What is Athletics for a Better World?


Athletics is the world’s sport – nothing is more simple or universal. This means accepting a global responsibility to use the power and reach of athletics to make a positive difference. 


That's the driving force behind our landmark social responsibility programme, Athletics for a Better World (ABW), which harnesses the commitment and energy of the worldwide athletics family to inspire lasting change across all segments of the sport and the society that embraces it.


Propelled by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and united under a common brand, the ABW platform promotes all World Athletics projects that seek to use athletics as a tool for social good. In recent years those have included:


  • driving forward the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy, a 10-year plan designed to balance the economic, social and environmental impact of our sport and events to ensure we meet the needs of today’s generation without compromising the needs of future generations;
  • embed principles of sustainability into the delivery of all athletics events through the Athletics for a Better World Standard, a certification that evaluates and measures an event’s achievement in environmental and social sustainable delivery and in delivering the event in alignment with the six pillars that frame our strategy.
  • the World Athletics Air Quality project, a broad research campaign to raise awareness about air pollution around the world and the impact it has on elite athletes, recreational runners and the spectators and fans that enjoy our events;
  • support for the world's only year-round Athlete Refugee Team, providing high level training and competitive opportunites to athletes who have fled violence, conflict and injustice at home; and
  • the development and promotion of a Safeguarding Policy that ensures all participants in our sport a safe and welcoming environment.


Social responsibility and sustainability are key elements of the World Athletics strategic vision that allow athletics to be seen as more than just 'another performance-driven sport' - but rather as something with much more to offer, a true vehicle through which to help build a better world. Through our events, campaigns and social responsibility programme partnerships, we are ready to activate a worldwide network of Area Associations, Member Federations, local organising committees, athletes, volunteers, families, sponsors and public institutions who believe in the values of our sport.


Working closely with event organisers, World Athletics will provide the leadership so that our stakeholders can add value to their own work by concentrating the synergies of projects in the fields of health, environment, social inclusion and peace.



Mass athletics participation activities which contribute to creating a healthier, fitter society, especially for young people.



A healthy environment is the foundation of a healthy society which underpins a resilient economy. Through its Athletics for a Better World Standard, World Athletics will develop, implement and promote event delivery practices that reduce environmental impact and increase social and local economic benefits, challenge some 'business as usual' practices.


Social inclusion and athlete safety

We will promote events and programmes that bring people together to help overcome the challenges caused by social inequality and ensure that all participants do so in a safe environment.



By working with external partners, we can ensure there is awareness and advocacy for using sport to bring peace to areas of conflict.