The World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 became the first event to be awarded platinum level recognition against the Athletics for a Better World (ABW) Standard, the evaluation system implemented by World Athletics this year that measures an event’s achievements in sustainable delivery.

The recognition, announced to mark Earth Day, came after a comprehensive evaluation by a team of international sustainability experts of the local organising committee’s approach to the event’s environmental and social impacts. The announcement comes alongside the release of the World Athletics Sustainability Report 2022-23, which details the development and implementation of the Athletics for a Better World Standard, initiatives from World Championship and one-day events, the empowerment and views of athletes and progress against the six pillars of the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy.

An athlete wearing an orange top runs on track, smiling.

Efforts to include social impact and environmental sustainability into the delivery and legacy of the championships was a strong focus for event organisers who delivered several pioneering initiatives:

  • More than 800 staff and volunteers received mental health training to help them deliver a mentally healthy event for themselves, athletes, officials and spectators. The project, developed by the event's partner Scottish Action for Mental Health (SAMH), was a first of its kind for an event in Scotland.
  • Organisers also partnered with a food bank in the city’s east end to redistribute all excess food from the event – more than 1000 meals – to forge a positive partnership that has set the path for future events at the Glasgow Arena.
  • Efforts to reduce the event’s carbon emissions included public transport partnerships, a catering menu with an extensive selection of plant-based options and awareness-raising events, panel discussions and activations in the months leading into and during the championships.
  • And, adding to the event’s legacy, a dedicated social impact project manager hired for the local organising committee will stay on to continue this work with the Glasgow Life events team with plans already under way to integrate positive social impacts into Glasgow's wider event portfolio.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said:

From the outset, the local organising committee made a strong commitment to maximising the social impact and reducing the environmental impact of this event. They did so by having a strong vision and investing efficiently in resources to provide a textbook example of what sustainable athletics event looks like. The Glasgow team have set the highest bar.

Three athletes smiling holding country flags behind them.

Second Sustainability Report released

The ABW Standard consists of 55 action areas that address all levels of event delivery, measured in terms of how they align with the six pillars of the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy, which was released in 2020. Those areas include procurement, waste management, energy, food and water management, travel and accommodation planning. Diversity, accessibility and inclusion of staff and volunteers is also addressed as is ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all participants.

The World Athletics Sustainability Report 2022-23 also released today highlights the progress made on the ABW Standard since its unveiling in December 2021. Organisers of more than 300 one-day athletics competition series events and label road races have been introduced to the ABW Standard. Several dozen events piloted the Standard system in 2022 and more than 100 piloted elements of it in 2023, providing valuable input prior to its implementation on 1 January 2024 when sustainability reporting became a mandatory component of World Athletics’ broader event evaluation process.

Scottish Culture, Europe and International Development Minister Kaukab Stewart said:

Moving forward, sustainability will play an increasingly important role in the organisation of Major Events and awards like this can help drive the continued effort towards achieving net zero targets and supporting the local economy.

When fully adopted, the ABW Standard will have the widest reach of any sustainability evaluation system in the sport industry.

While reporting against the ABW Standard was not mandatory for the Glasgow competition, all World Athletics Series (WAS) events whose bids opened in the latter half of 2023 will be contractually obligated to commit to a high level of delivery. The 2027 World Championships in Beijing will be the first WAS event that will be required to deliver to a gold level achievement. Glasgow scored 108 of the 120 available points in the tiered ABW Standard to meet the platinum level threshold.