The Sustainability Committee is tasked with advancing Article 5, Section 13 of the Bylaws:
Promote the conservation and protection of rivers and river environments, and educate the public in sustainable environmental stewardship practices.
Our commitment to sustainability
The IRF is committed to nurturing positive environmental, social, and economic impacts for current and future generations within all aspects of the activity of rafting. We are committed to sustainable development and are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals:
- Overview of IRF alignment to UN Sustainable Development goals
- United Nations Sustainable Development goals
In January 2021, we launched our series of practical guides to help rafters across the globe undertake a more sustainable approach to rafting:
- IRF Practical Guide to Sustainability – a “living” document which will be evaluated and revised on a regular basis, in response to changes in technology and the understanding of the significance of environmental sustainability in the sphere of rafting
- Sustainability ideas for operators, instructors, guides and recreational rafters – a continually growing list of practical ideas to be taken on
- Sustainability Ideas for rafting event organisers – a continually growing list of practical ideas for event organisers to take on
The IRF contributes to GAISF’s sustainability.sport portal which is a free online platform dedicated to sport and sustainabile practices. Created to collate sport’s sustainable efforts onto one single platform, this portal features a vast array of resources to inform, educate and inspire.
Our sustainability projects:
- IRF Green Events Action Plan – this was our first guide for steps to ensure rafting events were environmentally friendly. In January 2021 it was replaced with IRF Practical Guide to Sustainability.
- 2011 IRF World White Water Rafting Championships – first ever certified carbon neutral world sports event
- “Remando por la paz” (Rafting for Peace) – exchanging guns for paddles
Projects that need your help:
Sustainable and climate friendlier consumption at sports venues and events
Identifying more sustainable and climate responsible consumption involves product-by-product evaluation (eg energy sources, food, textiles, paper products, chemicals, transportation, plastics, etc) as well as systems assessments. Take a look at the following links for more in depth looks at what can be done.
- See the IOC’s sustainability documents section as it has a number of very useful documents (these are also listed at the bottom of the IRF Practical Guide to Sustainability).
- Sport Sustainability Introduction: Benefits of sustainable events – a video guide created by SportAccord, AISTS, PI, and IOC, to help us understand sustainability as a whole, and look at what it means. Here you will learn how to identify and quantify the tangible and intangible benefits of sustainable events. This includes cost saving, how to generate growth, stakeholders’ satisfaction, attractiveness for sponsors and the uniqueness of sports events.
- Sport Sustainability Introduction: How to get started – a video guide created by SportAccord, AISTS, PI, and IOC, to help us understand sustainability as a whole, and look at what it means. Here you can find information to get started on creating a sustainable sports event.
- Plastic Game Plan – the IOC sets out how to create a plastic plan and to work with suppliers, athletes and fans to reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Sport for Climate Action – the IOC aim here is to provide a general understanding of the issues related to climate change and managing carbon emissions. The IOC examine what this means, why it is important, how it relates to sport and what a sport organisation can do to address climate change.
- Take a look at 9 Steps to Buy Responsible Paper so as to see what approaches can be taken for more responsible paper production, use and disposal. The life cycle impacts of the paper industry engender some of the greatest industrial contributions to greenhouse gas impacts (as well as forest, biodiversity, water, and indigenous community impacts). Moreover, paper products are among the most frequently purchased products at sports venues and events, (e.g. event programs, tickets, media guides, results, food containers, napkins, bathroom tissue, etc). Use this list of the leading ecopapers available globally to find suitable products, it can sort regionally so you can find what you need as locally as possible.
Partners in promoting free flowing rivers in the world
One of the goals of the IRF is to promote free flowing rivers in the world. We need to keep these rivers clean, accessible and ensure that the rafting industry looks to its sustainable future. In doing this we are working with various organisations:
Recent sustainability news
On 30 August 2021, IRF Honorary President, Rafael Gallo was honoured during the industry dinner at the 2021 Paddle Sports Show in Lyon, France. Risa Shimoda of International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHoF) presented the annual inductees for the 2021 year at the show and concluded with a short presentation where Rafael Gallo was honoured.
Advocates from across the globe gathered at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (both in person and remotely) to highlight the precipitous growth of the movement to recognise the rights of rivers and watersheds. The conference also marked the approximate one year anniversary of the formal launch of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers
By Klara Kita, Vjosa Explorer Vjosa River known since the Illyrian times as “The blue heart of Albania” is not just a river for the people who have been living next to it generation after generation. It is an inseparable part of the environment as well as their everyday lives. Along with Vjosa there is