- WSL / Ed Sloane

The ocean critically influences our atmosphere, and a changing climate has consequences for our coasts and way of life. With this in mind, WSL pledged to become carbon neutral in 2019 by offsetting staff and athlete travel, events, and business operations, and also offset the 2018 calendar year, prior to making the commitment in 2019.

The WSL is offsetting its carbon footprint by investing in and supporting projects such as VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) and REDD+ (reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) certified carbon offset projects that have a focus on restoring and protecting natural ecosystems as well as supporting renewable energy development in each of the WSL's regions.

From 2018 to 2019 the WSL moved to 100% nature based solutions, adding the McCloud River and Jari Pará Project to their portfolio and continued this approach in 2020. Nature-based solutions, or natural climate solutions, are projects that restore, protect or transform land. In this way, nature absorbs more CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.

In addition, from 2018 to 2019 the WSL identified that staff flights were the largest source of emissions in 2018 accounting for 53.1% of all emissions. With this in mind, a concerted effort was made to reduce staff travel while still providing the best event experience possible for athletes and fans and reduced staff travel emissions to 45.8% of all emissions (reducing the largest emissions source by 7.3% YOY).

Since 2018, WSL has measured, reduced and offset emissions from WSL Championship Tour, Big Wave Tour and WSL Operations. In total, from 2018 through 2022, WSL has offset 22,003 tonnes of CO2 emissions (mtCO2e), including 100% nature-based solutions, which is equivalent to planting and growing 363,821 trees for 10 years (EPA). In 2021, WSL deepened its investment in this space by also offsetting operations at WSL Surf Ranch, in Lemoore, Calif., a world-class facility that features the longest, rippable, open barrel human-made wave.

For a detailed summary of WSL's ongoing carbon offset efforts from 2018 and beyond, please refer to our February 2024 article: Deep Dive: WSL's Carbon Offset Efforts in Review. This new article provides comprehensive insights into the diverse projects undertaken each year to mitigate carbon emissions and promote sustainability!

Surfers above a healthy reef in Tahiti © Kirstin We all depend on healthy oceans to survive. - WSL / Kirstin Scholtz
World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.