FIS president discusses climate with John Kerry at Davos’ World Economic Forum

DAVOS, Switzerland — In recent days, leading politicians, policymakers, businesspeople and thinkers have gathered for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the major challenges faced by nations across the planet in 2024. International Ski Federation (FIS) President Johan Eliasch was there to join the debate, with the fundamental objective of making the case for urgent action on climate change.

President Eliasch has long argued for bold solutions to the climate crisis, with a track record of campaigning that stretches back decades. In his role at FIS, he has sought to transform the federation’s efforts on sustainability, with efforts including the appointment of new staff to meet this challenge, setting ambitious new targets for cutting emissions, and creating the FIS Rainforest Initiative to combat deforestation. His time in Davos has been spent discussing how best this agenda can be furthered with leaders from the spheres of politics and business, including U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

President Eliasch said to FIS: “Davos is not just another talking shop. It offers an invaluable chance to meet face-to-face with leaders from different walks of life, to discuss the major challenges of the day, and work together on practical solutions.”

The trip to Davos occurred mere days after FIS announced the release of its newly developed Impact Programme, a sustainability action plan to guide FIS and its key stakeholders through the current and future global sustainability challenges.

The program, which can be viewed here, covers the period of 2024 to 2026 and includes short-, mid-, and long-term projects and goals. It will serve as a roadmap for the coming years, helping FIS to ensure that the next generation can continue to enjoy winter snow sports in their natural environment.

“I am personally proud of the all-encompassing vision of the Impact Programme,” said FIS President Eliasch in a statement. “FIS as an organisation has a responsibility to take urgent action on climate change, which threatens not only the habitat our sports depend on, but also mankind’s way of life. We also have a duty to ensure the wellbeing of athletes, and to protect the human rights of all those who work in and around snow sports. The FIS Impact Programme sets out how we will address all these challenges in one action plan.”

The key priorities and goals included in the Impact Programme will help to engage and lead winter sports stakeholders. At the heart of the document is the universal principle that we are all a part of nature – and that every decision we make has an impact on the planet. The document states that only by working together can we reduce our impact on the climate, share solutions and embrace regenerative practices.

Key priorities outlined in the Impact Programme include:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of FIS activities and events and supporting concrete actions to combat or adapt to climate change, working in cooperation with the National Ski Associations and Organizers
  • Promoting biodiversity and protecting nature by participation in nature restoration projects
  • Hosting educational activities to raise awareness about climate change, nature protection, inclusion and safeguarding and increasing sustainability awareness and knowledge within the winter community
  • Responsibly procuring goods and services to reduce the negative environmental and social impact of the winter sports industry
  • Creating an annual IMPACT Report to share progress and ensure transparency

A key element of the program is for FIS to calculate and reduce its direct carbon footprint and, in addition, to support and work with its National Ski Associations and Organizers to reduce their emissions and minimize their environmental impact. Tailored FIS support will be provided to help members calculate their carbon footprint, with sustainability plans and toolkits developed to then reduce these numbers.

FIS will also focus firmly on the direct environmental impact of its own activities, working towards the stated goal of Net Zero by 2040.

“This operational plan allows us to track a new impactful path. It is the first step to a more responsible future. It will evolve constantly as the data and science evolves. Above all, it will be a team effort between FIS, our members and stakeholders – because sustainability is all about sharing and working together to achieve a lower carbon, biodiverse, regenerative and inclusive present and future,” said FIS Sustainability Director Susanna Sieff in the statement.

The Impact Programme has been designed to be a holistic, 360-degree approach to sustainability. Alongside its environmental elements, FIS has also recognized the equal importance of social and economic change and has included several action points and goals on these fronts. 

Sport is one of the few global, cultural mechanisms that can drive the social transformation to ensure a safer, fairer future. There is an opportunity to use sports’ enormous transformative potential, and FIS aims to maximize this chance to be a leader in social matters as well as environmental.


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