Destination Marketing Professionals Invited to Participate in Responsible Event Activities Survey

Eugene—August 10, 2017—Destination marketing professionals are invited to participate in a survey intended to assess the ways destination marketing organizations (DMOs) help host events in their communities that meet the ‘triple bottom lines’ of economic, social and environmental responsibility.

The Council for Responsible Sport is supervising the survey in partnership with Eugene, Cascades & Coast as part of a ‘Responsible Events’ project that received grant funding from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to explore how events can be managed to set and meet ‘triple bottom line’ sustainability goals in cities across the U.S.

The survey is open to tourism industry professionals in any U.S. city that are involved with the recruitment, bidding, sales and production of events in their destination. While there are eight primary participating U.S. cities collaborating on the project, including: Eugene, OR; San Jose, CA; Houston, TX; Boulder, CO; Minneapolis, MN; Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; and Washington D.C., the results of the survey will be published in early 2018 by USDN and the Council for Responsible Sport.

The City of Eugene’s ‘We Can!’ booth for events showcases ways citizens can get involved, be healthy and reduce impacts

Research gathered through the study will help inform the development of comprehensive sustainability guidelines and valuable tools to cities and event organizers nationwide to make it easier to produce and host events that reach standards for environmental consideration, social inclusion and economic impact.

“There isn’t very much reliable data on how DMOs and Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB) contribute to things like enabling and activating sustainability-related sponsorships, on-site waste management efforts, promoting public transport to event guests, and getting local youth involved” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director at the Council for Responsible Sport. “We’re really excited to invite people in this field to pitch in a little time for the greater good and to see what insights we can find and share out.”

DMO, CVB and sports commissions professionals from across the country are called upon to contribute to this work in an important and valuable way by participating in the responsible event survey now. If participants would like to receive updates on the results of the survey, they can sign up for the Council for Responsible Sport’s mailing list here.

The survey can be Accessed here.

The survey will run from August 10-25, 2017.

August 11th, 2017 | | Innovation, News & Views

Green Turns to Gold at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Organizers improve on past performance to earn gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for Social and Environmental Initiatives

Eugene, OR—August 8, 2017—The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), held October 16, 2016 and hosted by Canada Running Series, has achieved Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council) by improving performance from its first certification effort (silver) in 2015. Organizers earned credit on 45 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events, up from 38 achieved in 2015. The marathon, which hosted over 25,000 participants in 2016, remains the only certified event in Toronto out of over 150 total certified events worldwide.

Green Team volunteers help sort waste into proper bins at the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Race Director Alan Brookes said “Canada Running Series is passionately committed to ‘building community through running’ – and that means the cities we live in as well as the sport we love. Sustainable communities; green, healthy cities for people, and the organizing of environmentally responsible runs are core values for us. We’re proud of this achievement for our city, and the certification will inspire us to do more.”

Certification is valid for two years. It is achieved by complying with criteria across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. Highlights from the event that earned credit towards certification included:

  • Continual improvements to a comprehensive solid waste management plan to strive for high rates of diversion from landfill. Green team members assisted with proper placement of garbage, recycling and compost at each waste station.
  • 135 pairs of lightly used running shoes were collected and redistributed through partner organization Community Education Services (CES) Canada, which provides secondary school education for youth orphaned in Kenya.
  • 740 pounds of food was donated to Second Harvest, a local food bank that distributes the food to those in need.
  • 1,200 local youth in grades 4-8 finished an active lifestyle training program by running in the 5K event weekend free. Canada Running Series covered all transportation costs, t-shirts, bib numbers and a nutritional snack, with gifts totaling around $36,000.
  • Canada Running Series staff coordinated a staff outing to clean-up a community park along the marathon route.
  • The Neighbourhood Challenge annually provides an opportunity for neighborhoods along the marathon route to gather and celebrate their communities by providing resources, coordination support and even prize money for categories including most people, most noise, best costumes and best entertainment.
  • Supported locally owned businesses such as Chiovitti Banana and Vert Catering through direct purchases and promotion.
  • The Scotiabank Charity Challenge helps to make runner’s participation meaningful by fundraising for causes important to them. Scotiabank adds an additional total of $33,000 in cash awards to the participating charities who recruit the most runners, fundraise the most dollars and who raise the most on average per fundraiser. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a turnkey fundraising program that provides a simple way for runners to support the charity of their choice and make a significant impact locally. Participating charities keep 100 per cent of the proceeds raised, as Scotiabank pays for all transaction and credit card fees.


