IF YOU ARE AN EVENT ORGANIZER, THIS IS YOUR SPACE! HERE YOU CAN FIND TIPS AND IDEAS TO IMPROVE YOUR EVENT SUSTAINABILITY, AS WELL AS SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH OTHERS!
We know it is hard to achieve these goals and we want to give you ideas and tools to make these commitments easier for you. It is not about being the best but to join strengths and knowledge to do what’s best for the planet. Here is a guide with ideas, suggestions and tips to achieve those goals. Share your ideas so others can adopt them and together we can accelerate the pace to win this race.
Click the goals to find different sollutions:
GOAL 1: Became a carbon neutral event, and as long as the event is not climate neutral reduce, avoid and offset emissions.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral? It is the state when the GHG emissions associated with an entity, product or activity are compensated for or balanced by emission reductions elsewhere to achieve a status of net zero emissions for a defined period of time.
The GHG emissions can be from 3 sources:
- Direct ones (scope 1) : from activities or products owned or controlled by the organisation ( as fuel combustion, organisation mobility, cooling and heating, etc.)
- Indirect ones: The energy purcharged for the event ( scope 2) and other indirect ones (scope 3) as purchased goods and services, travels, organizers commuting, waste disposal, use of sold products (goodies and others), transportation, investments, etc.
First and the most important: Plan your carbon reduction roadmap! Here some tips to reduce the GHG emissions:
Direct ones (Scope 1):
- Don’t use helicopters for filming or transporting people (only for rescue). Instead, use drones for aerial footage. It is important both for reducing carbon emissions and for the wildlife tranquility.
- Privilege local filming crews and photographers.
- Limit the number of press traveling to the event from aboard and compensate for their carbon emissions. Prioritize fast transfer of information and media to the press.
- Replace fuel propelled vehicles transporting athletes, press and other invited persons or equipment to the event by non fuel ones (electric cars and e-cargo bikes).
- Use non fuel propelled vehicles to follow the race for media coverage and security (e-bikes instead of motorbikes, runners or skiers instead of snowmobiles…)
- Prioritize services (hotels, catering, etc.) that are climate neutral, have eco certificates or an environmental policy.
Indirect ones (Scope 2):
- Optimize the energy needs.Plan in advance and only distribute the air conditioning and lighting equipment which is strictly necessary.
- Make sure to disconnect unnecessary lighting, electronic equipment, air conditioning after use.
- Use LED lighting.
- Use energy efficient cooking and heating.
- Avoid open fireplaces for heating and cooking on wood-burning stoves.
- Integrate systems to save energy in lighting such as timers, motion detectors, etc.
- Make responsible use of air conditioning, correctly adapting the temperature to no more than comfort level, and ensuring that the areas are equipped with systems for energy efficiency (insulation, etc.).
- Make sure heated or cooled spaces remain closed to avoid energy waste.
- Refer to goal 2 “Use 100% of renewable energy to supply the organizing needs.
Indirect ones (Scope 3):
- When registering for the event give participants the option to compensate the carbon footprint of their travel to the event (it can be giving an estimate for the average travel of all participants or a complete individual option with its travel calculation) and direct the compensation towards the climate and environmental actions.
- Encourage participants to use greener transportation (train, public transport to attend the event and give indications and facilities for it)
- Find a partner to compensate for the cost of the GHG emissions. It could be, for instance, the regional energy supplier.
- Reward the approach of participants, volunteers, media etc. e.g: reduction of the fee, gift or bonus for those who use soft mobility (bicycle, train, bus, carpooling …) to get to the event.
- Join platforms like Sports for Climate Action or/and Climate Neutral Now
GOAL 2: Use 100% renewable energy to supply the organizing needs.
- Check if the energy purchased for the event is provided from renewable energy sources. If it isn’t, change to a company that uses only renewable ones.
- If producing the energy directly, ensure it comes from non-fuel sources: solar panels, photovoltaic electric generators, portable wind turbines or other portable renewable generators instead of fuel engines.
GOAL 3: Reduce mobility of organizers, spectators and assistance crews and ensure that a minimum of 80% of those journeys are made by low carbon transport.
For the organizer’s transportation:
- Limit the number of vehicles operating ,before (preparation phase), during, and after the event.
