The following six principles represent what the members of RacingGreen advocate as the steps towards sustainability for sporting events. These six principles are aimed at a range of possible impacts – including transport, catering, water, waste and energy. Under the principles are an array of actions you could take of varying effort and return - see the box on the right. One example of a simple, cheap but effective first step might be to promote a “lift sharing” website for the event to reduce the number of car journeys to the site. The Crystal Palace Triathlon found that over 90% of their event’s carbon emissions came from transport to the site! Another step would be to support RacingGreen’s short online survey of participant views on event sustainability to develop yours and our evidence base while engaging your entrants on this issue.
The Six Spokes of Sustainability
1. Smaller footprints. Aim to cut the carbon footprint of your events year on year
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce the amount of waste produced by the event
year on year - re-using and recycling as much of the remainder as possible.
3. Respect. the local community and their environment, and support local
businesses where possible such as local food producers.
4. Engage and involve. your event is for your participants, tell them what you’re
doing and why, and help them to play a role in greening your event and the
sport in general. Public interest and awareness for the need to protect our
environment is growing, your event can capitalise on that.
5. Build the know-how. Understand what the main impacts of the event are and which options might make the most difference.
6. Sponsors for sustainability. Look to your sponsors to support and uphold your
commitment to sustainability.
Athletes for a Fit Planet - a group that offer consultancy advice and options for certification of events to different levels of environmental performance. They have a quick and easy scheme that will allow you to badge your event as taking a pledge for sustainability and set you on your way to further improvements. Check out their online resources.
As part of the Athletes for a Fit Planet "Sustainability Pledge" scheme you have the following options to choice from.These are good examples of the kinds of steps you can take.
|R1||Reduce paper waste by requiring at least 80% of total pre-registered race field to register online - only option for paper registration is at the event.|
|R2||No mailing of paper registration forms. (Takes effect within 24 hours of signing the Pledge)|
|R3||Provide recycling bins at the event and recycle cardboard, paper, plastic and other materials|
|R4||Provide information to athletes about public transportation options and/or provide them with ride-share options on your website.|
|R5||Provide athletes the option of offsetting their travel to and from Event.|
|E1||100% online registration|
|E2||No cotton t-shirts for athletes. Offer t-shirts made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, or other environmentally friendly material. (We recommend screen printing with non-toxic inks.)|
|E3||Offer a clothing and/or shoe recycling/reuse program (old running shoes and apparel can be recycled and/or contributed to charity organizations)|
|E4||All paper used to promote the event is at least 20% post-consumer recycled stock. (We recommend using non-toxic inks.)|
|E5||Provide race bags (AKA swag or goodie bags) that are recyclable and/or reusable. (We recommend the bags also be made from recycled materials.)|
|E6||No single-use disposable plastic bottles for water or sports drink distributed at the finish line. (We recommend you hand out reusable plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel bottles.)|
|E7||Provide green portable toilets that use non-toxic deodorizer and recycled toilet paper and paper towels.|
|E8||At least 80% of all marketing and participant communications facilitated through email or website updates instead of paper mail.|
|E9||Reuse at least 80% of all signage for the event.|
|E10||For new signage, purchase recyclable or biodegradable materials for signs and banners. (We recommend you use non-toxic inks.)|
|E11||At least 25% of all power used during the event is supplied from renewable sources such as solar, wind or bio-fuels either directly or indirectly through renewable energy credits or carbon offsets.|
|E12||Utilize bicycles, electric scooters, electric motorcycles, or electric/hybrid cars for pace and lead vehicles.|
|E13||For events that are point to point, provide shuttle buses for athletes that are powered by bio-fuel or another form of renewable energy or offset the vehicle emissions through carbon offsets.|
|E14||Provide environmental education as part of expo and/or race-day presentations (e.g. speakers, booth space for environmental organizations, and green product and service companies)|
|E15||Source sustainable finisher medals such as recycled/recyclable lanyards and metal and/or locally made medals from recycled materials.|
|E16||Provide composting for pre- and post-event meals. (we recommend using biodegradable/compostable tableware as well, such as plates, cups, knives and forks made from PLA.)|
|E17||Offset at least 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the race through sponsorships, a percent of the race fee, voluntary contributions from athletes, or other means.|
|E18||Encourage athletes to support an environmental initiative important to the Event by either volunteering time or donating money. This could be a local environmental project or cause or a national or international environmental charity.|
|E19||Serve at least some locally grown, fresh food at pre- and/or post-race meals. (We recommend offering organic food as well.)|
|E20||Provide VIP parking for carpoolers and bicycles.|
|E21||Get creative. e.g. give an award for the 'greenest' athlete or team; require athletes come to the event only by public transportation; make the race "carbon neutral," etc.|