Sustainable development represents an important perspective for the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef. For several years, we have opted to integrate a comprehensive policy of sustainable development into the event planning process.
To define and measure our environmental impact accurately, we carried out an audit in 2011 with the help of Blueshift, a firm specializing in sport and sustainable development. Based on this audit, we have implemented many initiatives with the aim to improve not only the ecological impact of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, but also the social and economic dimensions associated with it.
The Harmony Geneva Marathon is one of the 7 Swiss sport events to have received the 2016 award “for a sustainable commitment” awarded by Swiss Olympic and its program ecosport.ch. It becomes the only Swiss marathon to receive this distinction.
This label distinguishes sport events which makes efficient and innovating efforts in environment and sustainable development domains. In 2013, the marathon had already been awarded as one of the 6 winners of this contest.
Click here to view the Ecosport.ch profile of the event.
The Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef has developed a communication and engagement campaign specifically focusing on informing participants and the general public about sustainable practices.
By participating in the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, you pledge to:
- Respect the values of sport, mutual support, sharing and conviviality
- Respect and preserve local wildlife by staying on the correct paths
- Pay attention to my water consumption by drinking tap water
- Whenever possible, use public transport, carpool system or a clean alternative to travel to and from the event
- Reduce, reuse and recycle waste, do not throw litter on the course and use the sorting bins
- Increase my family and friends’ awareness and engage in positive actions to preserve the environment
- Wear the green “Run for Sustainability” shoelaces.
The “Run for Sustainability” campaign will allow runners to actively take on this initiative and show their support for this 7-point charter.
For the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, water is central to everything. We have placed the important issue of water conservation at the heart of this event as a major issue that we wish to communicate to current and future generations!
The theme of water forms the basis of our partnership with UNICEF. Since 2010, the funds raised have been dedicated to the construction of hydraulic pumps used for emergency assistance in countries affected by disaster.
The Marathon also features the theme of water through an important partnership formed in 2012 between the organisers and the Services Industriels de Genève (SIG). The water provided for runners has been water straight from its source in Geneva. This allows us to limit our waste and impact on the environment. Using Geneva’s extremely high quality tap water is up to 1000 times more sustainable than providing bottled water.
In order to address the impact on the environment that travelling to an event like this has, the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef encourages the use of public transport through with the strong support of its partners.
Runners are offered free public transport around Geneva (zone 10 only) on the day of their race. In partnership with Geneva Public Transport (TPG) – Unireso, we ensure that transport in and around the city is as easy and enjoyable as possible for all participants.
For visitors who wish to join us but live outside this transport system, the Geneva Car Parks Foundation and Parkgest will offer special rates to benefit from a Park + Ride or a car park in centre of Geneva and therefore use the entire network of TPG.
The Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef is taking a conscientious approach this environmental action through various initiatives which have been easily subscribed to online, and also the provision of specific sorting bins (plastic, aluminum, glass, other waste) across the entire site.
Official Supplier of the Marathon, Serbeco, has worked with us for several years to develop these processes. We have also managed to remove the use of over 6000 plastic bottles across the Marathon through collaborating with SIG. The event has chosen to source its electricity from Vitale Vert provided by SIG. This 100% sustainable source of electricity is generated locally and used to power the entire event.
With the valuable help of our volunteers, we strive to preserve the surrounding countryside: the course is thoroughly cleaned by our Green Team immediately after the participants pass through.
Finally, we encourage our partners to not distribute any leaflets and prospectuses, and to use compostable cutlery and other locally sourced items that are recycled material or are recyclable after the event on their stands in the village.
Sustainable Development is not only concerned with the environment. It also takes into account the themes of society and the economy to find a balance and synergy between these three dimensions.
The partnership with UNICEF is a sound cause for the Geneva Marathon because it allows us to offer the charity a large amount of visibility as well as directly contributing financially to UNICEF projects around the theme of water.
Also, sportswear collection will be organised in the Marathon Village and at the race start for the association Bilifou that helps young people in Burkina Faso. Runners and spectators can drop clean and good condition sportswear, especially kids’ sizes.
But it does not stop there. We try to ensure that the event is accessible to all. It is a principle that we closely monitor and we are delivering with the support of out partners as well as your participation. We also have the support of more than 1,000 volunteers who are a vital part of the management and smooth running of the event.