The Outdoor Friendly Pledge and Sustainable Sport

By Sarah Cooke

If you are active on Twitter, you may have seen the likes of Kilian Jornet and Damian Hall tweeting about #OutdoorFriendly. At RunUltra, we are keen to engage with initiatives that help protect the environment we run in, so I decided to find out what this new project is all about.

What is Outdoor Friendly?

Outdoor Friendly is a platform aiming to promote sustainable practice in outdoor sports. Their website outlines the Outdoor Friendly pledge and provides a space for sharing knowledge and ideas in support of that pledge. It is aimed at everyone involved in outdoor sports – athletes, organisers, brands and federations.

What is the pledge?

The Outdoor Friendly Pledge is a commitment based on the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations – goals with a deadline of 2030. These goals focus on 17 key areas:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnerships for the goals

Specifically, the Outdoor Friendly Pledge focuses on reducing the pollution and greenhouse gases generated through outdoor sports, improving management of natural resources, preserving land and biodiversity and advocating for a more sustainable society.

The pledge requires everyone to do what they can, making whatever commitments they are ready for each year, in the hope that small steps taken by everyone will move outdoor sports towards a more sustainable future. The idea is to make every effort to achieve the following by 2030:

Events

  1. Minimise and offset emissions with an end goal of becoming carbon neutral.
  2. Use 100% renewable energy.
  3. Reduce journeys made by organisers, spectators and crews and ensure at least 80% of these journeys are made by low carbon transport.
  4. Reduce waste by at least 50% and ensure selective collection of all waste.
  5. Use 100% ecological, friendly and fair materials.
  6. Source at least 50% of catering food on a sustainable way.
  7. Base event location, date, participant and spectator numbers and measures to preserve the location on and assessment of land erosion and wildlife impact.
  8. Require participants to do environmental or conservation work as a condition of entry.
  9. Promote environmentally friendly practice through campaigns and activities and preferentially work with sponsors with environmental commitments.
  10. Conserve and protect water.

Athletes and Practitioners

  1. Reduce travel to a maximum of 3CO2e tonnes/year.
  2. Refuse to participate in activities with high carbon emissions.
  3. Offset carbon emissions resulting from travel.
  4. Promote participation in local events and activities.
  5. Get politically active and advocate to the community.
  6. Do at least one act of environmental or conservation work a year.
  7. Minimise the environmental footprint of your sport by informing yourself on and respecting local and seasonal restrictions.
  8. Recycle, reuse and repurpose equipment.
  9. Preferentially purchase equipment/products that can be reused or recycled.
  10. Adopt a climate friendly lifestyle.

There are also ten goals apiece for both brands and federations. Further details and tips for working towards these goals can be found on the Outdoor Friendly website.

Who is behind Outdoor Friendly?

The Outdoor Friendly Pledge was created by Kilian Jornet and his Kilian Jornet Foundation (KJF). The focus of the KJF is the preservation of the mountains and their environment. Their work includes direct projects working to preserve the mountains, awareness raising and research.

The KJF sees the pledge as a commitment between the mountains and outdoor sport. The mountains and the outdoors in general offer us the opportunity to improve our mental and physical health through our sports. They are also adversely impacted by those sports. Outdoor Friendly seeks to use the appreciation that outdoor sport participants have for the outdoors to preserve the environment.

Prior to the launch of Outdoor Friendly, Kilian had already committed to limit his own travel, and to stop after his trips generated three tons of carbon dioxide in a given year. Kilian has the following to say regarding the importance of Outdoor Friendly and it’s relevance to ultra runners:

“During 20 years I’ve been seeing from the inside all the players that make sports possible; athletes, brands, federations and organisers, and I realised that if we want to have a more sustainable practice it is important that every of them takes measures. I believe all outdoor people love nature and want to preserve it, but many times we find it difficult to find the measures and concrete actions to do so. That’s the aim of the pledge, to create a space where we can share all this knowledge to focus on making the sport more environmentally friendly”.

Outdoor Friendly is also supported by Act on Collective Transition for Summits (ACTS) and SVPlanète. These are both organisations involved in the fight against climate change.

Who has taken the Outdoor Friendly Pledge?

As well Kilian Jornet, the ultra runners who have declared their support for Outdoor Friendly include Emilie Forsberg, Damian Hall, Xavier Thevenard, Clare Gallagher, Ryan Sandes and Lucy Bartholomew. Events that have taken the pledge include Hardrock 100, Dragon’s Back Race and Salomon Skyline Scotland.

How can I get involved?

You can sign up to the pledge on the Outdoor Friendly website, adding your name to the list of others who are taking on these commitments. You will also be able to read and share tips on sustainable practice.

RunUltra set up a partnership with Trees Not Tees, an initiative which may provide an opportunity for both events and runners to reduce their impact on the environment. You can read about their work aiding runners to plant trees rather than receive race medals.

Helpful Links

Outdoor Friendly website

Kilian Jornet Foundation (KJF)

Act on Collective Transition for Summits (ACTS)

 

Trees not Tees

https://run-ultra.com/media/images/Outdoor%2520Friendly/Outdoor-Friendly-image-copy.jpg

Photo credit: Outdoor Friendly

"During 20 years I’ve been seeing from the inside all the players that make sports possible; athletes, brands, federations and organisers, and I realised that if we want to have a more sustainable practice it is important that every of them takes measures"

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