European Athletics’ three major events in the summer of 2013 demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by taking part in the Green Inspiration project. And in each case they brought a unique creative spin to activities in this area.
The promotional campaigns of the European Team Championships in Gateshead, the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere and the European Athletics Junior Championships in Rieti all featured waste management, recycling arrangements and local volunteer-delivered, awareness-raising efforts aimed at school children.
In addition to the elements shared with the other LOCs, Gateshead’s campaign included a 10km fun run for more than 5,000 participants staged by event partner NOVA, to promote fitness and health in the local community as a legacy of the Team Championships.
The under-23 Championships organisers in Tampere linked their sustainability efforts to a Tidy City campaign promoted by the municipal authorities.
They also distributed more than 3,000 branded reusable water bottles to event participants and spectators - and then provided six stations for filling the bottles at the competition venue.
Not to be outdone, the Rieti LOC created a smart phone application so spectators could easily access start lists and results, which reduced printing requirements and litter at the venue.
They also sold specially designed merchandising items made with recycled and eco-friendly materials to raise awareness of environmental issues.
Council member Sylvia Barlag, who is leading the Green Inspiration project on behalf of European Athletics, expressed her satisfaction with the progress made over the summer:
“Trying to change culture is always a big challenge, but I am pleased that the organisers all recognised the need to include the sustainability dimension in the promotion of their events and that they had their own ideas on how to involve the public.
“Athletics is a leading sport in this area and if we keep pushing, the organisers will see that they can realise significant benefits.”
The work of volunteers who assisted with Green Inspiration activities at all three events this summer will be recognised with “Green Medal” certificates given by European Athletics and the event organising committees.