planning and organisation of international sporting events.

The plan highlights the benefits of measuring the impact of these events - such as improved reporting and transparency - demonstrating added value for stakeholders; generating community participation, and creating a lasting legacy, among other objectives. Also, the strategy is structured around a framework of 16 economic, environmental, and social impact indicators derived from OECD guidelines.

The direction to take...

With its eyes fixed on the horizon, the IWGA has already begun working with the Local Organising Committee of the World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China, with a view to implementing this strategy and strengthening it in the following years.

The specific Sustainability Plan for the 2025 Games is expected to be published in August 2024. In addition, the World Games' own governing body will work closely with the future host city, Karlsruhe (Germany), as well as its member International Federations, seeking to encourage change and follow the recommendations carried out in its Sustainability Plan.

Paris 2024 Organising Committee President Tony Estanguet (C) speaks during a press conference. GETTY IMAGES
Paris 2024 Organising Committee President Tony Estanguet (C) speaks during a press conference. GETTY IMAGES

Paris 2024, ‘greenest’ Games in history?

With this commitment, the IWGA not only seeks to improve the World Games, but one of its keys is to contribute significantly to global efforts for a greener world.

The World Games differ from the Olympic Games in that host cities are not obliged to build new venues or facilities for the Games. There are other differences in the criteria for selecting competitors, the duration of the competition itself, and the disciplines and sports practised.

The two events do have much in common with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games setting the path for the World Games. In addition to avoiding and committing to halving the carbon footprint, the French host city is focusing its sustainability strategy on incorporating offsets, investing in environmental and social projects around the world.