Becoming an environmentally sustainable club

Our natural and built environments provide the spaces for people to be active and enjoy the experience of athletics and running events. But whether you are out on the trails, on the track and field or enjoying urban parks and pavements, you will notice the effects of climate change and wider environmental degradation as a result of pollution, biodiversity loss, extreme temperatures and resource consumption. It presents a clear threat both to our way of life and to the sports we love. 

Sport is uniquely positioned to bring people together and to create a platform for good. Affilaited clubs and events have the power to leverage community, raise awareness and encourage climate friendly activity to large numbers of people.  In a recent England Athletics survey 84% of regular runners in England said they are interested in sustainability as a part of everyday life and now is a critical time for us to ensure we can shift this interest into action, and use the sport we love for environmental stewardship.

“Sport has the power to align our passion, energy and enthusiasm around a collective cause. It is in our collective interest to harness the tremendous power of sport to help build a better and more sustainable future for all.”
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

“Sport, recreation and physical activity bring people and communities together like nothing else. They are fantastic catalysts for inspiring individual and collective action. As a sector, we have a collective responsibility and an enormous opportunity to help tackle climate change. The time to act is now.”  Rosie Benson, Head of Clubs at Sport England

This collection has been created by The Green Runners to help affiliated clubs take the steps to becoming an environmentally friendly club.

About the Green Runners

The Green Runners formed in 2022 following the COP26 Climate Conference after what was seen as disappointing commitments to the climate crisis. They are CIO Association based in the UK, welcoming membership from all over the world. They have over 1000 members and are growing by the day. They are 100% volunteer run and remain independent from corporate sponsorship.

The Green Runners are a community with a vision of running without a footprint. They are on a mission to help people run with more awareness of the planet and to challenge the status quo of the running industry, which is often unaware of the impact it is having on the planet. They are for any athlete, club or event director who cares about climate change and is asking “how do I do something positive to be a bit greener?”

To help with this they have created four pillars: How we Move, How we Kit Up, How we Eat & Drink and How we Speak Out. Every member pledges to make small changes in each of the pillars when they join.
As Jasmin Paris, Ultra Runner and one of the Co-founders of The Green Runners, says “We hope the running community can lead the way, giving people the tools and confidence to speak out and the opportunity to play a part in making a change. Together we can show what happens when a powerful community comes together.”

Sustainability is not something that can be achieved overnight. It takes time, effort, and commitment. As many of us can relate to it is a marathon not a sprint.
You don’t have to be perfect, every small step counts and England Athletics and The Green Runners will be here to help advise, support, track progress, share inspiration and celebrate success.

Working together we can lead the way with meaningful action that will drive change, inspire future generations of champions and protect the future of our sport.

Benefits

  • Offering your club and members another feel good factor and enhanced member experience.
  • Galvanising your clubs inclusive ethos and building a climate friendly and caring culture. Not only can they enjoy the community and runners high but now they can also use their running for good.
  • Forging links with the local community, outreach programs and collaborations
  • More efficient use of clubs resources, reducing waste, reducing budget and reducing materials
  • Enhanced profile and reputation for your club
  • Improved opportunities to secure funding and future focussed collaborations

Bitesize Videos

Key Ideas

  • Appoint a Green champion and / or a small working group to focus on sustainability within your club

  • Work with your club to go through the self-assessment questions and understand where you are as a club at the moment

  • Focus on the positive opportunities more than the challenges, remember many of these initiatives will help members save money and come together as a collective.

  • Don’t feel the weight of responsibility on your own - network with other clubs to share ideas and support each other.

  • Tap into the natural competitiveness of runners - could you have a green runner league table in your club or encourage a little friendly competition around one of your green initiatives

  • Share and celebrate psoitive stories of members supporting the clubs sustainability ambitions

Top Tips

  • Share details on public transport options for club activity and competitions where running down isn’t possible.

  • Encourage car sharing for members who are attending competitions and events.

  • Advocate recycling: Encourage members to donate or sell second hand training or competition kit. Consider promoting JogOn to your members so they can donate their used running shoes to charity

  • Only order what is needed: If possible, remove dates so any leftover materials (e.g. signage and medals) can be used the following year

  • Provide sustainable prizes such as wooden medals or compostable seed materials

  • Avoid using single plastics by sourcing compostable cups that can be recycled particularly for events. Encourage members to bring their
    own water bottles that can be refilled during training rather than selling single plastic bottles.

  • Purchase food from companies who use reusable or recyclable packaging and consider the realistic quantities to avoid food waste. Consider providing food that is healthy, plant-based options, preferably sourced locally.

Related Resources

Type Resource Last Updated
Club Factsheet - Becoming an environmentally sustainable club
Club Template - Green Champion role description
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