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Paris: the eco-responsible marathon

by editor
Friday 9th March 2018
Marathons can be wasteful undertakings. Plastic water bottles, gel wrappers, litter, all those thousands of runners travelling to the race. Organisers go to great lengths to try to minimise environmental impact but one race is going further than most - the Paris Marathon is putting eco-responsibility at the heart of their race. 
There are three main commitments that they have made: 
1. 100% recycling
Their aim is to only generate recyclable waste by 2019, but they will almost accomplish that this year! Vittel, which supplies almost 520,000 bottles of water, is only distributing 100% recyclable bottles and more than 1,000 selective sorting points will be set up on the 42km route! Collection of the waste left over at the end of the race will again be prioritised this year.
A major movement towards going paper-free and limiting packaging is underway, with the involvement of the marathon’s partners and suppliers. The runners have also been called upon to use old clothes rather than bin bags to protect themselves against chilly temperatures in the morning. These clothes will then be collected and recycled.
2. A neutral carbon footprint by 2019
The Paris Marathon is aiming to be the first carbon neutral marathon on the face of the planet! The idea is to offset the carbon footprint generated not only by the overall organisation of the marathon, but also by the marathon runners’ travel. According to a study conducted by the consultancy Carbone 4, in 2016 the carbon footprint of the Paris Marathon amounted to 26,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, with 95% of these emissions caused by air travel. This footprint was stabilised in 2017 thanks to the first actions conducted. A Gold Standard label offset plan was set up with the Livelihoods organisation.
Three actions have already contributed to this offset plan, which involves supporting a talented athletes’ incubator in Kenya, contributing to reforestation in Kenya and tackling the causes of deforestation in the country. 
But offsetting isn’t all. The Paris Marathon endeavours to limit its use of fossil energy by using 100% electric vehicles, thanks to its partner BMWi. While in 2017 this measure already concerned 80% of the organisers’ vehicle pool, in 2018 all the vehicles will be electric-powered. Finally, the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris clearly incites users to prefer the least energy-intensive means of transport in its promotion of sustainable mobility.
3. Supporting young generations via sport
With the Paris City Authorities, the Paris Marathon launched the Generation Marateens programme in 2016. It is a programme whose aim is to promote taking part in running among the young people of Paris. This year, 1,500 children aged 10 and 11 years old from different districts of Paris (in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th arrondissements) will take part in the programme, under the supervision of neighbourhood instructors and the city’s youth and sports service.
Generation Marateens is broken down into three phases:
Sports and educational workshops (on nutrition, physiology, health, games, motor functions and history).
A special meeting with athletes from INSEP (the French institute of sport, expertise and performance) ten days before the marathon.
Lastly, the children will have the honour of crossing the finishing line on the big day, just before the thousands of finishers of the Paris Marathon.
Other CSR actions being undertaken by the Paris Marathon include:
  • Promotion of sustainable accommodation.
  • Actions in favour of gender equality.
  • Actions to support responsible and eco-sustainable communication.
  • Support for para-sports.
  • Participant health and safety measures.
  • Reinforcement of sporting ethics.
  • Highlighting the work of the organising teams and 3,000 volunteers.
  • Contribution to the influence of Paris.
  • Sharing of the Paris Marathon good practices.
  • Priority for sustainable, organic and local catering.
Find out more about this unique race at: www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com

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