Marcelien de Koning, left, has taken up a role with NOC*NSF in sustainability ©Getty Images

The Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF) has appointed its first "Chef de Emission" - three-time sailing world champion Marcelien de Koning - in a bid to accelerate sustainability.

In her role, De Koning will look at how sport can contribute to sustainability challenges, going past just the responsibilities of the NOC*NSF.

"The activities and terrain of TeamNL are of course international by definition," said Maurits Hendriks, technical director at NOC*NSF.

"That entails responsibility for, for example, the emissions that we cause with the TeamNL broadcasts, but we want to go further.

"We appoint the TeamNL Chef de Emission because we want to reduce ourselves and encourage others to behave more sustainably.

"Sport has enormous potential to contribute to a more sustainable world.

"Especially because you can reach half the world's population with sport.

"This is one of the themes that athletes are really concerned about. 

"Some are committed to cleaner oceans, others are concerned with the origin of their food or their sportswear.

"That is another reason for us to put sustainability high on the agenda."

De Koning is a well-decorated sailor, having won the silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the women's 470.

It came off the back of three consecutive gold medals in the event at the World Championships between 2005 and 2007.

"NOC*NSF is already a co-signatory of the Roadmap for Sustainability in Sport and work is already underway on a sustainable sports infrastructure within the framework of the Sports Agreement, but there is still a lot to gain for sport to be a sustainability podium," said De Koning.

"There are already many great initiatives within the sports world.

"For example, 1,500 sports associations have requested a coaching programme via the Sports Agreement to make their club more sustainable.

"It is time to make such initiatives more visible and to inspire others with them.

"We often sailed near a big city and sometimes we had to stop because the water was just too dirty.

"Sailing on was then too unhealthy, that lit the fire in me.

"So since I no longer sail at top level, I am committed to the energy transition and all innovations that are happening in The Netherlands in the field of water, maritime and delta technology."

De Koning has also been awarded with the Order of Orange-Nassau for her contribution to sport.