On 4 November, 2022, during its 48th Annual Congress, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) launched its global “Sustainability Strategy for Hockey”, which aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and followed the IOC (International Olympic Committee) lead.
One year on from the adoption of the new sustainability strategy, we are thrilled to update the global hockey family on some of the sustainability projects undertaken by FIH as well as our member nations, which have not only made significant progress, but also earned recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), highlighting the progress made in leading environmental and social change within the sporting community:
1. Centre for Sport and Human Rights (CSHR):
As the first International Federation to be an ‘Engaged Organisation’ by CSHR, FIH has embarked on a collaborative journey with the Centre, focusing on two vital projects: input into the development of the Transgender Athlete Eligibility policy and event-based projects addressing potential Human Rights issues. This early-stage collaboration holds the promise of significant future benefits for FIH.
2. Athlete Choice of Playing Uniform:
Embracing inclusivity, FIH has changed its Kit Regulations to allow players to wear shorts, skorts, or skirts, giving athletes the personal choice in their playing kit for international hockey. FIH has also started receiving the first kit designs for approval at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris from teams, including these different options, which they can offer to their athletes to select as per their personal preference.
3. Sports for Climate Action Framework signatory - Carbon Footprint Measurement:
In a groundbreaking move as the pilot International Federation to undergo this work, FIH, with support from IOC partner Deloitte, has completed the baseline measurement of its carbon footprint for 2022 and is in the process of implementing actions to reduce its carbon footprint in line with the targets set within the Sports for Climate Action framework. This positions FIH as a leader in environmental sustainability within the Olympic Movement, with the commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 reflecting a bold step towards a more sustainable future.
4. Moving to Dry Artificial Turf:
The Dry Turf project was introduced with the aim of reducing, and ultimately removing, the amount of water used on pitches to play hockey, and has seen significant progress over the past year. Innovative new pitches have been developed and are now being laid around the world, with the artificial turf industry embracing this new sustainable ambition. Athlete feedback is essential in the development of the next phase of these turfs. Feedback that will be received from athletes in Oman during the Hockey5s World Cup (to be played on dry turf), and from athletes testing dry turfs that will be laid in Germany and Australia over the coming months, will feed into the development of the next innovation for FIH Partners and Turf provider Polytan, that will be announced in mid 2024.
5. Recycled Indoor Flooring Project - Chile:
In a remarkable collaboration, FIH welcomed hockey administrator Gissele Toro Santibañez and
her team of researchers from Chile, to discuss a project producing indoor sports floor tiles from 100% recycled materials. Requirements for indoor hockey were discussed in great detail and the team is now working on the quality and reproducibility of the flooring so that it can be used for indoor hockey in Chile. This initiative, addressing sustainability in sports infrastructure, exemplifies global efforts towards a more sustainable future.
6. Racing to Zero, with Canadian athlete Oliver Scholfield:
FIH proudly recognizes Canadian national team athlete Oliver Scholfield's nomination in the inaugural IOC Climate Action Awards. Oliver's project, "Racing to Zero," is aimed at assisting sporting organisations in creating communities that have the tools and knowledge to tackle climate change and reduce their own impact. This project underscores the impact athletes can have in combating the risks of climate change.
7. “Give Back to Forest” begins in Uruguay:
Supporting the FIH “Give back to Forest” programme, the Uruguay Hockey Federation started foresting its own venue in front of the beach of the capital city of Montevideo. During the 3 Nations tournament, the national teams of Chile, Wales and Uruguay planted the first line of trees and were joined by other Uruguayan hockey teams who participated in this planting process where more than 600 trees were planted. This would just be the start of the movement as the “Give Back to Forest” campaigns sprung up all around the world in the following months.
These and other FIH sustainability initiatives and projects are documented in great detail and are accessible on our official Sustainability Page. As FIH strides forward, these projects serve as beacons of change, inspiring a global community to embrace sustainability in the realm of sports and beyond.