NOC*NSF appoints Marcelien de Koning as ‘chef de emission’

on 28 June 2021

NOC*NSF is the first sports umbrella organization to appoint its own chef de emission: an Olympian who acts as an ambassador and booster for making the world (of sport) more sustainable through sport. The first chef, Marcelien de Koning, is a three-time world champion and winner of Olympic silver (Beijing 2008).

Chef de emission
What if… the Olympic movement could be a catalyst for positive impact? Tim van Dooren of More2Win and Cécile van Oppen of Copper8 have been considering this question for some time. Their passion for social and ecological impact, respectively, resulted in the concept of chef de emission.

Maurits Hendriks of NOC*NSF embraced the concept: “We are appointing a chef de emission because we want to reduce our own emissions, but we also want to encourage others to adopt more sustainable behavior. Sport has enormous potential to contribute to a more sustainable world, especially because you can reach half the global population with sport.”

Marcelien de Koning will be a figurehead for making the sports sector more sustainable. Not only is she an Olympic medalist and three-time world champion, but she has also been committed to a more sustainable world for years, including as mayor of the North Sea. Her ambition is: “to become a world champion again, but on a social level.”

More2Win and Copper8’s ambitions extend beyond the Netherlands: each country should appoint its own chef de emission for LA2028, the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. These ambassadors of sustainability in sport will ensure that momentum is created around the subject, and that the green boundaries in sport are constantly pushed back.

The environmental impact of sport

Although the sports sector does not have the biggest environmental impact when compared to big industry and the transport sector, ultimately every sector has a responsibility to reduce its own environmental impact.

If you look at major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the football World Cup, the biggest environmental impact is in the construction of stadiums and infrastructure – accounting for about 70% in the case of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Obviously, there are opportunities here to look differently at what is needed not only for the events, but also in the long term for (sports) infrastructure. Circular construction principles should be more integrated in the design of an Olympic park.

A second big ‘banger’ is in the area of transport for both athletes and fans. This pattern repeats in the sports-related impact calculations that Copper8 has carried out in the past, for example for sending TeamNL to Tokyo, and the Climate Classic. Carbon footprint calculations for the London Olympics show a similar picture: transporting fans alone accounted for almost 14% of CO2 emissions.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is actually raising awareness and activating fans. If sustainability remains in the left-wing bubble, we will never reach the Paris Climate Goals. Sport is unique in its enormous reach and its potential to get people moving in a positive way – and that is exactly where a figurehead like Marcelien can help.

Want to know more? Call or email Cécile van Oppen.

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