The vision of ESAF 2019 Zug is not limited to creating a wrestling and alpine festival full of fun and unique sporting activities – its organisers want to turn the largest sporting event in Switzerland into both an ecological and a commercial success. At a media conference on 21 January, committee president and cantonal councillor Heinz Tännler emphasised that “an event of this size invariably brings consequences for the region, the local community and the environment”. The urban location and the ideal local and social circumstances dictate the aim to stage the most sustainable National Wrestling Festival to date, he said. The organisation committee is therefore committed to placing great importance on the aspect of sustainability both in the planning and the implementation of ESAF 2019.
New benchmarks in sustainability
ESAF 2019 intends to set new standards in sustainability in the organisation of Swiss wrestling festivals. This includes, for the first time,calculating the ecological footprint and compensating for emitted CO₂ with myclimate. Staging the first-ever climate-neutral Swiss National Wrestling and Alpine Festival is the stated aim. Compensation will be implemented in two myclimate climate protection projects in Uganda and Nicaragua.
A further focus is the achievement of a more ecological modal split, i.e. organising visitors’ travel to and from the festival in a way that eases impact on both the environment and the local residents. All holders of an arena ticket will therefore benefit from inclusive free use of public transport throughout Switzerland. Eco-friendly mobility management is further supported by the central location and excellent transport links to the festival site. The public transport companies in Zug (Zuger Verkehrsbetriebe) will provide frequent transport to and from the site for the entire weekend, ensuring worry-free travelling.
Waste reduction and maximising recycling wherever possible are another aspect of the festival’s extensive sustainability policy. For the first time in ESAF’s history, recycling stations will be provided on site. Immense amounts of paper – around 18 tons – will be saved by doing away with the capacious festival guide of previous years. Sponsors are also playing their part and have agreed to avoid universal sampling and contribute to the disposal and environmental costs of any samples given out.
Festivalgoers play their part – Pioneering role with “Cause We Care”
To achieve its goal, ESAF has partnered with myclimate and the "Cause We Care" campaign. “Cause We Care” is an innovative approach that enables festivalgoers to double the effect of their individual action and team up with the festival committee to achieve the festival’s environmental goals. When returning bottles for deposit or buying merchandise, they can choose to make a voluntary donation to support climate and environmental protection through myclimate “Cause We Care”. It is hoped that the joint efforts of visitors and organisers will create a landmark in environmental and climate protection in Switzerland.
Donations to the campaign feed into a sustainability fund, which funds local and regional sustainability programmes that noticeably reduce the ESAF’s carbon footprint and have long-term positive impacts on the region. Simultaneously, the fund ensures that emissions are offset by financing CO₂ compensation through myclimate. ESAF is not content with being the first major event which actively supports such an extensive environmental policy through myclimate “Cause We Care”. It explicitly aims to set standards for future wrestling events by collecting data (carbon footprint) and experience, which will be considered in future major event planning.
By implementing “Cause We Care”, ESAF 2019 is able to set an example in sporting, says Andreas Lustenberger, director of the ESAF 2019 sustainability committee: “Our own efforts for sustainability are combined with and strengthened by the commitment of sponsors and festivalgoers alike. They have the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to climate protection.” Basil Gantenbein, myclimate “Cause We Care” Project Manager, puts things into a larger perspective: “The more festivalgoers decide to make a contribution, the more sustainable the whole festival will become. The joint commitment of visitors and organisers to the environment and the climate are a first in Switzerland and will raise the bar in the organisation of large events.”