Aramco Houston Half Marathon contributes to sustainability achievement
HOUSTON - Aramco Services Co. (ASC) is entering its ninth year as title sponsor for one of the most popular half marathons events in the United States. And now the race – along with the full marathon and 5K – has been further recognized for its green initiatives.
The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC), which organizes the three races, received a “Silver ReSport Certification” from the Council for Responsible Sport for its activities during the 40th Annual Marathon weekend last January for its commitment to sustainability.
HMC was also recognized with ReSport certification for its oversight of the U.S. Olympic Trials held over the same weekend. This is the first ever dual certification awarded by the Council for Responsible Sport, an organization dedicated to creating new standards of environmental and social responsibility in sport.
“Our continued sponsorship of the Aramco Houston Marathon reflects the importance ASC places in supporting the communities where our employees live and work,” said Mae Mozaini, director, ASC Public Affairs. “Now we can be even prouder of this sponsorship because it further aligns with Saudi Aramco’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.”
Earning a ReSport certification is no easy task. The rigorous standards and measurement require a monumental effort on the part of the event organizers, sponsors, venue hosts, consultants and, last but not least, the volunteers.
The criteria used by the Council was developed by a working group of 18 sustainability experts and reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders. ReSport certification is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System, certifying buildings and materials according to resource conservation and energy efficiency criteria.
Measuring a building’s energy efficiency is one thing, but how exactly do you measure a sporting events eco-friendliness?
“It first starts with a vision and commitment,” explained Wade Morehead, executive director, Houston Marathon Committee. “Then you must have an integrated planning process and, lastly, it requires a lot of attention to detail and a lot of documentation.” The documentation for certification consideration included managing and measuring two separate waste stream diversion rates or, simply put, the materials kept out of the landfill from the Marathon and Olympic Trials. In addition to the waste stream metrics, the impact from a number of other environmental aspects was measured such as carbon and water footprint.
There were many successful sustainability initiatives implemented in 2012 that helped HMC earn this prestigious sustainability certification. Stations for collecting recyclable bottles, cans and cardboard were set up. Compostable food service items and organic waste collection stations were established as well. Bottom line: the diversion rates were 83 percent for the marathon weekend races and 79 percent for the Olympic Trials. That’s a lot of material kept out of landfills.
Here are a few other impressive statistics:
An estimated 87 percent of all power used came from renewable sources.
Water conservation measures resulted in an estimated 20 percent less use of water because the race venue, the George R. Brown Convention Center, is a LEED Certified Building rather than a conventional building.
4,625 pounds of food from the post-race party was donated to the Houston Food Bank.
3,180 pieces of clothing discarded at the start of the races were collected and given to Star of Hope Mission, a local agency dedicated to meeting the needs of Houston’s homeless.
All grey and black water from portable sanitation stations along the race routes were transported to a waste water treatment plant.
The success of the Aramco Half Marathon is now matched by yet another success story. It joins the 39 different sporting events around the world that have achieved this eco-friendly certification to date. For ASC it reaffirms the partnership with the local community and support for environmental initiatives. In broader terms it sends a message to the U.S. market that Saudi Aramco firmly believes in its global responsibility to make a positive impact on society.
A Green Crew volunteer pictured here from the 40th Annual Chevron Houston Marathon and U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. The volunteer is wearing his portable solar charger which was attached to a hydration system, ensuring that he wouldn’t go thirsty or lose the battery charge on his cell phone during his shift at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. The image tells the story of a weekend full of sustainable practices with an estimated 87% of all power used coming from renewable energy sources. (photo courtesy of Council for Responsible Sport)
Signage throughout the Houston Marathon Weekend highlighted the commitment to sustainability by bringing attention to the many initiatives undertaken before, during and after the race to make the event as “green” as possible. (photo courtesy of Council for Responsible Sport)
Compostable food items were collected as well as recycle bins were strategically placed throughout the Houston Marathon weekend’s Health & Fitness Expo. (photo courtesy of Council for Responsible Sport)