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!

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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 ncaa.org and ncaa.com 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.

Chevron Houston Marathon Race Weekend Earns Gold Level Responsible Sport Certification for 5th Consecutive Year

EUGENE (June 22, 2017) – The Council for Responsible Sport announced today that the Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) has been awarded the Gold Certification for the fifth consecutive year for its achievements while hosting the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

The HMC earned credit on 46 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events. Certification, which is awarded in two-year increments, is achieved by complying with standards across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, access and equity, resource management and community legacy.

The HMC earned Gold Certification in 2013-14, 2015-16, and now in 2017-18. In 2012, the HMC became the first sports organization to earn dual certification from the Council for separate events conducted on consecutive days (2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon; 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon), and the HMC has now achieved the Gold level every year since.

Green team volunteers help sort waste at the 2017 EXPO. Additionally, Waste Management collected over 500 pairs of running shoes donated by visitors to SEARCH Homeless Services.

“Clearly there is a long-standing commitment to the certification standards as a strategic sustainability framework by the Houston Marathon Committee and event staff,” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director at the Council for Responsible Sport. “They’re really ‘walking the talk’ of event greening, and it’s made possible by the fact that this race is truly a product of a broad community effort. It’s an example to be studied and celebrated.”

The three-day event weekend diverted 77 percent of its unavoidable waste, an achievement stemming from a partnership with Waste Management and a broad effort that included waste-sorting stations overseen by long-time sustainable event experts from ‘Athletes for a Fit Planet.”

“The Council for Responsible Sport provides guidance and mentorship to help event organizers reduce waste, implement best sustainability practices, and commit to social legacy initiatives,” stated Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Committee and Foundations. “What began as a conscious, planned initiative to improve our sustainability efforts, has evolved into an infectious way of thinking within the organization top to bottom, and now it is inherent when planning and executing the event.”

Other examples of efforts made by the HMC includes donating leftover unopened refreshments to the Houston Food Bank, collecting and distributing clothing left near the start line to Houston Star of Hope, and partnering with the METRO transit authority to offer participants free rides on Houston’s METRORail light-rail on race day to avoid emissions and congestion from personal vehicles. Additionally, race officials utilize the City of Houston fire hydrants for water and over 400,000 compostable cups instead of providing bottled water at refueling stations along the course.

“The last five years have proven to be an amazing journey,” said Lisa Doughty, Director of Public Affairs at Waste Management.  “Year after year looking for new and innovative ways to optimize the materials collected: while creating a bigger, better, more sustainable event.   Today’s Gold Certification is proof-positive evidence of what happens when we all work together with the same goals in mind.  It is a pleasure to partner with the Houston Marathon Committee and we applaud them for another successful year.”

Reducing barriers to participation was another area where the event earned credit. The Houston Marathon Foundation engages local youth in healthy training and life skills through its We Run Houston after-school running program, providing direct and in-kind support ranging from stipends for coaches, training gear, transportation, and free entry fees. In 2017, over 1,500 youth were directly supported with over $42,000 in donated value to youth who attend schools where 85 percent or more students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

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About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.:
Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC) annually organizes the nation’s premier winter marathon, half-marathon, and 5K. Over 250,000 participants, volunteers and spectators make Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. A founding member of Running USA, the HMC conducts IAAF rated events that retained Gold Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport and was awarded the AIMS Green Award for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Race Weekend generates over $50 million in economic impact for the region annually. In 2016, the Run for a Reason Charity Program raised $2.3 million, while the Houston Marathon Foundation supported youth and community running initiatives. Televised annually by broadcast partner ABC13, 2016 was the first time that the event was syndicated live nationally and internationally on ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network. Host to 16 U.S. Half Marathon Championships since 2005 and the 1992 women’s Olympic Trials Marathon, the HMC also conducted the 2012 men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.

About the Council for Responsible Sport:

The Council’s vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm and its mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.2) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014. www.CouncilforResponsibleSport.org

IRONMAN Boulder and Waste Management Race to Evergreen Certification

Every year, thousands of athletes around the world participate in an IRONMAN® triathlon: one of the ultimate challenges of human endurance, including a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.2-mile run.