- Reduce the total mileage of these vehicles.
- Evolve towards less-polluting vehicles (hybrids, electric, etc.)
- Increase the number of people in each vehicle, i.e. use vehicles efficiently
For the spectators and assistance crews:
- Make a plan for transportation of participants, spectators, organizers, volunteers, etc. prioritizing sustainable forms of transport (shared transport for participants and spectators, electric cars for organizers…)
- Limit the areas where spectators can access to reduce the environmental damage and amount of transportation.
- Put an upper limit on amount of parking available to spectators & crews
- During the event, limit or disallow in-race assistance by crews to the participants in order to reduce the environmental damage and transportation.
- Promote Carpool/car sharing on your website, social media, etc.
- Reduce parking spots for spectators.
- Work on agreements with bus/train companies or public transport companies for the participants and spectators. Have a “Combi-ticket” where with the event entry the participant or spectator can travel free of cost using the public transportation (train, bus…) in the city/region before, during, and after the event.
GOAL 4: Reduce the waste by at least 50% from the current levels and do selective collection of all the waste.
- Write instructions that can be used to inform and train event staff and volunteers. Draw a site map with waste collection, conveyance and sorting areas identified.
- Have a point of contact for anyone with questions about the waste management plan during the event.
- Do an inventory of all the equipment/marking that will be used and where it will be used, in order to ensure 100% removal after the event.
Food and waste:
- Have recycling cans and food composting boxes at all aid stations.
- Inform about and enable waste collection at aid stations and ensure that these facilities are located in easily accessible places.
- Plan the collection and selective disposal for waste recycling and how to transport it to the recycling site from the various event places.
- Make easy to find recycling cans and disposal sites, work on their visibility on the different zones to inform/educate.
- Supply volunteers and members of the organization with waste collection bags.
- With the inscription give a bag made of recycled (or upcyled) material to put the waste during the race, then when you reached the finish line if you delivered it, you entered in raffle or discount for a entry the following year.
- Eliminate disposable cups in aid stations, require participants to bring their own reusable cups for their use during the event. If you must have disposable cups, please remember to opt for the more eco-friendly alternatives like returnable beakers or beakers made from compostable or recycled materials (Bamboo cups, nopla https://www.notpla.com or other compostable materials).
- Avoid giving packaged food or drink and, if necessary, facilitate the use of gels and energy bars which can be opened without separating any part of the packaging.
- Use food and drink in bulk.
- Choose large formats for drinks and food. Serve all the food and beverages in big format packaging and don’t use mono-dose formats. Individual portions should be avoided in order to reduce packaging.
- Avoid providing disposable products (cutlery, glasses, plates,etc.) and use reusable ones instead. Or at least made of biodegradable materials. Don’t use single-use paper table cloths and napkins.
- Donate food leftovers to charities, volunteers, or local farms to avoid food waste.
- Use reusable marking flags, preferably made from biodegradable materials (potato fiber, wood, starch, etc.) in case they are lost or forgotten. Or make your own banners and flags from sustainable materials.
- Ensure that marking flags are properly anchored to prevent dispersal (by wind, animals…)
- Limit advertising banners to points of departure and arrivals.
- Avoid permanent marking such as paint, sprays or other products that are difficult to remove. If using them, choose an organic based dye or alternative to aniline.
- Once the event is over, remove and collect methodically all material you have introduced, preferably within the next 48h.
Goodies and other waste:
- Change goodies (teeshirts, promotional gear, gifts, merchendaising, etc.) and “racer bag” for an environmental sollution like planting a tree ( https://www.treesnottees.com )
- Replace racer bag and goodies by local sustainable products.
- Reuse or recycle bib numbers.
- Think about the circular economy of the race waste, for example, survival blankets can be recycled to boards: https://www.heatsheets.com/blankets-to-boards.
- Upcycle the race gear, use the outdated materials of the event to make a new ones, like racers bags. (ex: Trans Quilian)
- Do selective disposal of all your waste, ask the local authorities if they can supply the event with the specific containers (as an example) :
- Refuse any single use plastic packaging your merchandise comes in. Buy things you want to keep/wear again and again.
