Janja Garnbret made history as the first female winner of an Olympic gold medal in sport climbing at Tokyo 2020.

Since her Olympic success, she has used her platform for good and is championing sustainability in her native Slovenia.

Janja encourages you to use your voice as an athlete and support the causes that are important to you.


I heard that the Slovenian Winter Olympic team were offsetting carbon emissions, so I joined forces with them and together we planted over 5,000 trees.

Janja Garnbret

I’ve always wanted to do something in the field of sustainability, and I’ve been thinking for a long time about what I can do. Why? Because it feels important to me to create awareness for this topic and try to give back.

The start of my process came with the realisation that as a professional athlete I’m totally dependent on mobility. To reduce my driving or flying I would have to quit my profession or refrain from competing on an international level. So, I asked myself what I can do?

Working for a better future

The first obvious step to me and my team was to calculate the carbon footprint of my air travels and driving, and the number sounded quite high to me. There were several offsetting projects that I considered in Argentina or Nepal, but I preferred to do something domestically. I heard that the Slovenian Winter Olympic team were offsetting carbon emissions, so I joined forces with them and together we planted over 5,000 trees. This is something I want to do every year now, I really enjoyed doing it.

Why trees? In Slovenia, we have a lot of forests, one of the highest densities of trees in any country worldwide. I first realised when I visited big cities, like Tokyo, that the one thing I always miss is that feeling of being surrounded by nature. And with cities continuously growing, it feels like forests are getting smaller and I believe preserving them or replanting trees is a good first step.

Climbers tend to spend a lot of time out in nature rock climbing, so there is an awareness to build on. Sustainability is a big word and I believe that as a society we are yet to find out what it truly means and how we can implement it to our everyday lives. With sport climbing now in the Olympics, we have more recognition, which is great, and I hope that we can do more positive things in this area.

Make yourself heard

I think that it’s really important to make use of your voice as an athlete. You have to be aware that people look up to you or are influenced by what you do, not just kids, but anyone who follows your activities. That’s why I try to share a positive mindset and try to do something useful for tomorrow.

Learn how you can be a sustainability champion like Janja Garnbret, too.