“The Council for Responsible Sport congratulates Canada Running Series on this most recent accomplishment. It’s a group that has worked hard for many years now to think strategically about what it means to host events that truly support local economies, build community and reduce the environmental impacts of their planning and purchases. That’s the core of the responsible sport movement!” Said the Council’s managing director, Shelley Villalobos.

Supporters cheer as runners pass at the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon


About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries.

August 8th, 2017 | | Community Legacy, News & Views

The Cowtown™ Marathon Earns Silver Certification for Socially and Environmentally Responsible Initiatives at the 2017 Event

The 2017 Cowtown Marathon has officially earned silver level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council), an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work that sports event organizers do to make a difference in their communities.

The two-year certification was awarded based on planned activities and programs, documentation of policies and on-site assessment of the 2017 Cowtown race weekend by a third-party evaluator from Waste Management Sustainability Services.

“It was a pleasure to witness the Cowtown Marathon’s commitment and comprehensive sustainability efforts” said Ashley Faseler, the assigned evaluator from Waste Management. “This year’s event embraced programs that intended to reduce transportation impacts, institute recycling and composting and conserve water.  These initiatives round out the Cowtown‘s iconic event that supports and embraces youth and community in a way that should be considered a best practice for all race organizers.

Finishers complete the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas on February 26, 2017

The event achieved 41 of the best practice standards set forth by the Council and credit was earned in each of program’s five categories, including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. An event sustainability report showing performance in each category can be seen here.

“The Cowtown is proud to have achieved this certification. While it is a broad team effort, I want to specifically recognize Cowtown Operations Director Bryan Cathey’s tireless perseverance and dedication in planning and implementing new programming aspects such as Cowboy Compost, as well as leading the certification process,” said Cowtown Executive Director Heidi Swartz.

Cowboy Compost raises awareness in the Greater Fort Worth area about current organic waste challenges, and to provide residential and commercial composting services previously unavailable in Fort Worth.

“The certification process is rigorous, with documentation requirements in place to ensure transparency and create a useful baseline for tracking performance year after year,” said Council Managing Director Shelley Villalobos. “On behalf of the entire Council staff and board, congratulations to The Cowtown, and thank you for your efforts, which are a significant contribution towards a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm.”


About The Cowtown:

The Cowtown, the largest multi-event road race in North Texas, has a $10.4 annual economic impact in Fort Worth, Texas, and has one of the largest youth runs in the nation. The 40th annual Cowtown is scheduled for Friday, February 23rd through Sunday, February 25th at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The Cowtown races are presented by the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Medical City Healthcare, MillerCoors, Star Telegram, NBC 5, and Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet. For more information, see


July 26th, 2017 | | News & Views, Uncategorized

2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon Levels Up to Gold Certification

The 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon produced by Conqur Endurance Group has been awarded Gold Level Certification. The marathon earned credit on 46 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events, up from the 36 criteria the Marathon met to gain Silver level certification in 2015.

At the 2017 event, a combined eight tons of clothing dropped near the starting line and leftover food from the finish area were donated to local organizations for redistribution to those in need.

Certification lasts two years and requires meeting or exceeding standards across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. Organizers met all the possible best practices in the access & equity category, and were lauded for working closely year-round with the Los Angeles based non-profit Students Run LA (SRLA) to promote active lifestyles to local at-risk high school students through the donation of 3,500 marathon entries annually, valued at over half a million dollars.

