At the conference on sustainable development of sports, on 16th March in Zagreb, high-ranking guests from the sports and government world discussed challenges and issues of sustainable development achieved through sports. The Croatian Judo Federation is the first sports organisation in Croatia and is among the first in the world to measure the carbon footprint of a major sporting event, in this case, the 2021 Zagreb Grand Prix, a key event of the IJF World Tour.

After the European Cadet Cup in Zagreb, attended by over 600 competitors from 32 countries, the Croatian Judo Federation organised a conference, ‘Judo - More Than Sport,’ where the main topics were the sustainable development of sport and the study measuring the carbon footprint of the Zagreb Grand Prix 2021.

Guests at the conference in Zagreb

After welcome speeches from the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Mario Šiljeg and State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tomislav Družak, were interesting presentations and panel discussions showing the importance of further discussions on this topic and how these conversations may impact the organisation of sporting events in the future.

Zlatko Mateša presenting at the conference

“Judo is really more than a sport, it includes a philosophy of life. The basis of the ideas of the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, talks about how human value is manifested through his/her contribution to society. Therefore, the goals of sustainable development, such as health and wellbeing, education, inclusion, equality and sustainable economic growth, largely coincide with the mission of our sport and the goals of the Croatian Judo Federation. However, Croatia alone will not achieve too much. We therefore invite all sports federations and organisations to join us in the Partnership for Sustainability so that we can achieve the sporting and social goals of our country,” said the President of the Croatian Judo Federation and Vice-President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Dr Sanda Čorak, during the first presentation.

Dr Corak added, “In 2021 sports organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee and United Nations, began with webinars for international federations, federations which will soon have to begin reporting on activities and the effects of sporting events they organise, on the environment. Sustainable development is not just a few words on paper, it is essential that the whole sports ecosystem understands its importance and significance in the daily practice and organisation of sport.”

Dr Sanda Corak presenting at the conference

Through the presentation, the Deputy Secretary General of the Croatian Judo Federation, Ana Krauthacker, presented the specific activities undertaken during the 2021 Zagreb Grand Prix and how they affected both the event organisation and members of the community outside of competition and sports.

“From basic ecological things such as waste separation, packaging recycling, use of recycled paper, we added humanitarian character to it all and donated food. We also used the collected funds from recycling for buying sports equipment and helped children’s homes in Zagreb and Velika Gorica (greater Zagreb area). By collecting plastic plugs, we joined the action of the Association of Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients too.”

Recycling at the 2021 Zagreb Grand Prix

The final presentation was given by Dr Morana Česnik Katulić from Ekonerg (Institute for Energy and Environmental Protection), an institution that consulted on the entire project and made a study of environmental aspects and calculated the carbon footprint of the 2021 Zagreb Grand Prix.

“It has been shown that the practice of separate waste collection is extremely favourable for the environment in the context of greenhouse gas emissions. This study, done for the first time in Croatia, calculated the carbon footprint of a sports competition and will serve as an excellent foundation for reducing emissions in the future. The air travel of competition participants has been shown to be a significant emission source. Although travelling to and from the location of the sporting event is inevitable, it would be good practice to replace this form of transport with others where possible, ideally train travel. Overall, the carbon footprint of the Zagreb Grand Prix amounts to the equivalent of 315 tonnes of CO2.”

The discussion at the end of the conference, involving representatives of other sports organisations and representatives of institutions and corporations, showed that this topic is extremely interesting for the entire sports ecosystem and that it is necessary to continue with similar events.

Source: Bruno Blumenschein of the Croatian Judo Federation

Conference pictures contributed by Tino Maric of the Croatian Judo Federation

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