- Have a Recovery of clothes on departure/arrival sites in partnership with interested associations. (ex: https://rerunclothing.org )
|Container||Cartons, bottles and plastic containers, cans, lids and bottle tops (in aluminium and plastic), paper and aluminium trays, cling film, polystyrene trays, etc.||Specific container (yellow) *|
|Paper||Office paper, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, etc.||Specific container (blue) *|
|Glass||Bottles and glass jars||Specific container (green) *|
|Organic||Food waste||Give away, the last waste at specific container (brown) *|
|Others||Plastic boxes, batteries, electronic and electrical equipment, oil, camping gas, printer toners, plastic (flanges, etc.), wood, furniture, large items (banners, etc.), medicines, etc.||Green Point (eco-point, sorting center, rubbish depot, etc.)https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling |
* The shape and colour characteristic of these containers also tends to change depending on the location.
GOAL 5: Use 100% ecologically friendly and fair materials for the event and the communication.
- Eliminate part or all printed communication (flyers, posters, magazines…) and ensure for it to be produced from recycled paper and with sustainable tints. https://sgppartnership.org
- Use only recyclable race timing equipment. Throwaway RFID race tags contain rare earth materials, copper, electronic chips and plastic. None of this is recycled. The alternative would be to use re-usable RFID tags or BLE Pods. These are recovered by the race organiser at the end of the race and then washed and handed to another athlete at next race.
- Minimise the production of printed materials using digital alternatives (mail, cloud, USB stick, etc) for communication and advertising.
- Use non-plastic, local or recycled materials in place of virgin resources for items such as T-shirts, medals, racers pack, etc.
- Give the participants a possibility to opt out of receiving a racer pack and to to choose an environmental cause, e.g. change the T-shirt for planting a tree (https://www.treesnottees.com )
- T -shirts should be from recycled polyester, organic or with GOTS certification, or other sustainable fibers and yarns in their fabrics.
- No plastic bags. If there are bags, they should be made of cloth, mesh, or another easily reused material. Alternatively, they could be made from a post-consumer recycled content.
- Trophies and gifts should be sourced from local artists/producers.
- Food to aid stations and catering should be from fair and local markets.
- Select an eco-friendly name badge system.
GOAL 6: Source at least 50% of the food catering for participants, spectators and staff in a sustainable way.
- Choose local and/or organic products, preferably with certification.
- Have a vegetarian/vegan option.
- Make sure food and catering are from fair markets.
GOAL 7: Do an assessment of the land erosion and wildlife impact to determine the locations or track, best dates for the event, the number of participants and spectators in the event and the pre- and post- environmental work to preserve the natural character and ecological integrity of the space.
When organizing an event it is important to take into account the natural damage from the preparation and realisation of the event. A study of the land damage and biodiversity of the area should be carried to minimize that damage and to find the best dates, locations and number of participants and spectators during the event as well as before for preparation. This study should be carried with the local environmental authorities and should take into account subjects as:
- Locations and race track, best dates for the event, the number of participants and spectators in the event.
- Erosion and compaction of the land by participants (making trails wider or deeper, introducing of new trails, erosion of the rock…) as well as by organizers in aid stations or control and supply points.
- The erosion by the poles with metal tips. Forbid the use of poles in sensitive areas or allow only rubber tips use.
- The erosion by vehicles of the organization, crews and supporters.
- Impact on flora species in general, and especially on scarce or protected species, by people or vehicles (trampling, collection).
- Introduction of invasive and ruderal species.
- Favoring of nitrophilous species and ruderalization of the sectors where waste, excrement, etc. accumulates.
- Displacement of the fauna by the presence of participants or public attending the event.
- Noise nuisance, night lights, strong odors.
- Control the volume and orientation of stereos so they don’t exceed the recommended limits (70 decibels) and limit them to urban areas.
- Think about the noise produced by vehicles, especially helicopters, and by motorized machines.
- Reproduction failures due to abandonment of nests.
- Interaction with drones or other aircraft.
- Disorders of natural behavior (stress due to alertness, difficulty accessing and limited sources of food and in places of day or night rest, disintegration of groups and separation of offspring from the mother making them more vulnerable to predators).
- Serious alterations due to disturbances in winter (energy expenditure on escaping is not acceptable in the high mountains, combined with reduced fitness, this affects survival and reproduction).