The event diverted 62 percent of waste generated from the landfill, up from 47 percent diversion reported in 2015. The bump can be attributed to increased collaboration with the multiple municipal jurisdictions along the marathon course including a pilot compost collection of banana peels and biodegradable service wares at the finish area with the City of Santa Monica. Also, a combined eight tons of clothing dropped near the starting line and leftover food from the finish area were donated to local organizations for redistribution to those in need.

“We’re honored to earn this certification and to be a part of this incredible movement,” stated Tracey Russell, Chief Executive of Conqur Endurance Group. “We remain dedicated to reducing our footprint while expanding the marathon’s impact both locally and globally.”

“The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is a catalyst for change,” said Stacey Embretson, Senior Director of Operations for Conqur. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve and to engage our athletes in new ways, so this is really just the beginning for us.”

Organizers are working with local non-profits and the City of Los Angeles to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles in future years, as well as consider ways to reduce energy use and engage participants with issues important to the community.

The Council’s managing director, Shelley Villalobos, said “The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is dedicated to its own improvement year over year, and organizers have worked hard to educate themselves and make adjustments in their decision making to enhance the sustainability of the event. It’s encouraging to see such a major marathon embrace change so openly. This is the type of leadership that is so needed on a broader scale in the industry—the gold level certification reflects the work that’s been put in behind the commitment.”

Read Also: ‘Greening the LA Marathon’ Interview with sustainability manager Jamie Simon (Green Sports Blog)

About Conqur Endurance Group:

Conqur Endurance Group, a subsidiary of McCourt LP, creates world-class experiences that ignite passion in athletes and connect communities through the transformative power of sport. The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is among the largest marathons in the country with 24,000 participants, thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators. The “Stadium to the Sea” course, starting at Dodger Stadium and finishing near the Santa Monica Pier, is one of the most scenic in the world, taking runners on a tour of Los Angeles past every major landmark. In addition to the marquee event, Conqur Endurance Group produces the Pasadena Half Marathon & 5K at the Rose Bowl, the Santa Monica Classic 5K/10K and the LA BIG 5K. Conqur also owns and operates one of the largest marathon training programs in the U.S., the LA Road Runners. Through official charity programs and strategic partnerships, Conqur supports dozens of nonprofit partners; the most notable being Students Run LA, one of the foremost nonprofit youth running programs in the nation. For more information, please visit

2017 NCAA Final Four Earns Evergreen Level Certification with a Focus on Water in the West

The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee achieved Evergreen, the highest-level certification possible from the Council for Responsible Sport

The 2017 NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship held in Phoenix this April has earned the top-level Evergreen Certification for its sustainability efforts and achievements.

“The 2017 Phoenix Final Four is proud to have attained this level of certification. From the start of our local planning we made a commitment to Sustainability” said Dawn Rogers, 2017 Final Four LOC Executive Director and CEO.  “We are thankful for the partners we had across Arizona including donors, cities, organizations and the thousands of volunteers that worked hard to deliver an exceptional experience to Final Four fans. This really is a shared achievement by everyone involved.”

Dan Gavitt, Senior Vice President of Basketball at NCAA remarked, “The NCAA is both proud and deeply appreciative of the efforts of the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee and all of our partners for achieving the highest level of certification for sustainability.  The 2017 Final Four was highly successful in every way, and to be recognized as a socially and environmentally responsible event means we accomplished another important goal.  It is fitting that the entire community of the naturally beautiful Valley of the Sun helped reach this remarkable achievement for the 2017 Final Four.”

“Congratulations to the local organizing committee, NCAA, sustainability committee and all the contributing partners on this unprecedented level of achievement with regards to social and environmental responsibility for the Final Four.” Said Ray Anderson, Vice President for University Athletics at Arizona State University. “It makes me proud to be part of the community that so fully embraces the values represented in this certification effort.“

Photo booths set up around the Fan Festival and ‘Tip Off Tailgate’ areas engaged 5,300 people to take a picture and a pledge that would translate to the restoration of 1,000 gallons of water to local watersheds per pledge in partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s ‘Change the Course’ campaign.

