Keep the river clean

Sustainability in rafting

For many years now, we have committed to sustainability in rafting. From objectives in our Bylaws, to running the world’s first certified carbon neutral sports world championship. Most recently, we have extended our commitment to sustainability.

In 2019 we committed to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention) Sports for Climate Action. Now, we actively encourage all event hosts to commit to sustainable events. Similarly, through our Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA), we will be asking rafting operators to find sustainable options in their activities.

What does sustainability mean?

Previously we used to refer to conservation and eco-friendly. However, sustainability needs to be more holistic. Sustainability in rafting refers to more than just our events and tour rafting. We must look at how rafting impacts on all people who raft, and how rafting impacts on the lives and environments that we engage with.

UN 17 Sustainable Development GoalsThere are 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They were formally adopted by all UN Members in 2015. As a signatory to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action, we firmly stand by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For example, all IRF sustainability projects now refer to the goals that they aim to achieve.

Recognition of sustainability in rafting

Recently, GAISF launched Sustainability.Sport. A portal dedicated to sport and sustainability. This portal brings together major sports’ efforts in sustainability. It includes a large database of resources to inform, educate and inspire. Therefore, it is an honour for the IRF to already be included on the portal.

What’s next?

Great progress has been made – but there is room for more. Our current projects and goals are:

  • Gender equality – more female raft guides qualified. More women in raft racing
  • Working together – creating sustainable partnerships
  • Green Events – respect and protect rivers, communities and environments
  • Responsibility – everyone to take responsibility to protect rivers and river communities

We can’t do this alone. It will take all rafters working together to achieve sustainable development. We need you to become a champion for a rafting sustainability goal.

Find out more:

Details of past and current sustainability projects can be found on our dedicated Sustainability pages. If you want to get involved in any of them, or have a local project that you want to share with us, send us details.


#StrongerTogether #EcoRafting #TourismStrong #Sports4Climate #ClimateAction #Sustainability #AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome