ThinkSport, together with the Sustainable Mountain Alliance (SMA) and the Sustainable Sport Lab (SSL) announced a new Challenge which looks for innovative solutions that promote and enhance biodiversity conservation, with an actual or potential link with sport. The Sports for Nature Challenge succeeds last year’s Air Quality & Sport Challenge that generated viable and creative solutions for the sports world.
Protecting biodiversity can help people to adapt to climate change, ensuring health and food security, with healthy ecosystems becoming more resilient to climate change. Conserved or restored habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to address climate change by storing carbon. Ultimately, by halting and reversing biodiversity loss, a nature-positive world may be achieved by 2030 for the benefit of the planet and the people.
The Sports for Nature Challenge is powered by Sails of Change, a foundation dedicated to the protection and regeneration of biodiversity, created by sportswoman, investor and philanthropist Dona Bertarelli, her husband Yann Guichard, and her children. Sails of Change’s activities focus on the goal of fully or highly protecting at least 30% of global land and ocean by 2030.
“Often, we do not understand how fragile our planet is, our impact on nature, or what practical steps we can take to preserve biodiversity,” said Dona Bertarelli. “Sails of Change was founded to raise environmental awareness and to promote positive change. We’re delighted to support the Sports for Nature Challenge, which can play a vital role in spotlighting ideas, actions and solutions to help individuals and organisations become nature positive.”
Sports organisations, startups, established companies, not-for-profit organisations, academic and public institutions and other stakeholders had until 14 March 2023 to submit here their solutions for the sports ecosystem within the following categories:
- Impactful campaigns that promote biodiversity protection, increase knowledge and help enforce legal and statutory biodiversity requirements.
- Innovative infrastructure, including architecture and infrastructure that integrate biodiversity protection, e.g. recovering rainwater; reducing waste water; building green rooftops; providing sustainable drainage systems; and phytoremediation using plants and its microorganisms to enhance soil fertility and recover contaminated soils.
- Smart technology, including the application and promotion of digital solutions for biodiversity conservation, and the use of satellite data and artificial intelligence for biodiversity protection.
The Sports for Nature Challenge 2023 is particularly calling on innovative solutions relevant to the mountain environment, which is seriously affected by climate change and home to more than 85% of the world’s species of amphibians, birds, and mammals, far exceeding the species diversity of the lowland.
An expert panel will judge the entries, with the best ten applicants provided the chance to present their solution during THE SPOT (8-9 May 2023), ThinkSport’s international sport and innovation flagship event. The three selected winners will receive high visibility, financial support and the opportunity to further develop their proposals with interested parties.
ThinkSport President, Andrea Traverso, said: “Sport and nature are closely interconnected. Sport must lead by example and inspire action to reduce environmental impacts, being those linked to the practise of sport, the construction of sport infrastructure or the travel emissions from sport events. We hope that this year’s Challenge will provide smart solutions to protect nature, preserve and restore biodiversity, raise awareness and be the catalyst for further initiatives.”
The Challenge is closely linked to the Sports for Nature Framework, which was agreed to at the Convention on Biological Diversity 15th Conference of the Parties meeting (COP15) in December in Montreal. The Framework, which is a first of its kind, was already signed by twenty-three sports organisations, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a founding partner, and the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Co-created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the IOC and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Sports for Nature Framework aims to deliver transformative action for nature across sports, by 2030 and beyond.
Sails of Change will play a key role in promoting and rolling out the Framework, working with IUCN to deliver programmes, toolkits and training. The new Sports for Nature Challenge launched today forms part of these efforts.
For more information on the Challenge: https://thespot.ch/sports-for-nature/