TU Delft: TU Delft cheers on sporting climate campaign

Three-times world champion in sailing Marcelien de Koning has been appointed the world’s first ‘chef d’emission’. With this NOC*NSF wants to promote making sports and society more sustainable. “An excellent idea”, according to professor Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Sustainability Coordinator at TU Delft. TU Delft has a long history of working with NOC*NSF on innovations in top-level sports and will be the first one helping the chef d’emission with knowledge in the field of sustainability.

Inspired by the Paris Climate Agreement, the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 are intended to be the most sustainable Games ever. The Netherlands is playing its part by appointing a ‘chef d’emission’ who will not only work to make TeamNL more sustainable, but also promote sustainability in general. “There are so many benefits to be had from making sports a platform for sustainability”, says the recently appointed ‘chef d’emission’ Marcelien de Koning.

The three-times world champion and winner of Olympic silver in Beijing was regularly faced with water pollution while sailing. “That really sparked the flame in me. So since I stopped sailing at top level, I have been working to promote the energy transition and all the innovations in the Netherlands surrounding water, maritime and delta technology”, explains De Koning. For example she is Mayor of Jouw Noordzee (an initiative to bring changes in the North Sea to the attention of the public) and ambassador of Solar Sport One, the foundation that organises solar-powered boat races.

With the world’s first ‘chef d’emission’, the Dutch sporting world is setting a good example. And that is exactly the strategy of TU Delft, which earlier this year appointed Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability Andy van den Dobbelsteen as Sustainability Coordinator. In this role he is working on TU Delft’s own climate goal: a fully carbon-neutral and circular campus. So he is fully behind the appointment of De Koning: “Top-level sport has a considerable ecological footprint, from the large amount of travel involved, to the materials used in the quest to constantly improve sports equipment. There are many gains to be made in this regard. At the same time, by setting an example, sports can inspire people to embrace sustainable behaviour. A case of practise what you preach.

Climate Action
Van den Dobbelsteen sees many opportunities for interaction between sports and a sustainable society. “Consider research into energy-neutral and circular sports facilities, more use of greenery and less artificial grass for sports pitches. This cools our cities, promotes biodiversity and is better for the microclimate.” This kind of research is right in line with the Delft Climate Action programme. In the coming ten years TU Delft will be investing a total of 22 million euros in climate research and teaching, and even more in making its own campus more sustainable, enabling it to function as a living lab for sustainability solutions.

Comments are closed.