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 cowtownmarathon.org

 

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

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

2017 Men’s Final Four Championship Organizers Seek Certification for Social and Environmental Responsibility

EUGENE, March 30, 2017– As the surviving teams emerge from March Madness and get ready for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships in Phoenix, Arizona, organizers are preparing to host what they hope will be the most social and environmentally responsible Final Four weekend ever.

The 2017 Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee has built programming upon a baseline created with the NCAA, Houston Local Organizing Committee and City of Houston at last years’ Final Four, using the Council for Responsible Sport standards for certification; the 2016 event earned basic level certification. Phoenix organizers hope to achieve a higher level of certification at this years’ event, which is awarded after a robust review process that includes an on-site evaluation by the Council’s primary evaluation partner, Waste Management, and post-event reporting of performance on specific criteria.

“Phoenix is honored to host the Final Four in 2017 and is making the same commitment to sustainability that Houston and former host cities have made,” said Dawn Rogers, CEO of the 2017 Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee. “We are working with an outstanding local committee to have a high waste diversion rate along with water and energy offsets. With our community working together under one banner, we’ll strive to ensure that Phoenix showcases the standard of excellence this iconic event deserves.”

“Waste Management is excited to continue utilizing our sustainable event management expertise and evaluate this year’s Final Four for the Council,” said Ben Mjolsness, Sustainability Associate with Waste Management and this year’s on-site evaluator. “The event organizers have put together a robust collection of programs focused on social and environmental initiatives. We are looking forward to seeing them all in action at this year’s Final Four tournament.”

Certification from the Council formally recognizes responsible practices at sporting events and is achieved by implementing best practices in each of five categories including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy.

Socially and environmentally responsible initiatives planned for the 2017 Phoenix Final Four include:

  • Attempting high rates of waste diversion from the landfill through signage and sorting of recyclable and compostable materials
  • Working with local partners such as Keep Phoenix Beautiful to repurpose signage, banners and other durable materials
  • Engaging volunteers and the public to show support and take action in their lives through the ‘Final Four Green Pledge’
  • Hosting 3,200 youth (18 & under) at the NCAA Final Four Dribble on Sunday, April 2 in downtown Phoenix where participants will receive a free t-shirt and Wilson basketball
  • The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee is providing 6,000 backpacks to 60 area schools in a partnership with NCAA Team Works
  • Engaging third grade students at 360 local schools in a literacy challenge geared to inspire reading and increase classroom achievement in partnership with ReadOnArizona and NCAA.
  • Opening the March Madness Music Festival to the public at no cost. The festival is at Margaret T. Hance Park featuring performances by top national musicians.

The Final Four basketball games will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The fan festivities will be held in downtown Phoenix starting Friday, March 31 through Monday, April 3.

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Waste Management Partners with the Council for Responsible Sport to Support Sustainable Sports

Here at the Council for Responsible Sport, we continue to envision a world where responsible sports are the norm. To date, 133 certified events have helped bring about a culture shift towards greater focus on environmental stewardship and enhancing the positive social outcomes of sporting events.

From marathons like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Chevron Houston Marathon, to (slightly) shorter road races like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and TD Beach to Beacon 10K, to cycling events like the TD Five Boro Bike Tour and 2015 UCI Road World Championships; from track and field championships like the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in ’12 and ’16, to major PGA golf tournaments like the AT&T National Pro Am at Pebble Beach and the Waste Management Phoenix Open, events are increasingly acting beyond the bottom line according to their broader values and achieving incredible results along with official certification according to the Responsible Sport Standards. According to us, we’re just getting started. Certified events still represent the ‘leaders of the pack’ in an industry where there are over 30,000 running events staged in the U.S. alone every year.

Waste Management, our primary evaluation partner since January 2016, has been instrumental in amplifying the Council’s reach and bringing in experiential knowledge to our on-site evaluation process. WM has helped us make certification more relevant to organizers in many ways, thus, in short—more valuable.

The history of how this partnership came to be is now available publicly for all who are interested in better understanding the advancement of social and environmental responsibility as it relates to sport. We’re humbled and honored to contribute, and we’re very grateful to have Waste Management on our team to help bring about the integration of triple bottom line thinking into sport event management in the U.S. and beyond. We hope you enjoy the read!

Supporting Sustainable Sports: Waste Management Partners with the Council for Responsible Sport

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December 14th, 2016 | | Innovation, News & Views, Uncategorized

2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Grows Sustainability Programming to Earn Gold Certification

Shamrock_Shuffle_2016_002

2016 Shamrock Shuffle. Photo courtesy Chicago Events Management.

 

The Council for Responsible Sport is pleased to announce today that the 2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, held April 3 in Chicago, has earned gold level certification. This is the third certification (2011-12, 2013-14) for the event where more than 23,000 runners crossed the finish line at Grant Park in 2016.

“As the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle course makes its way through the various neighborhoods of the city, we realize the responsibility we have to support – or – uphold the environment of these vital communities,” said Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K Executive Race Director, Carey Pinkowski. “As we grow our sustainability program each year, it is rewarding to see the positive impact of our efforts and the enthusiasm everyone has to make the race as sustainable as possible.”

Highlights from the 2016 Shamrock Shuffle sustainability initiatives include:

Environmental

  • The two-day Health & Fitness Expo was held in the West Building at the McCormick Place Convention Center, a LEED certified sustainable building that utilizes 100 percent emissions free wind power.
  • Seventy percent of all waste generated by the event was diverted from the landfill via recycling, compost and reuse efforts.
  • Participant shirts are made from 100 percent recycled polyester as part of Nike’s Better World product line.

Social

  • The event’s partnership with Deloitte for the 2016 Team Competition helped to engage Deloitte and other Chicago area business employees in organizational health & wellness programs.
  • Race entries were donated to Year Up, an organization that empowers young adults to overcome poverty and move into professional work in a single year
  • The Chicago Parks Foundation’s interactive booth at the Health & Fitness Expo educated the public about the local parks’ value, functions and importance.
  • Provided training to thousands of event volunteers on the hands-only CPR method.

 

Read the full press release here and let the #ShamrockShuffle know what you think of their #responsiblesport efforts on social media!

July 22nd, 2016 | | Uncategorized