AJ Bell 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland has been awarded the gold certificate by World Triathlon for sustainability. This is the second year the British leg of the WTCS has been awarded a gold certificate after the event, which was held in Leeds last year, received the same standard.
Reducing, reusing, and recycling have been a priority throughout the organising process of the event. The blue carpet used at the finish line will either be recycled and turned into traffic cones or will be donated to local triathlon clubs for them to use at their events. Event signage has been planned so pre-existing signs are used and minimal new items are produced.
On the course, there will be designated litter zones to ensure all waste is captured, and the venue waste systems match that of the city council meaning more waste is likely to be recycled due to pre-sorting of waste types. All waste will either be recycled or incinerated to provide power to the city of Sunderland.
Steps have also been taken to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the event. British Triathlon is working with local suppliers to reduce the number of journeys needed for deliveries. Electric cars will also be in use, with 50% of all vehicles used at the event being fully electric. Local businesses are supplying 100% of staff catering.
The local community and the event’s impact on it has also been considered. Leftover food and drinks from staff catering are being donated to Sunderland Oasis Community Housing Charity to support the work they do and their users. As well as using a Blue Flag venue that is certified for water quality, cleanliness and improving facilities, there will also be litter picking throughout the weekend, an organised beach clean-up, and daily beach sweeps.
The success comes after last year’s event in Leeds achieved the same award, where a post event survey showed that the majority of participants agreed that sustainability and environmental impact was a consideration in their choice of event.
This environmentally conscious thinking was shown by 64% of people surveyed car sharing to get to the event. The survey also showed that 75% of respondents noticed their finisher gift was made of recycled material, with 35% noticing the same of the merchandise that was on sale.
Almost 50% of people surveyed last year also noticed that there had been a change from single use plastics to recyclable carboard cartons, which were used for finish line water. On top of the positive feedback from the survey, no waste from the event went to landfill with it either being recycled or turned into waste derived fuel.
Andy Salmon, British Triathlon CEO, said: “The environment and sustainability has been at the forefront of British Triathlon’s decision making for a while now. We have looked at a number of ways we can make not only our day-to-day practices better for the environment but also those at our events, like AJ Bell 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland.
“To receive the gold certificate two years in a row is a fantastic achievement and one that we are all extremely proud of. The hard work will continue to ensure we maintain this standard at all levels of events and that we continue to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly moving forward.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "We’re delighted to see this weekend’s event being awarded a gold certificate for sustainability. We've been working hard with colleagues at British Triathlon to make sure that the event is as sustainable as it possibly can be in keeping with the City Council's own commitment to a low carbon future and to making Sunderland a cleaner greener city.
“This has included very practical things such as making sure as many things as possible are recycled after the event, as well as litter picking and beach cleaning and working with local businesses and suppliers where possible. As part of our work to encourage residents to become more active and take advantage of the mental and physical health benefits that this brings, it's also been about Active Sunderland working with British Triathlon's Active Skills for Life to support the local community to become more active through the sport of triathlon."