New study exposes FIS Greenwashing
On the week of its Annual Congress (where National Federations vote on key factors concerning the upcoming race season), FIS is starting to show some signs of movement on sustainability.
There are hints that the race calendar will be changed to reduce transatlantic travel and be delayed in its start by a week (although a month would be far more appropriate to fit the changing seasons). The appointment of a Sustainability Director is also a long overdue and welcome step.
The original open letter demanding climate action from over 500 FIS athletes, the follow-up actions, and coverage in the sports and news media are apparently having an effect.
However, the publication of a sustainability strategy still has no date in sight and in its core communication around its climate action FIS is still lacking transparency and credibility.
FIS continues to claim it operates as a “Climate Positive” organisation but relies heavily on avoided deforested offsets in the Amazon to achieve this status. Offsets carried out by Cool Earth an organisation founded and co-chaired by FIS president Johan Eliasch, offsets that have no publicly available information on the size of the forest invested in, the deforestation threats that the forest faces (essential to prove the additionality of the offsets) or even the amount spent by FIS on this programme.
More recently, information has cast severe doubt on the FIS claim to be “Climate Positive”. The quality of the information provided by FIS on its own emissions, which is essential to understand the level of offsets required and the sustainability improvements required to meet proposed targets, has been called into question by a 3rd party study carried out by Mission Zero – Klima Partner.
The study commissioned by Greenpeace assessed the “FIS Events Emission Estimation Executive Summary” for plausibility based on the expertise of athletes, insiders, and information from World Cup venues.
The full study in German can be seen HERE
The 4-page summary in English HERE
Mission Zero’s assessment using the FIS internal calculation tool revealed that just four major events in Kitzbühel, Schladming, Adelboden, and Sölden, as well as athlete flights (at the World Cup level), accounted for 85 percent of the total emissions attributed to the Alpine Skiing sector.
With over 30 World Cup events, 300 continental events, and hundreds of smaller race events in the Alpine Ski sector it is obvious that FIS are massively underreporting their event emissions.
The report’s conclusion can be seen below:
It can be stated upfront that the FIS, with its executive summary on event emissions and the published accessible data, fails to provide a transparent and comprehensible assessment. All calculations, evaluations, derivations, and cross-checks indicate an implausible and underestimated overall evaluation of emissions.
The total plausibility score given to FIS’s emission reporting by Mission Zero was just 8%
The results of this study make clear FIS must:
- Improve both its emission reporting and the transparency of its offsetting programme.
- Switch from a focus on offsetting to true emission reduction, through changes in events, race calandar and operations.
- Stop claiming to be “Climate Positive” as an organisation.
To do any less would be tantamount to greenwashing.
image: Milko Stoev