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
- Sustainability Strategic Plan 2022
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
The Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) have an awesome auction coming up where you can bid on some incredible adventure trips in all sorts of places around the world. An Alaskan multi-day rafting trip Two different California rafting trips A historic Colombia rafting and cultural adventure A multi-day, multi-sport adventure in Huasteca Potosina, Mexico Costa Rica
Royal Gorge River Initiative Organization is teaming up with American Rivers to sponsor 2022’s Royal Gorge RIO River Clean-Up. Last year they hosted a 35-mile river clean-up which saw them pulling thousand of pounds of rubbish out of the river. This year the clean-up will be on the 1st May 2022, and volunteers are needed.
Wiley E. Waters partners with the Spokane River Keeper at least twice a year to clean up unnecessary waste in the Spokane River. Teams meet up late in the summer when the water lowers, and the shoreline becomes exposed on the River in Spokane, Washington state, USA. Crews bring about three rafts, usually snagging over