Wellington’s pinnacle running/walking event, Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays, has recently been recognised for its sustainability efforts at the national Keep New Zealand Beautiful awards. The event took out Most Sustainable Business Project for its sustainability efforts and goal to become the first large-scale running event in the world to produce zero waste by 2025.
“A big part of our event is the wonderful views of the Wellington Harbour,” Sport Wellington Event Director John Grieve said. “By looking after our environment, we can keep it this way for future generations to come."
Held annually since 1972, the Awards inspire, recognise, and acknowledge those individuals, businesses, community groups, towns, and cities who are working hard across Aotearoa to Keep New Zealand Beautiful.
“While we deliver Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays so that as many people can be involved in this iconic event as possible, we are also committed to demonstrating that this type of event can be delivered in an environmentally friendly way,” said Phil Gibbons, CEO of Sport Wellington. “I am extremely proud of the approach and efforts being undertaken by John and the wider Sport Wellington team in this area.”
In acknowledgement of the role the environment plays in people’s happiness and health, Sport Wellington last year unveiled a Sustainable Event Policy and pledged to make the Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays waste and carbon-free by 2025. A step towards this goal was the introduction of reusable cups in 2020, made from recycled materials at the finish line and throughout the course.
“Two years ago we thought that there must be a more sustainable way to hydrate our participants during and after the event,” Grieve said. “Since then we have managed to remove over 40,000 compostable cups and 13,500 plastic bottles from Wellington’s waste stream thanks to funding from Wellington City Council.”
Other sustainable initiatives Sport Wellington has introduced to date include:
Electric and hybrid event vehicles
Partnership with Wellington Waste Managers
Ensuring all vendors serve food and drink in recyclable containers
Replacing certain printed advertising with digital advertising
Composting organic waste
Encouraging participants to use public transport on event-day to avoid traffic congestion
“We are continuing to build on our green initiatives for 2021 with our main venture being our ‘Adopt a Tree’ programme, in partnership with Conservation Volunteers NZ,” Grieve said. “This initiative is a great example of the positive impact the event makes on our communities, whilst helping us achieve our ambitious zero-waste and zero-carbon goals.”
The Adopt a Tree Initiative means every person who registers for the 2021 will automatically adopt a native tree when registering – at no additional cost. This has the potential to save thousands of trees, as the main issue with restoring native bush to the region is making sure these trees reach maturity.
The 2021 event, scheduled for Sunday 21 February, will also see the introduction of recyclable bibs and event merchandise being made out of recycled material. Uniforms for the over 400 volunteers are also being delivered via sea-freight rather than air in an effort to reduce carbon emissions associated with the event.
Wellington Round the Bays is all about inclusive physical activity and the team are working hard for the 2021 event to continue removing barriers to participation (eg. free public transport) and increasing the ways people can make a difference through being active. As well as the Adopt a Tree initiative, people can also choose to Run for a Cause and support principal charity partner the Mental Health Foundation as well as five other affiliated charities, simply by registering.
Registrations to get involved and participate in the most sustainable business project in the country open on the Thursday 5th of November.