The Swedish city of Eskilstuna prides itself of being one of the sustainable in Europe so it is no surprise that the European Athletics Junior Championships being hosted there will set new environmental standards.
The organisers of the European Athletics Junior Championships want to create the conditions and opportunities for both visitors, athletes coaches and officials to be able to make eco-conscious decisions during their stay in Eskilstuna. At least 30% of all goods on offer during the event will be defined as environmentally friendly. Refreshments will be fair trade or equivalent, drinking water will be free and the consumer products for sale will be ecologically certified.
Visitors from the region will be advised about public transport options and other eco-friendly ways of traveling to the venue. Extra facilities will also be laid on for cyclists to travel and store their bicycles.
Behind the scenes, all the electricity consumed during the championships will be produced from renewable sources and great efforts will be taken both to reduce waste and to reuse or recycle all materials. Non-recyclable materials will be avoided as will the overuse of throwaway products like flyers.
All waste will be thoroughly sorted so that it can be reused, recycled or composted with a minimum amount being sent for incineration or landfill. Watching over these good habits will be a small army of supervisors and cleaning patrols whose job is to set an example and inspire all participants to play their part.
As a result the Eskilstuna 2015 Junior Championships were awarded the European Athletics Green Inspiration label which is the the recognition given to European Athletics activities and events that promote sustainability and social responsibility.
Supporting the organisers in Eskilstuna is Susanna Thörn Environmental manager at the company Eskilstuna Energi & Miljö. For Susanna, the championships represent an opportunity for Eskilstuna to spread the knowledge of eco-friendly and energy-efficient working to people from a large region.
“We want to show it’s possible to work with these issues and to share our experience and the positive results that it may bring,” she says. Susanna has worked in the same way with other events in Eskilstuna, most recently the Eskilstuna City Festival, Eskilstuna Springpride and Eskilstuna Park Festival all in 2014.
“As a part of my job in this assignment, I’m having regular meetings with the Secretary General, Karin Movin, where we go through the demands for this event. We check the requirements concerning the organisers and the demands that are made in our checklist. I’ve also attended project group meetings where I share information on how the environmental work is progressing,” says Susanna.
“This event will convey the message of a bright future, where the stars of tomorrow take part in a championships in the environment of tomorrow.”