Athletes for a Fit Planet Updates Pledge of Sustainability for 2019


Since 2008, Athletes for a Fit Planet has offered the Pledge of Sustainability to running, cycling and triathlon event organizers. The Pledge is an easy, low-cost way for event organizers to communicate their commitment to producing environmentally responsible events to their participants, volunteers, sponsors, and communities.

The Pledge of Sustainability is a tool for making sustainability an integral part of the event’s operational plan and the DNA of your organization. It can be a stepping stone for events considering certification by the Council for Responsible Sport.

Athletes for a Fit Planet has updated the Pledge of Sustainability for 2019 to include 35 initiatives that focus on communication and planning, and managing and measuring the three eco-footprints: Waste, Carbon, and Water. We require each event to pledge to do at least 10 initiatives on the list. The cost of the Pledge of Sustainability for an event is $150. We offer discounts for events under 500 participants. For more information, please email us at

For taking the Pledge of Sustainability, you receive:

  • Monthly newsletter on event best practices and environmentally responsible products and services
  • Monthly online Q&A Forum with FitPlanet and special guests
  • One free hour of consulting time
  • Discounts on consulting and onsite support
  • Listing your event on our Green Events Calendar
    • The Green Events Calendar helps athletes find sustainable events. You can link the Pledge logo on your website to your event page on the FitPlanet Green Events Calendar so participants can access the detailed information of the initiatives you’ve pledged to do.

Email any time with questions we’ll get back to you within 24-hours.

The Pledge of Sustainability spans five areas:

  • Pre-event planning and communication: Procure environmentally responsible products and communicate your sustainability practices to participants, volunteers, sponsors, and the local community.
  • Waste management at the event: Focus on reducing the total amount of waste the event produces and divert an ever-growing percent of the waste from landfill/incineration to recycling and compost.
  • Carbon management at the event: Focus on reducing the event’s carbon footprint and consider offsetting at least some of the carbon footprint. Event vehicles and equipment and athlete and volunteer travel are two primary sources of your carbon footprint.
  • Water management at the event: Focus on water conservation and prevention of water pollution. Consider providing participants with bulk water and paper cups or reusable bottles instead of individual plastic water bottles.
  • Post-event measurement, reporting, and goal setting: Measuring the footprints helps you manage them from year to year. Share highlights of the results with participants, volunteers, sponsors, and the local community.

Sustainability is a journey. The Athletes for a Fit Planet Pledge of Sustainability helps guide you along the way.


Pre-Event Planning and Communication

  1. Communicate Your Eco-Initiatives. Provide information to participants and volunteers about the event’s environmental initiatives in at least one of the following ways: on the website, in emails, at the expo, at the event (e.g., give your announcer a script about what you’re doing to make the event ‘green’).
  2. Green Team Volunteers. Create a category of “Green Team” volunteers who are dedicated to maximizing recycling and composting at the event.
  3. Eco-friendly T-shirts. Source runner shirts made from 100% recycled polyester or organic cotton.
  4. Food and Beverage. Source at least some food and beverages that are organic and/or locally produced within 100 miles.
  5. Finisher Medals. Source sustainable finisher medals that are locally made and/or include recycled materials (recycled metal and recycled lanyards).
  6. Compostable Cups. Source compostable wax-lined cups for water and sports drink.
  7. Reusable Water Bottles. Two options: Ask participants to bring their own reusable bottle or source reusable water bottles and distribute them to participants at the finish.
  8. Bulk Water. Replace single-use disposable plastic bottles with bulk water containers.
  9. Online Goody Bags. Replace traditional race bags (swag or goody bags) with an online or virtual version.
  10. 100% Online Registration. Strive for 100% online registration – it’s OK if you make a few exceptions.
  11. 100% Electronic Communications. Strive for 100% electronic participant communication – it’s OK if you make a few exceptions.
  12. Ridesharing and Public Transport. Provide information to participants and volunteers about public transportation options and encourage ridesharing.
  13. Travel Offsets. Provide athletes with an option of offsetting their travel to and from the event. One option is to include an offset contribution of a few dollars in online registration. Contact for more information.
  14. Ban Styrofoam. Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is made from styrene and benzene, which are suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are bad for humans and the environment.

