The UTMB® an event involved in sustainable development
Following the engagements agreed in January 2017, within the framework of the GESI (Big International Sporting Events) charter, by 20 French organizations, the UTMB® reaffirmed its engagement to favor sustainable development.
Within the GESI charter, particular attention is paid to environmental responsibilities within the specific rules for organizers of big international sporting events in France. As the reminder made by, Éric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix Mont-Blanc and president of the Vallée de Chamonix Mont-Blanc , « (…) it is possible to conciliate the environment and big events».
On 11 June, invited by Laura Flessel (the minister of sports) and Isabelle Autissier, (president of the WWF France), the UTMB® confirmed its engagement and gave a reminder of the actions already undertaken with all that is new for 2018 along with the 26 new signatories (organizers of sporting events and equipment managers).
Amongst the different sustainable development criteria (environment, social and economic), several actions have already been undertaken by UTMB®.
1. On the ground, concrete actions for protecting the environment
The UTMB® has already carried out some important work concerning the environmental problematic, and this has been happening since the birth of the environment commission in 2006. In 2017, in order to meet the GESI commitments , special environmental sign-posting has been reinforced to remind runners that they are moving through a naturally fragile zone.
The ambassadors of the environment (around twenty), have a double mission : the quality of the route ( cleanliness, respect for the fragile zones and contact with the mountain farmers, hut guardians…), and making both the public and the runners aware about respecting the environment through different means (animations at race-bib distribution, animations for informing the children during the Mini-UTMB®…).
2. A full time « sustainable development » referent
Qualified with a Masters EPGM (Equipment, Protection and management in a mountain environment ) and former rider for the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, Jules Pijourlet in 2017, did his internship as referent of the environment within the heart of the UTMB®. This internship transformed in to a permanent contract with a transversal mission : to ensure that the GESI agreements will be taken in to account within the organisation of the event. Thanks to the work in collaboration with ASTERS (Conservator of nature reserves in the Haute-Savoie) to limit the impact of the races and to protect the biodiversity, the race routes can traverse the nature reserves and fragile zones.
3. Objective for 2018: less trash and more recycling
So as satisfy agreement number 4 of the GESI charter, new plans for the reduction and management of trash have been set up. As from 2017, a partnership has been developed with ELISE Alpes in order to recycle all the plastic cups used by runners at the race’s first refreshment posts. This resulted in 9000 cups being recycled . ELISE Alpes answers equally to the social section of sustainable development as the business integrates handicapped persons in to their workforce.
Even less trash in 2018!
Rather than forbidding them, UTMB® has chosen to make the players in the event responsible by announcing that all disposable utensils (bowls , cutlery, plates) will be eliminated this year. To eat hot food (soup, pasta…) at the refreshment posts, volunteers and runners must have their own utensils (BYOU plan : Bring Your Own Utensils). If they don’t have their own utensils, they can only eat that which isn’t hot.
4. Eco-responsible food at the refreshment posts
So as to favor short distance food supplies and also organic and certified foodstuffs, the UTMB® has increased, by 5% , its budget for the refreshment posts.
5. An ambitious policy favorizing communal transport
As from 2006, supported by l’Espace Mont-Blanc and Mont-Blanc Bus, the UTMB® has developed a true communal transport plan. In 2017, more than 19 000 runners, accompanying persons, supporters and journalists/cameramen benefitted from this mode of transport. In 2018, the UTMB® gives everyone access to these transports for following the races.
6. 100% of the water consumption is controlled
In a part of the country where springs water abounds, it would be a pity not to economize on 8000 plastic bottles and the transportation of them. Managing its water consumption is a part of the engagements agreed in the GESI charter.
7. Qualified volunteers
As from 2018, volunteers who are doctors, nurses or first aiders can do a training which results in a diploma carried out by an approved organization on the theme of treating a vital emergency of a medical nature during outdoor sporting events.
8. An united and committed event
Amongst the engagements, figures the setting up of at least one action of a charitable nature. Since 2006, each runner can, when registering, add a donation in favor of a charitable association. Over the years solidarity race-bibs have been created in order to support more associations. This year, a special operation has been organized to support the association La Longue Route des Malades de SLA.
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