“We set out to ‘Leave a Legacy’ through the power of sports. Evergreen level certification is not only attainable, but opens new partnership opportunities, decreases costs and liabilities, and increases fan engagement and experience.” Said Colin Tetreault, chair of the 2017 Final Four sustainability committee. “Credit for reaching this goal is due to the willing efforts of many partners—from the NCAA and local organizing committee, to the myriad regional partners and tireless team members of the sustainability committee.”

The Evergreen level certification was earned by achieving more than 90 percent of the 61 total best practice standards offered in the Council’s framework across five categories including: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy.

Environmental highlights that earned credit toward the certification included:

  • 91 percent of all unavoidable waste was diverted from the landfill via a robust recycling, reuse and compost strategy led by the City of Phoenix Department of Public Works, which has a goal for Phoenix to divert 40 percent of waste from landfill by 2020. Other strategies coordinated by the sustainability committee included requiring vendors to use compostable service wares, donating leftover unserved concessions foods, and donation of hard-to-manage items like vinyl signage to groups like Keep Phoenix Beautiful and Girl Scouts Cactus Pine Council.
  • 5,300 Fan Fest, Tip Off Tailgate, and Music Fest visitors took a water saving pledge (and a selfie to #DropBuckets4AZ). The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) pledged to restore 1,000 gallons of water to Arizona Watersheds for each picture taken. The fan pledges resulted in restoring 5.3 million gallons of freshwater into an Arizona ecosystem as part of the largest sport event activation to-date from BEF’s ongoing ‘Change the Course’ campaign.
  • All of the electricity used at the Phoenix Convention Center (Fan Fest) and stadium during the event weekend was sourced from greenhouse gas emissions free sources through the purchase of verified Renewable Energy Certificates. Arizona is the state with the second most installed solar energy capacity in the U.S.—2,303 Megawatts—enough to power 327,000 homes.
  • An e-waste collection alongside volunteer training sessions resulted in the proper recycling of 925 pounds of electronic waste with support from LG.
  • The sustainability committee orchestrated a community-based watershed service project where volunteers worked for a half-day in the Tonto National Forest Arnett Creek Wilderness, in partnership with Salt River Project and the Northern Arizona Forest Fund to remove water-stressing invasive species from the local ecosystem.


Social and community highlights that earned credit toward the certification included:

  • 34,000 third graders combined to read 6.2 million minutes over a three-month period through participation in ‘Read to the Final Four,’ a statewide literacy competition to inspire reading and academic excellence.
  • 3,075 youth participated in the ‘Final Four Dribble’ in downtown Phoenix and got to take home a basketball.
  • Local First Arizona created an “eat like a local” guide for residents and visitors to support local businesses and services in order to boost the local economy before, during, and after the Final Four weekend.
  • A partnership of the NCAA, Phoenix Local Organizing Committee and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority made possible the restoration of an outdoor basketball court at Harmon Park in Phoenix, which annually serves more than 18,000 neighborhood youth. The refurbishment included a completely reconstructed court and new goal stanchions, backboards and baskets.

Read the full press release here and join the Council in congratulating the Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee, their dedicated sustainability team, and the NCAA on this unprecedented success for the Final Four!


About the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee

The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee (PLOC) is an Arizona Nonprofit Corporation formed to work in conjunction with the NCAA as it plans for the Final Four in 2017. Composed of local community, sports and tourism leaders, the PLOC collaborated with the NCAA to help host the Final Four.


About the NCAA
The NCAA is a diverse association of more than 1,100 member colleges and universities that prioritize academics, well-being and fairness to create greater opportunities for nearly half a million student-athletes each year. The NCAA provides a pathway to higher education and beyond for student-athletes pursuing academic goals and competing in NCAA sports. More than 54,000 student-athletes experience the pinnacle of intercollegiate athletics by competing in NCAA championships each year. Visit and for more details about the Association and the corporate partnerships that support the NCAA and its student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola as official corporate champions and the following elite companies as official corporate partners: Allstate, Amazon Echo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, Intel, LG, Lowe’s, Marriott International, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Pizza Hut, Reese’s, Unilever and Wendy’s.