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IAAF World Junior Championships Goes Green

27 May, 2014


When the IAAF World Junior Championships, also known as Oregon 2014, makes its first appearance in the U.S. this July, it will showcase nearly 2,500 athletes and team officials representing 177 member federations from around the globe. It will also bring thousands of spectators and media to historic Hayward Field.

An event of this magnitude is sure to make an environmental impact, from the transportation needed to get everyone to Eugene, to the energy needed just to run the lights.

Luckily, the city of Eugene is well versed in hosting sporting events with a commitment to sustainability, and the IAAF World Junior Championships to be held July 22 - 27, will be no exception.

TrackTown USA, the local organizing committee for the event, makes this commitment to the future: "To produce world-class track and field events and advance athletic achievement in a manner that improves our world, inspires youth, protects the environment, and enhances the rights of all global citizens."

The IAAF meet, in conjunction with TrackTown USA and the city of Eugene, is seeking certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Council certification provides events with formal recognition of their efforts to produce an event that is socially and environmentally responsible.

Events can achieve certification by fulfilling a certain amount of credits on the Council’s "Certification Standards" list. This list includes actions such as publishing a sustainability report, tracking waste diversion from landfills and "innovation credits," where the event can think of their own item for credit (with approval from the Council) and may act as a hallmark for that particular event.

The Council offers entry level certification for fulfilling at least 45% of the listed credits, in addition to Silver Level (at least 60%), Gold (at least 75%) and Evergreen (at least 90%). The 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field earned Gold Level certification.

This summer, the IAAF World Junior Championships want to up the ante as it seeks Evergreen Level certification, which requires a great deal of planning and data gathering/reporting to make fulfillment a reality. At least 55 of the 61 available credits must be obtained, which can be a challenge for an event of this scale, but offers great reward.

Besides the recognition and positive press that events receive from earning their certification, they benefit in many other ways.

Events seeking certification get access to Council staff for clarification on standards, guidance on educational resources and prevention of unnecessary procurement costs. Council staff also works to share the event’s unique story while potentially attracting new sponsors and interest from the community. 

Attendees to the event can help contribute to some of the sustainability measures by taking advantage of the free LTD bus transportation for anyone with a ticket, parking their bikes at the free bicycle valet, or composting their food waste as part of the local "Love Food Not Waste" program at Hayward Field.

The IAAF World Junior Championships will also take steps above and beyond those of a typical sporting event by working to address its overall carbon footprint. It’s not often that events measure this, and even fewer work with sponsors and local businesses to offset their carbon emissions and raise awareness of the impacts.

Council certification is awarded after the completion of the IAAF World Junior Championships so the success of the event can be evaluated and the number of fulfilled credits can be totaled.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of the world’s best track and field athletes under the age of 20 compete, and witness first-hand the actions that an event of this size takes to become a responsibly produced sporting event.

As TrackTown USA believes: "Our legacy is measured not only in kilowatts saved and tons of waste reduced, but by the accomplishments of a new generation of youth participating in sport, physical activity, personal and community health, and local volunteering.  Our vision is wide and deep, with room for partners to help us advance the future of track and field, sustainably."

Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, under the corporate umbrella of Travel Lane County, markets and promotes the region as a destination for sports, while providing resources designed to help events and planners succeed. For more information, go to www.EugeneCascadesCoastSports.org.

Travel Lane County is a private, nonprofit association dedicated to economic development through visitor spending. In 2012 visitors to Lane County generated more than $555 million in spending for Lane County’s economy. Travel Lane County is funded by room tax paid by visitors using area lodging facilities and campgrounds.

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