The project

Sport has always played an important social role, attracting large numbers of supporters and uniting people from different cultures and countries with a common passion. However, sport can also cause significant damage to nature and the environment, such as the environmental impact caused by sporting events. Sport competitions can play a key role in promoting environmental awareness among a large number of stakeholders and in catalysing the efforts and resources of sports organisations and individuals to improve their environmental performance. In this context, DECK project believes that canoe and kayak organisations can play a crucial role in moving the water sports sector towards environmental sustainability and in initiating the transition of water events towards a circular economy. The main objective of DECK is to increase the quality and promote the adoption of environmental practices by participating canoeing and kayaking organisations, by innovatively improving their environmental governance and operational capacity in order to reduce the environmental footprint of their events and make them more sustainable

The project is also in line with the European Green Deal and the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement, matching the challenge posed by the Sport for Climate Action initiative of the United Nations which demands action by all sectors, including the sport sector to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. DECK specifically contributes to the horizontal priority “The environment and fight against climate change” as it aims at enhancing environmental capabilities and competences in organisations operating in an environmentally-salient sector, such as the sport sector, to promote a sectorial transition towards the circular economy and the mitigation of climate-altering emissions. Through its innovative approach, the project enhances the environmental quality of canoing and kayaking organisations and events in terms of environmental sustainability capacity allowing them to become more climate-resilient and mitigating their impacts on climate change as well as negative effects of climate change on these sports. Steering canoeing and kayaking towards climate actions means improving sport organisations’ capability to assess, monitor, manage and report their sustainability and climate-related performances and internalise environmental information and objectives in their decision-making processes toward environmental sustainability and circular economy actions and pathways. In other terms, a cultural and tangible change of canoeing and kayaking individuals, organisations and sectors towards environmental sustainability is enabled by good governance, and this innovative aspect is embedded in DECK proposal. Besides the targeted horizontal priority, DECK also contributes to the specific priority of “promoting integrity and values in sport”, by improving good governance in sport for fighting climate change.

The main objective of DECK is to increase the awareness and to foster the adoption of environmental management and circular economy practices by sport key actors in order to improve sustainability during canoe and kayak competitions. 

DECK leverages the role of national canoe and kayak federations (NFs) to foster the transition of the canoe and kayak sector towards circular economy, by supporting the adoption of innovative environmental governance tools among participating NFs – federations of Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and Greece – and the integration of leading-edge environmental practices in canoe and kayk competitions’ operations. DECK addresses the lack of environmental governance capabilities and sustainability management competences among sport organizations in Europe, by tailoring environmental governance tools and deliverables to the needs of participating organizations, with the aim to improve the environmental performance of sport events, along all events’ life-cycle phases (from planning to closure and post-event). 

DECK approaches and outputs are highly replicable, involve different sport stakeholders, up-scalable and exploitable also beyond project lifetime: 

  1. DECK will collect, assess and test best practices for the environmental management of canoe and kayak, to realise a set of Guidelines that will be valorised in subsequent implementation and dissemination actions; (
  2. DECK will develop a Sustainability Rating Tool, which allows sport organizations to monitor their environmental performance from a “circular” and life-cycle perspective; 
  3. DECK will design and implement training and education modules addressed at NFs’ personnel and athletes to foster the consolidation of environmental management capabilities and the integration of environmental concerns in work routines, as well as enhancing environmental awareness in the sport sector.