Upcoming World Athletics Championships Oregon22 to Prioritize Environmental Sustainability


First published by WCH Oregon 22: https://worldathletics.org/competitions/world-athletics-championships/oregon22/news/news/wch-oregon22-prioritizing-environmental-sustainability-for-upcoming-world-athletics-championships

The local organizing committee (LOC) for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 has been working hard to develop and implement its sustainability plans for the event

The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships will be held at the reimagined Hayward Field at the University of Oregon on July 15-24. This will be first time the World Athletics Championships are being held on U.S. soil.

One of the strategic initiatives for the LOC is to drive change, and part of that work is developing and executing a strong sustainability strategy that builds on the practices for which the state of Oregon is known.

“We have the chance to set a new standard of sustainability for World Championships events, and we take that opportunity and responsibility to heart,” said Sarah Massey, CEO of Oregon22, LCC. “A key component of showcasing what makes Oregon so special is bringing sustainability into every aspect of the planning and delivery of this event.”

WCH Oregon22 is working closely with BRING, a local nonprofit, to achieve its sustainability goals.

“Working with BRING enhances and elevates our commitment to sustainability,” Massey said. “The expertise, breadth of knowledge in the local landscape, and creativity that we can tap into through BRING will undoubtedly enrich this event.”

From an environmental sustainability standpoint, WCH Oregon22 is focusing on materials management, a strategy that looks at the lifecycle impacts of materials. This includes reducing toxic materials, reducing the number of materials, ensuring materials can be reused, and ensuring that what cannot be reused is recycled. 

“We have developed policies that support a sustainable materials management framework, meaning one that looks at the lifecycle impacts of materials and prioritizes those that prevent waste and toxics rather than emphasizing recycling alone,” said BRING’s Executive Director Carolyn Stein, who is working closely with the WCH Oregon22 team. “For example, we are working with sign makers to prioritize materials that are less wasteful in the manufacturing process, or right sizing, as well as using the least toxic inks and designs that require minimal saturation.”

The LOC will be launching a “Bring Your Own Water Bottle” campaign during the event. Fans, media, coaches, volunteers, and athletes are encouraged to bring their own empty water bottles and fill up at one of the many water stations that will be positioned around Hayward Field. There will be no restrictions on the size or dimensions of personal reusable bottles that people can bring into the stadium. In a significant effort to reduce the plastic waste associated with the World Championships, no single-use plastic water bottles will be sold inside the stadium.

WCH Oregon22 will be launching a “Bring Your Own Water Bottle” campaign during the event. (Photo: WCH Oregon22)

The decision not to sell plastic water bottles in the stadium represents an unprecedented but necessary shift from previous large-scale sporting events.

Additionally, the LOC is working to minimize the impacts of transportation related to the operations of the event in several ways. Fans and participants will be encouraged to use alternative and active modes of transportation to get to the event, including walking and riding bicycles. Bike valets will be available as part of the event.

Reducing carbon emissions is also a top priority for the LOC in its sustainability strategy. In collaboration with local fuel providers, the use of renewable diesel, biodiesel blends, and ethanol will be prioritized for use in the buses, vans, and other large modes of transportation associated with the event. The LOC will also be purchasing 100 percent renewable power from the local utility company to power operations at event facilities.

WCH Oregon22 will be relying on the expertise of Lane County Master Recycler volunteers to assist food vendors in collecting food waste that will be sent to a local composting facility, rather than a landfill. Food service ware made from paper, or fibers, is a common waste material generated at large-scale events. All food service ware will be collected and sent to an advanced fiber processing facility and made into cardboard boxes.

The LOC has received BRING’s Rethink certification and is working to achieve the Council for Responsible Sport’s Evergreen status for the event.

Oregon’s commitment to sustainability by local and statewide communities and organizations across all sectors created a foundation to support this vision, and it is through the collaborative work of sustainability experts and event operations specialists that this dedicated effort has been possible.

World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport of track and field, has also shared details on their sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability plans will continue to be finalized in the lead-up to the World Championships. General event information on WCH Oregon22 can be found here.

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