Leaders of the national running industry association implemented plans and programs at the 2022 gathering to place diverse community building and sustainability efforts at the center
PORTLAND, May 26, 2022 – The Council for Responsible Sport (Council) announced today that Running USA has been awarded silver level Certification of its 2022 Industry Conference held in Orlando, Florida in February. This is the nonprofit’s first responsible sport certification, earned by demonstrating adherence to robust standards for social and environmental responsibility and verified by an independent third-party, EcoPreserve.
The 2022 Running USA Industry Conference achieved certification by meeting standards across all five categories in the Responsible Sport Standards for Events: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy. The event earned 40 points out of a maximum 61 offered in the framework, each one connected to a specific practice, program or initiative.
“As leaders in education and best practices in the endurance industry, it was important for Running USA to go through this process and be an example,” said Christine Bowen, Running USA’s Chief Operating Officer. “While the overall process can initially seem daunting, the ReScore tool kept us organized and on track, and working closely with our partner Nuun Hydration enabled us to do more than we could have done alone in demonstrating our shared commitment to the industry to produce socially responsible and sustainable events.”
Among the efforts earning credit towards the certification was a sustainability-focused partnership with Nuun Hydration to make the event carbon neutral for the first time by compensating the race’s 193-metric-ton carbon footprint through verified emissions offsets that support climate solutions through the work of Florida-based We Are Neutral. Calls to action asked event attendees to compensate for the climate changing emissions from their flights to the conference, resulting in 55 unique contributions. The carbon footprint was calculated with the Council’s new purpose-built event greenhouse gas estimator, which is offered freely within the Council’s ReScore app for tracking and reporting social and environmental impacts from events.
“Partnering with Running USA to shed light on a critical piece of the sustainability puzzle is the real-life embodiment of our core values,” said Mike Sommers, Nuun Hydration’s Partnership Director. “If our partnership influenced even one industry stakeholder to re-think their organizations sustainability goals, then I’d consider this a huge success.”
The 2022 event was held at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort, meaning some credit toward certification came thanks to Disney’s existing environmental programs including a food waste capture and compost operation and the recycling of an estimated 30 percent (235 pounds) of the total 766 pounds of waste generated from event activities.
Social elements including access, inclusion and legacy are the other key components of responsible sport certification, including points for efforts to identify, reduce and eliminate barriers to participation for under-represented groups and to provide education to event attendees. Running USA identified Black, Indigenous and People of Color as under-represented and earned points for building diversity and inclusion efforts and education into the conference program. Highlights included a crowdfunded campaign that brought Joshua and Aaron Potts of the ‘Two Black Runners’ podcast to the conference for an in-person interview with double amputee world record holder Marko Cheseto, and the honoring of Alison Désir, co-founder of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, with the inaugural Award of Excellence for her timely and needed changemaking efforts in the sport of running.
Running USA’s 2023 Industry Conference is planned for Feb. 12-14 in Denver, Colo.
About Running USA
Running USA is a non-profit organization committed to the growth and success of the running industry. Our promise is to deliver quality education, exceptional industry content, valuable research and ample networking opportunities. We connect. We support. We educate. Running USA brings together an entire community. As the voice of endurance running, we’re all about connection and collaboration. Whether we’re connecting race organizers with sponsors, partners and athletes, or connecting our members with vital information and best practices, our goal is to raise the profile of running and help more people get more out of it. For more information, visit runningusa.org
About the Council for Responsible Sport
Since 2007, the not-for-profit organization Council for Responsible Sport has been helping people measure and manage the social and environmental impacts of their events. Responsible Sport Certified events are some of the world’s leading examples of responsible sport in action. The Council’s newest contribution, ReScore, is a free web-based application designed to provide sport hosting organizations and event planners a turnkey tool to measure, improve and report on their social and environmental responsibility aims.