The organisers of European Athletics Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, have announced plans to make sustainability a key theme of this summer's event with a series of initiatives to reduce their CO2 footprint and raise awareness of environmental and social responsibility issues. They will link the activities with the event slogan "Moving by Nature".
Efforts will include use of energy efficient materials such as LED lights bulbs, separation of the spectators' biodegradable waste, park & ride arrangements to limit the use of cars around the stadium during the event period, free public transport throughout the city, and a smartphone application that will help cut the paper and printing required for the spectators' daily programmes.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) will reinforce the sustainable use of resources message by selling items created from recycled materials in the merchandising outlets around the championship venue.
On 1 June, it will launch an Italian version of the Eco Champs webpage on its website (www.rieti2013.org). Visitors to the page, which was first used at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg earlier this year, will be able to make pledges that promote sustainability and positive, long-term lifestyle changes.
To actively engage the local public, the LOC will work with sports management students from the University of Rome Foro Italico and pupils from the Liceo Classico Marco Terenzio Varrone in Rieti to deliver community participation activities with an environmental and sustainability message in the weeks leading up to the event, which takes place from 18 to 21 July.
Both the Eco Champs webpage and the student project have been given the European Athletics "Green Inspiration" label in recognition of their contribution to reinforcing the link between athletics and sustainability.
"People in Rieti believe in sport, especially athletics, as a tool for dialogue and development in the social, environmental and economic fields", says Mariastella Signorello, a coordinator for the LOC. "We want to integrate responsibility and respect for our surroundings into everything linked to the event.
"'The Corpo Forestale dello Stato' (Italian Forestry Corp) is a strong partner for the championships and, of course, they have an interest that we work together to do as much as we can for the environment. The slogan Moving by Nature reflects this partnership."
The European Athletics' Green Inspiration label is given to qualified activities inspired by the five main European Athletics championships in 2013.
Each championship host city – Gothenburg, Gateshead, Tampere, Rieti and Belgrade – will conduct a local campaign in which athletics fans and others will be invited to design their own activities and request the label to recognise their efforts.