- Disappearance or decrease of species due to excessive frequentation of critical sectors (when participants go to train in the site before the event): empty effect in its environment.
- Discomfort and predation of the fauna by the dogs that accompany some participants, crews, and spectators.
- Avoid loudspeakers at controls located outside urban centers.
- Design the itinerary to avoid passing through areas with sensitive flora or through meadows and areas without a path, or affected during delicate periods (flowering, fruiting).
- Delimit/fence immediate sensitive sectors to avoid accidental trampling.
- Calculate the actual footprint of the participants to determine the actions to take.
- Clean the route and locations before and after the event.
- Distribute participants during a longer period to avoid overcrowded situations that can have a bigger impact in biodiversity or land erosion. (Event during all year, a month, etc)
- Accentuate the commitments around the safeguarding of the sites or finance associations or NGOs to rehabilitate, renovate, etc. the places.
GOAL 8: Require participants to do environmental or conservation work to enter the event.
Volunteering environmental work means to do a non profit action or work to help conserve and protect the environment. Those actions can be very different: cleaning a river or a glacier, planting trees, repairing a trail, carrying gear for scientific research, building an urban farm and a long et cetera.
Make runners/volunteers/brands to sign an event charter to inform/promote environmental actions.
How and where?
- On your website, publish a list with possible actions or organisations that participants can join to do conservation work.
- Make your own conservation work and invite participants, volunteers, spectators to join. This can be from working on the trail to prevent erosion, reforesting or restoring damaged areas in the event sites or cleaning activities in the area.
Here you can find a environmental works directory
Here is an example of the requirement certificate to ask participants
ENVIRONMENTAL WORK CERTIFICATE
I hereby declare that I have been doing environmental work with (ORGANISATION NAME) doing (DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK ) during (DATES)
WORK RESPONSIBLE’S NAME________________________ CONTACT__________________
GOAL 9: Promote a more sustainable, inclusive and intersectional sport, through pre-/post-/ onsite campaigns and activities that promote environmentally friendly practices. Work preferentially with sponsors that have environmental commitments.
- During the event, organize an environmentally oriented activity (Plogga run, environmental conference by invited athletes, local park authorities, climate specialists, etc.) facilitate gear donation to non-profits, gear repairing, organize Kids activities, organize educational activities around selective sorting and recycling, etc.
- Put up a place where participants can repair, donatie and / or recycling their gear.
- When looking for partners, ask them about their environmental commitments.
- A environmental transformation should be inclusive and intersectorial. Promote inclusive events and work on the insertion of populations through events.
- Promote women equality in your event: https://calendar.trailsisters.net/trail-sisters-approved/
- Propose universal events with accessibility as a highlight.
- Promote a intersectional environmentalism: https://www.intersectionalenvironmentalist.com
GOAL 10: Protect the water. Optimize its consumption and don’t use products that pollute it.
- Use cleaning products that contain no water polluters and toxic components such as bleach and traditional strong cleaning products..
- Opt for certified cleaning companies (ISO, EMAS, …) committed to sustainable cleaning.
- Use eco labelled and natural products rather than synthetic chemicals.
- If renting portable WC, use non-chemical ones with wood chips or other ecological alternatives. (prefer dry rather than chemical toilets + sourcing of cleaning products)
- Use faucet savers in the taps.
- In aid stations or catering, use big water containers instead of individual ones.
- Limit the consumption of shower water by encouraging water savings through adapted messages and timing equipment (e.g. 4 minutes).
- If organizing a snow event, avoid using artificial snow, its production requires big amounts of water and energy.
- If organizing a snow event, avoid or minimize the use of products that pollute the environment, such as fuorinated waxes for skiing, dye sprays for marking, explosives for avalanches, etc.
Do your want your event to collaborate with the Kilian Jornet Foundation? There’s several ways.
- Outdoor Freindly Bib numbers: Granted to runners who wish to support the foundation by donating directly or through sponsors.
- KJF collaboration: the race can support donating a sum for each participant entry, and the foundation will provide materials to the race to communicate about mountain environment.
- The donations will support the different projects of the foundation. Find them here.
DO YOU HAVE MORE TIPS? LET EVERYONE KNOW!