 At the Event

Waste Management

  1. Waste Stations. Provide waste stations staffed by Green Team volunteers that include bins for recycling and landfill trash (add bins for compost and redeemable bottles if applicable). Contact for more details on designing optimal waste stations. The combination of recycling, compost, and redeemable bottles are part of your waste diversion rate.
  2. Zero-Waste Aid Stations. Use compostable cups at aid/water/hydration stations on the course and recycle cardboard boxes and sports drink concentrate bottles. Combined this waste should be 90% or more of the total waste making your hydration stations “zero waste.” Email for information on gel packs and other hard-to-recycle products.
  3. Clothing Collection. Collect discarded clothing at the start of the race and donate it to charity. Ask the charity to provide the weight of the clothing as this is part of your waste diversion calculation.


  4. Shoe Collection. Ask participants to bring their old shoes to the event. They can be recycled and/or refurbished and distributed. Count and/or weigh the shoes collected. Rule of thumb is 2 pounds per pair of shoes. The shoes are part of your waste diversion calculation.
  5. Reuse Signage. Reuse at least some of the signage at the event. In the future, minimize the number of signs with dates and/or sponsor names on signs so they can be reused.
  6. Donate Food. Donate any unused food to a local charity such as a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Estimate the weight of the food and beverages as this is part of your waste diversion rate.
  7. Weight Your Trash. Measure the weight (pounds or tons) of recyclables, compost, redeemable bottles, landfill/incineration trash, clothing, shoes, and donated food. Ask your waste hauler to provide the weight tickets after the race. The percent of total waste that goes to recycling, compost, redeemable bottles, plus shoes, clothing and donated food is your “waste diversion” rate. A 90% or higher diversion rate is classified as zero waste. Email for help in calculating your waste footprint.


At the Event

Carbon Management

  1. Eco-Friendly Lead Vehicles. Utilize bicycles and/or electric vehicles for pace and lead vehicles.
  2. Shuttles to the Start. For point-to-point events, provide shuttle buses to transport athletes. Hybrid or electric vehicles are recommended if available.
  3. Offset Race Operations. Offset 10% or more of the greenhouse gas emissions from race operations, either through a sponsor contribution, a percent of the race fee, voluntary contributions from athletes, or other means.
  4. Rideshare VIPs. Provide “VIP parking” for vehicles with more than one occupant.
  5. Bike Valet. Offer a secure bike valet service for participants, volunteers, and spectators. Engage with your local bicycle non-profit organization to provide the service.
  6. Replace Generators. Minimize the use of gas/diesel generators by using renewable energy sources such as solar and/or wind for at least some of the event’s needs. Contact local solar panel providers and ask if they can provide solar trailers with battery packs.
  7. Measure your CO2. Calculate the total carbon footprint of the event, including participant and volunteer travel, operations vehicles, onsite power usage, etc.Email for help in calculating your carbon footprint.

Water Management

  1. Use Hydrant/Faucet Water. Fill bulk water sourced with water sourced from local faucets and/or hydrants.
  2. Green Portable Toilets. Confirm with your portable toilet vendor that they are using environmentally responsible chemicals.
  3. Manage Waste Water. If operating near bodies of water, make sure no runoff or wastewater ends up in the local waterways.

Post Event Measurements, Reporting, and Goal Setting

  1. Post-Event Survey. Survey participants and volunteers after the event to gauge their awareness of and appreciation for the sustainability practices at the event. Ask for input about what they liked, what can be improved, and what additional practices they would like to see. Contact for a survey template.
  2. Post-Event Internal Report.Sustainability is a process. Create an internal report for your management team that includes information about your waste and carbon footprints, a summary of your eco-initiatives and recommendations for additions and improvements for the next event.
  3. Share Your Progress. Transparency is appreciated. Communicate the highlights of your sustainability practices to your constituents: participants, volunteers, staff, sponsors, vendors, and local community leaders. Include the waste diversion rate and other information that highlights your efforts.
  4. Plan for the Next Event. Set formal goals and performance metrics for the sustainability initiatives at your next event as soon after the event as possible.


After the event, submit photos and documentation.

We will schedule a call to review and send you the Verified Pledge logo.


Need help or more information?

Contact Athletes for a Fit Planet at