Since 2007, the nonprofit organization Council for Responsible Sport has had a mission to help rights holders measure and manage the social and environmental impacts of their events through independent verification and a certification program that reviews sustainability objectives in the categories of planning and communications, procurement, resources management, access and equity, and community legacy.
Points are awarded to events for reducing and offsetting their carbon footprint, improving their water footprint, encouraging the use of alternative transportation (i.e. mass transit), reducing printed materials, locally sourcing food and beverage, recycling, partnering with local nonprofits, and addressing other environmental and social impacts.
Based on their total score, events earn Certified, Silver, Gold or Evergreen certification.
In a sign that more events and sponsors are acknowledging the importance of meeting sustainability standards, this summer Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart became the second NASCAR race to earn Silver status, joining the 2021 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both events are sponsored by Shell USA.
Earlier this year, the Council introduced a free, cloud-based web app called ReScore, which is aimed at assisting event organizers in measuring, tracking, reporting and verifying their sustainability and inclusivity progress. The app has its own brand partner, global business consulting firm Tata Consulting Services, which helped develop it, leveraging the company’s cloud computing, data analytics and data visualization expertise.
TCS is an active sponsor of events including the TCS New York City Marathon, TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, TCS London Marathon, TCS Amsterdam Marathon and Formula E racing. Since signing a five-year deal in January to become title sponsor and technology consultant of the Toronto event, TCS has worked with organizer Canada Running Series to become the first Canadian rights holder to achieve the Council’s Evergreen status.
With its largest brand partner driving the effort, last month’s marathon included a number of innovations to boost its sustainability efforts, including:
- A new race app developed by TCS that not only allows fans to track the progress of their favorite runners in real time, but also features a Sustainability Scorecard that lets runners and fans learn about their impact on the environment by measuring a broad range of environmental factors related to the marathon. The app also facilitates donations to Trans Canada Trails’ AccessNow program—which is creating accessibility mapping across more than 28,000 kilometers of national trails—or to Trees for Life’s tree-planting projects along the marathon course.
- As part of TCS’ commitment to STEM education and communities, TCS hosted the goIT Marathon App Competition at the race expo, where 25 fifth- and sixth- students showcased prototype apps created to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, with special consideration given to the impact of major events.
- When registering, marathon runners had the option to opt-out of receiving a medal, shirt or both to reduce their environmental impact. Funds normally used to purchase these items were donated to one of the event’s official charities.
While sustainability is by no means a new issue for properties and their partners, a growing number of rights holders and sponsors are moving it front and center of their activation and promotional efforts as fans and consumers demonstrate growing interest and concern in environmental and socially responsible efforts by the organizations they support and the companies they do business with.