Climate change is one of the greatest concerns for biathlon fans, according to an IBU survey ©Getty Images

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has established a sustainability expert group in a bid to protect the sport and the world from the effects of climate change.

It comes after the IBU introduced its new long-term strategy "Target 26", which aims to make the IBU a leading governing body in sustainability in sport and targets three areas - environmental, social and economic.

The Sustainability Expert Reference Group (ERG) will look to consult in those changes to ensure the best decisions are made.

Those who will be part of the group, including environmental experts and former athletes, are Yannick Aujouannet and Franck Choquard of France, Denis Bochatay and Diego Züger of Switzerland, Laura Dahlmeier of Germany, Erik Melin Söderström of Sweden, Daniel Osterauer of Austria, Marisa Schlenker of the United States and Brita Staal of Norway.

Aujouannet has been brought on board for his experience with local Organising Committees and an event and sustainable development coordinator.

Choquard serves as head of content and servicing at Eurovision Sport and represent IBU's broadcast partner who look to increase awareness of sustainability.

Osterauer and Züger work in marketing, while the likes of Söderström and Schlenker work in sustainability development.

Double Olympic champion Dahlmeier, who retired from biathlon in 2019, will serve on the group as an athlete representative and welcomes the formation of the group.

Laura Dahlmeier is an athlete representative on the sustainability group ©Getty Images
Laura Dahlmeier is an athlete representative on the sustainability group ©Getty Images

"Thanks to its worldwide fanbase, biathlon has a fantastic opportunity to connect with millions of people to promote the importance of concrete personal action to fight climate change," Dahlmeier said.

"We all can help by making conscious good decisions on a daily basis.

"It makes sense for the IBU to take a leading role in promoting sustainable development in sport and I am happy to be part of the team."

Sustainability expert Brita Staal, President of Protect Our Winters Europe, added: "There is a need for strong leadership in taking climate action in winter sports, and the time for that is now.

"The IBU can show the way by driving cultural change and by implementing low carbon solutions across its operations, events and membership, as well as by reaching out to other winter sports, the winter sports industry and decision-makers.

"The Target 26 strategy even mandates that."

The ERG started its work in early June and will initially support IBU staff in the development of IBU sustainability strategy, which will be reviewed and approved by the Executive Board at the IBU Congress in Prague in the Czech Republic from November 13 to 15.