FIS sees no conflict of interest
For Jörg Sommer, chairman of the German Environmental Foundation, Eliaschs has a double role “a taste”. In principle, it makes sense to get an external partner for such a project who knows his way around and who cares for seriousness and objectivity, said Sommer in an interview with Sportschau. But in the case of FIS and Cool Earth, the whole thing is one “internal family event”. You have to take a closer look at who benefits, said Sommer.
When asked by the sports show, the FIS stated that it did not see any conflict of interest, on the grounds that: “Mr. Eliasch is not financially involved in Cool Earth, his work there is entirely voluntary.” In addition, Cool Earth is only a service provider and does not receive any financial advantage.
Also Head as a partner of Cool Earth
Eliasch founded the non-governmental organization Cool Earth in 2007 together with the British politician Frank Field. One of the first big partners was the sporting goods manufacturer Head, whose managing director Eliasch is to this day. At the time, Head also advertised using the projects to overcompensate for its carbon footprint, even tenfold.
But the chairman of the environmental foundation, Sommer, describes such statements as dubious: “It gets completely weird when you refrain from cutting down the rainforest to make up for your own CO2 emissions. This in no way makes something that takes place in the ski circus in Austria better for the climate.”
Criticism also in Cool Earth
The FIS contradicts this criticism and writes: “The FIS Rainforest Initiative is geared towards the stated goals of the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glazov in 2021.” In addition, the association refers to the importance of the rainforest for the climate, its protection has top priority. However, Cool Earth itself writes on its website that protecting the rainforest cannot serve to offset its own CO2 emissions.
In 2016, Giving What We Can rated Cool Earth as particularly cost-effective. An analysis in the “Effectiv Altruism Forum”, however, came to a different conclusion in 2018. Cool Earth’s work either had relatively little impact or there was insufficient evidence to show that it had a larger impact. Sommer comes to the conclusion: “There are considerably better positioned NGOs in the area of deforestation protection.”
FIS wants to publish footprint figures
The reason why FIS chose Cool Earth as its service provider is: “Cool Earth has helped us achieve our goal of becoming carbon positive by 2022 on time.” How exactly this is calculated remains open. The FIS has announced that it will shortly publish the figures on the CO2 footprints of its competitions. However, she does not want to reveal how much it costs to offset the emissions. It is also open who controls the work of the FIS Rainforest Initiative.
Stand: 12.11.2021, 15:11
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FIS President and NGO Chairman – Criticism of Eliasch’s dual role