California International Marathon is Officially a Gold Level Certified Event

February 21, 2018

The 2017 California International Marathon (CIM) produced by the Sacramento Running Association has officially earned gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Organizers created and implemented new plans and expanded on existing programs to benefit the local community to earn a total of 48 of the best practice standards set forth by the Council, in each of program’s five categories, including planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy.

“I am so proud of the hard work of our staff, Board, and volunteers to comprehensively integrate sustainability into our race planning and operations processes at CIM,” said Race Director Eli Asch. “We strive to be a leader in our events’ positive impact on our community, and this recognition by the Council as a gold-level sustainable event–one of only two races in California to receive this distinction in 2017–is a testament to those efforts. It’s our hope that we inspire our fellow Sacramento-area races to follow our lead and make sustainability a core value and a key consideration while planning and operating their running events.”

Highlights from the 2017 race weekend that earned credit towards certification included:


  • Developed a formal plan to reduce event’s environmental footprint and increase social impact
  • Diverted 45 tons (77 percent) of all event waste from going to landfill by recycling and working to procure biodegradable materials then collect and compost them
  • Promoted sustainable practices through interactive volunteer stations
  • Encouraged active and public transport by offering a free bike valet at the State Capitol for secure bicycle parking, and partnering with Sacramento Regional Transit to handout free one day passes at the CIM Expo & Packet Pick-up at the Sacramento Convention Center
  • Identified and calculated all uses of water and energy, as well as the resulting greenhouse gas emissions related to producing the event
  • Shared intentions, sustainability plans and calls to action on social media, at community outreach events, and in participant newsletters

Social Justice and Inclusion:

  • Hosted the annual United States Association of Blind Athletes Marathon Championships
  • Partnered with Goodwill Industries to collect clothing items at the start line, on course, and at the Expo for redistribution and reuse in the community

    Volunteers collect clothing after runners take off at the 2017 California International Marathon

  • Engaged 66 schools and more than 2,400 local youth in the ‘Runnin for Rhett’ fitness and healthy lifestyle program. 1,802 students finished the MaraFUNrun 5k and Fitness Walk during the 2017 event weekend.
  • Promoted partnership with the American River Parkway Foundation to raise awareness and funds. The foundation is the sole beneficiary of the annual ‘Run the Parkway 20 miler,’ produced by the Sacramento Running Association.
  • The two-year certification was awarded based on planned activities and programs, documentation of policies and on-site assessment of the 2017 race weekend by a third-party evaluator from Waste Management Sustainability Services.

“The 35th annual California International Marathon was such an impressive display of what a sustainable sporting event can look like. From recycling and composting to water conservation and community legacy, the level of commitment from race organizers to ensuring that all considerations were made was outstanding. This all-inclusive event made for such a great experience for runners, kids, families and spectators alike and it was a pleasure for Waste Management to assist in the race’s certification efforts” said Waste Management evaluator Eric Gray.

You can read the Full press release here and breathe easy knowing that another leading road race has successfully implemented a sustainability program that links community values to event planning and production practices. Certified events like the California International Marathon are leading the way towards a world where responsibly produced events are the norm.


About the Sacramento Running Association and California International Marathon:
The CIM is organized by the Sacramento Running Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners. The 36th annual California International Marathon will be held on December 2, 2018.

February 22nd, 2018 | | News & Views, Uncategorized

Council Participates in United Nations Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action

Council for Responsible represents US and global sporting events at the UNFCCC Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action in Bonn, Germany

Participation recognizes role of Council in helping shape an increasingly responsible future for sports events

The group of sport sector representatives convened for the United Nations ‘Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action’ in October 2017

Access PDF Version Here

Eugene, OR (Nov. 6, 2017) — The Council for Responsible Sport, the world’s leading independent certification body of sustainably produced sporting events participated in last week’s United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action in Bonn, Germany as a prelude to COP23, where governments are meeting this month to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Council represented the perspective and experience of the growing number of sporting events around the world that are choosing to produce events in a more environmentally, economic and socially sustainable fashion. With more than 140 events independently certified globally by the Council, it was uniquely positioned to provide practical and independent input that reflects the activities of some of the world’s leading sporting events.

“We are honored to have been asked to represent the sports events sector at the UN Summit” said Michele Grossman, Council for Responsible Sport Board Chair for the Council for Responsible Sport and Managing Principal at Waste Management Sustainability Services. “Sporting events represent not only the chance to create change at events themselves, but more importantly to support change and action in the millions of people who participate, attend or watch sporting events each year” she continued.

The Council for Responsible Sport is an Oregon, USA based not-for-profit which has worked with hundreds of events globally to help them both establish a straightforward framework to hosting a more sustainable event, then independently verify actions taken. This gives confidence to event owners, host cities, sponsors and participants that events are making a real difference in the way they manage their environmental footprint, engage with local communities and underpin economic legacy.

“We focus on supporting responsible events that work for all stakeholders and we are seeing an accelerating growth in the number of events at all levels looking to work in a different way” Grossman commented.

Grossman reflected that highlights of the discussion focused on identifying the greatest impact each of the represented groups can have on climate change in the next five years, “were very encouraging and timely”. “It was a powerful group and it was exciting for the Council to be alongside other leading organizations at the event that included NHL, Formula E, FIFA, NFL, UEFA, and the Golf Environment Organization, among others” she remarked.

“Being a global organization, I believe we were able to represent the views of a growing sports movement at this important UN dialogue” said Grossman. The Council for Responsible Sport has worked with events in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the first Asian events expected in 2018. The Council has worked with a number of marquee organizations including world championship events for the International Association of Athletic Associations (IAAF) and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) along with World Marathon Major, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, USA Olympic Track and Field Trials, NCAA Final Four and Track and Field Championships. A full list of certified events can been viewed here.

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

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.


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.

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.