For the athletes, the years of sweat and preparation necessary to reach this point is a tremendous feat. The same is true for the on-site organizers looking to achieve incredible sustainability goals.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Waste Management has been helping IRONMAN since 2013 work toward their goals of a smaller race footprints and a more sustainable future. The collective efforts reached a high note with the 2016 IRONMAN Boulder event in Boulder, Colo., where Waste Management helped the event earn the highest level of certification, Evergreen, from the Council for Responsible Sport.

IRONMAN Boulder completed credits for this distinction across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy. Waste Management provided valuable insight from the initial planning process through the race’s execution and reporting, enabling IRONMAN to accomplish the Council’s certification. IRONMAN Boulder is now in elite company, being one of only nine events (and the only triathlon) to receive Evergreen status.

To celebrate the achievement, IRONMAN produced a video featuring interviews with the people who made it happen, from organizers to volunteers and of course, participants, that can be viewed here.

Read more about how they did it here and see the full IRONMAN Boulder Sustainability REport here.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Becomes the First Marathon to Earn Highest Possible Level of Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport

Eugene, Ore. – The Council for Responsible Sport (Council) announced today that the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been awarded evergreen level certification for achieving 57 of the best-practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the largest in the world, with 39,313 participants finishing the 2016 event in front of over a million spectators. It is the largest marathon to have earned certification from the Council since the organization was founded in 2008. This is the fourth certification for the event after basic certification was achieved in 2010 and 2012, then silver level status was gained in 2014.

“As an event, we are both honored and excited to have earned Evergreen Level Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “Since 2010, we have worked closely with our runners, volunteers, spectators and partners to make the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as sustainable as possible. This certification recognizes the hard work that has been done and encourages us to continue these efforts in supporting the environment and communities our race runs through.”

“Honoring the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s impact on our community and the environment demonstrates how one positive action can make a huge difference in the lives of many,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “We’re proud to be part of this great initiative, and it builds on Bank of America’s commitment of becoming better environmental stewards in our local communities.”

Read the full press release here, and Click here to see the 2016 Sustainability Report highlighting the efforts that earned the evergreen certification at the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evergreen Certified Golf Tournament Seeks to Inspire Others to Pursue Responsible Sport Certification

Waste Management Phoenix Open Gains Prestigious Inspire Evergreen Status from
the Council for Responsible Sport, Expands Mentorship and Storytelling as part of
program participation

EUGENE, Ore. – JAN. 31, 2017 – The Council for Responsible Sport (Council) announced today
a significant expansion to its established event certification program. Its new Inspire program
recognizes the sustained commitment of events that have been certified multiple times and
challenges them to mentor industry peers and share their stories.

“We are honored to be named as one of the first Inspire events by the Council for Responsible
Sport,” said Michele Grossman, Managing Principal for Waste Management Sustainability
Services. “Much like we aim to educate and inspire fans who attend the tournament on how
to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover in their daily lives, through the Inspire program, we will
now share our best practices with other events so they too can improve.”

 

 

“The Inspire program was developed to recognize the sustained commitment of certified
events over time by granting them a place of exemplary leadership within the community of
events and organizers with proven records of hosting certified responsible events,” said the
Council’s managing director Shelley Villalobos. “We are pleased to welcome the Waste
Management Phoenix Open to the Inspire program. We hope to elevate the level of attention
to and recognition of the exemplary work organizers have been doing for several years now
with regards to zero waste, procurement, access, and community legacy at the event.”

Events may opt into the Inspire program on an invitation only basis after earning two
consecutive certifications from the Council. Program participation entails three core
requirements including annual reporting on key performance metrics, mentorship of another
event or organization on a specific aspect of their responsible sport programming and sharing
the event’s responsible sport story publicly.

This year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is providing mentorship to the Golf
Environment Organization (GEO) to pilot a new sustainable golf tournament certification, GEO Certified, which builds on the Council for Responsible Sport’s framework. Through this
project, the Waste Management Phoenix Open strives to support other golf tournaments in
their pursuit of sustainable best practices and inspire other golf tournaments around the
world to become GEO Certified.
There are currently three events besides the Waste Management Phoenix Open with Inspire
program status—the Eversource Hartford Marathon in Connecticut, Old Bill’s Fun Run for
Charities hosted by the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the Scotiabank
Vancouver Half Marathon, in British Columbia, Canada.

Access the full press release here.