Milan, December 6th, 2013 – ReSport Certification and AIMS Green Award: thanks to these two international awards in the 2013 season, the SuisseGas Milano Marathon can be considered with no doubts the most social and environmentally responsible sport event in Italy, joining the elite of great international marathons making the environment and social responsibility a top issue on their road to success.
A success that requires a long term work, having to face high level competitors that, as the Milan organizers did, have decided to accept the challenge of the ReSport Certification by the Council for Responsible Sport – the US organization which certifies the level of social sustainability of sport events, supported in Italy by IMQ (Istituto Italiano del Marchio di Qualità) and the inaugural AIMS Green Award presented by AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races), the IAAF affiliated organization.
RCS Sport team worked for more than 9 months in 9 frameworks: waste, energy and climate, contracts, impact and community involvement, healthy lifestyle, integration and innovation, sponsors and exhibit locations, implementing environmental and social initiatives to receive the credits necessary for the certification. Among the 40 initiatives set up by RCS Sport, the following are amongst the most important ones.
Environmental initiatives: only online registration (no paper); no use of polystyrene or Styrofoam and plastic packaging for race material (80 kg less compared to 2012); press releases only in electronic form on pen drives; reduction of the total weight of the official handbook distributed to all participants (from 353,938 kg in 2012 to 265,2211 kg in 2013, decrease of 25%); reuse of materials and equipment from previous competitions and editions like inflatable arches, banners, start and arrival gates, directional signage; production of a limited number of t-shirts only for the participants that opted-in to receive it; agreement with Milanese Environmental Service Company (AMSA) to use environmentally-friend road cleaning vehicles after the race and installation of portable toilets equipped with green characteristics, essential for maximum wastewater toxicity reduction. Thanks to the collaboration of volunteers, the organization studied the right positioning of the waste separation system (paper, plastic, organic, undifferentiated) in the Marathon Village the days before the race and along the race course. All clothes left by participants at the start line were collected by Humana People for People Italia NGO and the food and water bottles left over from the refreshment points were donated to “In –Presa” charity and to “Banco di solidarietà Madre Teresa” charity. A program was implemented with Esosport to collect, through special boxes placed in the Marathon Village, used running shoes for recycling to obtain pavements for playgrounds and sport facilities.
Emission reduction: institution of an “ecological Sunday” by the Municipality of Milan with no car circulation on race day and free public transportation tickets to all participants, one ride tickets transformed to daily ticket for all citizens, use of the Milan city bicycle system for free (bikeMi service). The most revolutionary initiative implemented by the organization of the SuisseGas Milano Marathon was the new system “deposit or exchange” for bag drop-off for the Relay Marathon. This solution involved actively all participants and, consequently, had less impact on the environment, without the necessity of bag transportation by trucks. The building Palazzo della Regione Lombardia, which hosted the Marathon Village, is powered entirely from renewable sources and in 2012 received the special award for “the best skyscraper in Europe” by the Council of tall buildings and Urban habitat (CTBUH) of Chicago. Inside the Marathon Village were positioned special devices developed by Innovation in Sciences & Technologies (Is-Tech) to reduce air pollution. All these initiatives were shared and appreciated by the stakeholders involved in the certification process.
Great attention was also given to young people through a program with CUS Milano (Sports University Center) to involve college students (dedicated discounted registration fees). Besides that, a special award was given to the youngest 18 years old who finished for the first time a marathon (by IMQ), while the NABA students (Arts and Design Academy) were involved to design the commemorative poster of the SuisseGas Milano Marathon.
Even the Charity Program has set a new record for fundraising in sports event in Italy, involving 141 NGOs and reaching over € 600,000.
It has been a challenge in the challenge, with RCS Sport team focused on the hard mission to involve the greatest number of runners and, at the same time, reaching all the goals set by the Council for Responsible Sport and AIMS: “… not only to receive the awards, but most of all to guarantee the lowest impact on Milan environment” said Andrea Trabuio, Race Director of the SuisseGas Milano Marathon. “We couldn’t say no to the challenge of being as much sustainable as possible, it was essential for us, but also in respect of our participants, the city and the sponsors”.