The PTO & Sustainability
The PTO mission is clear. To ‘represent, support and promote the interests of women and men professional triathletes, both by investing in them financially and marketing them, together and equally’.
Building a sustainable business, able to thrive and contribute to the wider world across environmental and social touchpoints is important to us – and as an athlete-owned organisation, we understand the power and influence sport can have.
Our Sustainability Journey
We are at the start of our Sustainability journey, but have taken our cue from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a collection of 17 interlinked global targets designed to be a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future’.
All the goals matter. However, we recognise that as a new organisation, we need to have focus in order to have impact. It is something we have learnt through our dedication to the sport of triathlon, but also from other, more established bodies.
As such, our initial focus is on #3 Good Health and Wellbeing, #5 Gender Equality and #12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
Good Health and Wellbeing
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being is important to building prosperous and sustainable societies. Triathlon and its individual activities of swimming, biking and running are the perfect combination to enhance health and wellbeing and there are already powerful examples of how we can act and inspire.
From PTO Athlete Board member Alistair Brownlee’s Brownlee Foundation – which seeks to ‘inspire children from all backgrounds to enjoy sport, encourage them to lead active lifestyles and benefit from the opportunities sport provides’ – through to Canadian superstar Lionel Sanders who credits the sport for not just its health benefits but actually saving his life.
Triathlon is a sport that from inception has recognised equal balance between men and women. The PTO is committed to the principle of gender equality and equal earning opportunities for all PTO Professionals regardless of their gender. It seeks to be a model for how gender equality in sport can be better implemented.
For example, the PTO Maternity Leave Policy which we brought in to address some of the unique circumstances that women PTO Professionals navigate in balancing the maintenance of a professional athletic career and the reality of pregnancy and childbearing. Chelsea Sodaro’s story is a powerful example of the impact this Policy has had and she has recently called on other sports to follow the PTO’s lead in supporting women so they can be both ‘world class athletes and moms’.
Responsible Consumption and Production
The science is clear. Human activity has had an enormous negative impact on the Earth to the point that its regenerative capacities are overshot, threatening ecosystems and lives. Like any other industry, the sports’ industry we belong to must share responsibility. It is our duty to minimise likely negative impacts and use our incredible potential to reach the masses and bring about positive change that can still make a difference.
As the PTO begins its event journey, we will be looking to follow and learn from World Triathlon’s Sustainability Guidelines For Event Organisers. They seek to reduce the impact triathlon events have on the planet and set out a range of best practices and approaches to everything from public transport provision to waste management, all based around the ‘three-tree’ certification system that will be a requirement of all events in the future.