Budapest 23 above-and-beyond Green steps


Green initiatives at World Athletics in Budapest Image: Kiemelt Kormányzati Beruházások Központja

With sustainability taking on an increasingly important role in the delivery of its events, the World Athletics has teamed up with the organizers of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (Hungary) to create a series of initiatives to help reduce the event’s environmental impact and enhance its social impact.

Monaco-based the World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation and the International Association of Athletics Federations, is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, covering track and field, cross-country running, road running, race walking, mountain running, and ultra running.

The 2023 World Athletics Championships, the nineteenth edition of the World Athletics Championships, are scheduled to be held from August 19th-27th, 2023 at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary. These are the first World Athletics Championships to be held in Hungary.

The 36,000-capacity National Athletics Centre is a track and field stadium in Budapest, Hungary. It will host the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

Some of what one can expect over the next two weeks in Budapest:


An LOC First

‘WORLD ATHLETICS’ stated that organizers of the Championships are the first to fully embrace the ‘Athletics for a Better World’ standard, the system developed by World Athletics that advises and evaluates an event on its sustainable delivery. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC’s) efforts will provide critical input towards the creation of a sustainability baseline for future editions of the World Championships.

The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is a group of local citizens that are put in place to help coordinate a championship event in that community.

Locally, the LOC’s sustainability ambitions are driven by two overarching legacy goals: To create a health and wellbeing legacy by motivating the Hungarians to be more active through incentive programs linked to the World Athletics Championships and to create a tangible urban regeneration legacy.

The organizers broke ground on an urban forest regeneration project in April, the launch of what will become a network of World Athletics Championships Legacy Forests around the world. A comprehensive waste management plan has also been put in place along with a campaign urging spectators to use public transportation to attend the Championships. The use of water refill stations in the broadcast compound and in the media center is expected to eliminate 342,000 single-use plastic bottles from the event. An extensive plan to increase accessibility, diversity and inclusion at the event through a special charity program has also been implemented.

Paperless Congress

‘WORLD ATHLETICS’ further stated that another notable first is that this year’s World Athletics Congress (August 17th-18th) will be the first to be held in a primarily digital format. That will eliminate the use of at least 182,110 sheets of A4 paper, roughly the equivalent of 18 15-meter-tall pine trees, or the carbon emissions produced by three round trip flights between Nice (France) and London Heathrow (UK).

Live Streamed Panel Discussions

The impacts of climate change on our sport and communities, and solutions that the sporting event organizers and hosts can implement to address those impacts, are topics that will be examined during two panel discussions in Budapest.

Sport on the Climate Change Front Lines


August 21st, 4-5 pm, Stadium Press Conference Room

The panel will include team delegation members from the five Pacific Island nations that are most at risk from the impacts of climate change and will likely be rendered uninhabitable in the next 50-80 years.

Building Collaborations for Sustainable Events


August 25th, 2:30-3:30 pm, ASICS House

The panel, composed of leading practitioners, researchers and scholars working at the intersection of sport and sustainability, will:

  • Review and examine the ambitions of World Athletics and the Budapest LOC around delivering an event in alignment with the World Athletics sustainability strategy;
  • Discuss the role of major events in setting strong examples around sustainable delivery; and
  • Discuss collaborations and partnerships and the expectations of partners and sponsors around sustainability at major events.


Green Zone – Activities and Athlete Appearances

The local organizing committee has created a designated Green Zone in the stadium park which will host sustainability awareness-raising activities for spectators, daily quizzes (and prizes) and meet-and- greets with athletes over the course of the Championships. A regularly updated schedule of athlete appearances and activities is here.

Active Mobility Project and Study

An active mobility study, coordinated jointly by the Health and Science Department and the Sustainability team, will measure the benefits of active travel – in this case mostly cycling, but also walking – at large sporting events.

By tracking the project participants’ commutes, the study will measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are avoided and the effect that active inter-modal transportation has on the local motor vehicle traffic. It will also evaluate how active mobility by the staff working at an event can reduce its environmental impact. Measuring benefits to health and wellbeing are another focus of the project.

The Health and Science team will also provide realtime heat index and air quality updates to the athletes and the team delegations.

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