More than ammunition: AFEMS’ commitment to sports, environment and social inclusion

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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The Association of European Manufacturers of Sporting Ammunition (AFEMS) is a non-profit, Europe-wide association based in Brussels providing a forum for its network of members and a means of responding effectively to technical, scientific and legislative challenges affecting the industry.

The association’s mission, however, goes beyond protecting its members’ interests and is at the forefront of defending social and environmental issues.

Hunting and sports shooting are sometimes perceived in a negative way despite the industry’s continuous commitment to positively impact the communities where these sports are practised.

That’s why AFEMS and its members work tirelessly to better communicate these benefits so the general public can have a holistic view of the industry, which is about much more than just lead.

Sports shooting industry provides a means for families to spend time together outdoors, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across Europe and is more concerned than anyone to preserve the environment where the sector-related activities are performed.

Bringing people closer to sports shooting so they can learn the basics and safety norms of target shooting is of paramount importance. The initiative by Fiocchi Munizioni, in collaboration with the University of Bologna, to organize a one-day event with 60 students and two Olympic shooters is an example of the industry’s efforts in this direction.

In the UK, the British manufacturer Eley Hawk has partnered with Oxford University, the Scout Movement and the Third Parachute Regiment, among others, to promote safe and environmental-friendly shooting activities among thousands of youngsters.

The industry’s efforts to protect and preserve the environment have too often gone unnoticed. Another commendable initiative is a project on biodiversity started in several school institutes in Emilia Romagna by Fondazione UNA Onlus with the collaboration of the Italian cartridges manufacturing company Baschieri & Pellagri.

The project, running through a period of three years, involvs in its first year 7 institutes, 20 teachers, 36 classes and over 850 students and is aimed at raising awareness amongst young people about the necessity of taking active care of the environment, educating them to protect resources and safeguard the biodiversity of their territory with a pro-active approach.

Interactive courses are given by environmental educators and a contest will be also launched for students’ families who will receive tutorship support, thus involving globally over 5000 contacts.

Cartuchos RIO, through its parent company MAXAM, has a Foundation which harness several initiatives aimed at contributing to the progress and well-being of our society. The non-profit organization carries out patronage activities in the field of culture with projects as its Painting Collection signed by renowned artists since 1900.

The artworks are commissioned to illustrate its prestigious calendar and presented to the general public in exhibitions around the world. And also in education, in collaboration with different universities.

Moreover, its mission is to organize, conserve and disseminate the historical heritage built up by the company and it organizes activities to promote and achieve goals related to research and development for civil, social, scientific and technological purposes.

These are just a few examples, but AFEMS has 57 member companies and 15 affiliates in 35 European countries (of which the EU-28 is fully represented), all of them equally committed.

The industry’s efforts to harness its resources and energies to enhance a conscious and healthy society and to reconnect the young generations with nature and wilderness are outstanding. AFEMS and its members take on this challenge every day and is fair for European people to be aware of.

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