environment & climate change

How Richmond added sustainability to their sport event strategy

Dec 16, 2015

In 2016, Richmond, BC, Canada will officially launch its Richmond Sustainable Event Toolkit and 7 Steps Quick Guide as part of the City’s overall strategy to give a bigger importance and promotion to the topic of sustainability.
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Why did we decide to put sustainability at the heart of our strategy?

The City of Richmond wanted to make a greater thrust towards having more events consider the factor of sustainability. We saw this as a need within the city to play a role in improving the quality of life for the people of the city and its surroundings. Having met with some of our partners, we realised that only a few event organisers knew how to implement good sustainable practices. To assist them, we therefore decided to develop a toolkit that provides guidance and resources to improve the environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with their event.

How does the toolkit work?

In 2016, event organisers will be encouraged to make their events more sustainable by using the events toolkit. Once an event organiser applies to host an event, City staff will send a link to the toolkit and the website which provides details on the process of what needs to be done.

The toolkit itself includes five sections:

1. Inform yourself – which provides details on the 7 key steps to making your event more sustainable as well as which resources are available to help.

2. Track your progress– which offers self-assessment sections that help event organizers to visualize and keep track of their sustainability progress.

3. Report on your progress – which features the City of Richmond’s Sustainable Event Survey which is to be filled out after the event has taken place.

4. Become a champion! – After reviewing the event sustainability actions reported in the survey, the City may recognize the event as a Sustainable Event Champion. Sustainable Event Champions gain access to the City of Richmond Sustainable Event Champion logo for promotional use.

5. Explore further – Under each of the seven headings in the toolkit there is a reference to the relevant sections within the AISTS Sustainable Sport Event Toolkit (SSET). This allows event organizers to be able to get even more details on how to be sustainable and see great examples from across the world.

In addition to the toolkit, we will also be facilitating educational sessions dedicated to event organisers and their partners on what is sustainability and how it can be implemented.

What lessons did we learn?

We learned that working as a team with event organisers is always beneficial. City staff has worked alongside event organisers and other partners to test the toolkit and see the implementation in action. This has helped to understand more about the challenges being faced by event organisers and how the City can assist in implementing these objectives in the toolkit. For instance, we have identified a number of existing resources such as recycle bins and reusable water storage tanks owned by the City that can be of good use to the event organisers.

It was also interesting to listen to event organisers on how they perceived this new initiative. Some event organisers saw this as another attempt by the city to place more restrictions on events and make their life harder. However, some other event organisers were very interested in “trying to do the right thing” but thought the topic of sustainability was too complex.

As such, we made a consorted effort to ensure that the toolkit was as simple as possible and engagingly presented with good infographics and design. We also created the 7 steps guide which is easy to use and understand.

In addition, we have created an education campaign that is aimed at showing that there are easy ways to implement the suggestions in the toolkit and that it does not require a great deal of change from their current operations.

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