FIS President Johan Eliasch
Re: FIS welcomes athlete engagement on sustainability
Dear Mr. Eliasch,
Thank you for reacting to our open letter, which by now has 422 signatures, all from active FIS athletes. We are glad you share our interest in securing our future in winter sports. We also heard your future plans are about expanding to new continents, which is not wrong in general, but we are sure you can understand that we are not able to trust you blindly in terms of sustainability. With this letter we want to be very clear that we are not looking for an endless discussion, but for concrete responses to three questions that we outline:
It is great to hear that your sustainability strategy is being finalized. We are looking forward to taking a look at it and we are willing to rate its consistency.
Climate Positivity, FIS Rainforest Initiative & Transparency
Aiming for being the first climate positive sports federation is very ambitious and we really support that. Objectively FIS’ current efforts do not qualify for that title or at least there is no publicly available information to support those claims.
We do welcome your work in preserving precious rainforest. It is necessary for a stable climate and we are happy that FIS supports rainforest conservation. However, not cutting down forests as a way to compensate for emissions has always been questionable, but lately these rainforest programs have gotten a really bad reputation.
To be able to stand behind FIS and plead for your reliability, as athletes, we need more public and comprehensible information about the FIS rainforest initiative. In a press release from Nov 4, 2021 you promised to disclose your annual climate footprint and emissions reductions progress. In the response to our letter, you mention that an internal audit was made. Why did you not make the calculations public yet? These actions would really comply with our demand for full transparency.
FIS, unlike other sports organizations and international federations, have not yet published any of their UN Sports for Climate Action reports. Reporting on climate actions is now a mandatory requirement for membership of this UN framework.
We congratulate you and the organizing committee of Courchevel-Meribel World Championships for the successful ISO20121 certification. Now that you are familiar with such a certification process we propose to start implementing and attesting the ISO14001 environmental management system in FIS as a whole, together with an independent certification organization. The transformation could be done by your new sustainability department, one of our demands you forgot in your reaction. This way FIS could fulfill its part as a role model for its national associations and other sports federations and encourage them to do the same.
We want to mention that this is a very prolific opportunity and we are willing to take this chance and build constructive cooperation in tackling our environmental crisis as a united winter sports community. But for now we have no evidence to call FIS’ sustainability efforts sufficient.
We could not agree more, that working together is essential to make our sports sustainable, which is why we suggest getting all the stakeholders together on one table to become truly climate neutral or even climate positive. As you suggested yourself, we should also include the media not only as a stakeholder but also to guarantee maximum transparency.