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An electric vehicle on the course of the Virgin Money London Marathon

Sustainability

Inspiring and delivering innovation in mass participation event sustainability

As well as the Virgin Money London Marathon, we (London Marathon Events) organise 12 other world-class mass participation events each year that focus, not only on running, but cycling and swimming too.

We are proud to lead the way in showing the power of mass participation sport as a force for good, and of the hugely positive effects our events have had on millions of people since the first London Marathon in 1981.

We want to ensure our events and activities drive positive change in sustainability too, therefore environmental sustainability is one of the eight company pillars that guide everything we do.

Delivering on our environmental policy

Our events have a proven track record of inspiring activity, improving physical and mental health and bringing communities together – raising billions of pounds for charities and supporting local businesses in the process.

We want to ensure we consider the environment too and since 2019 we have focussed on measuring and continuously reviewing our impacts to inform our decisions. To find out more, read our environmental policy.

Leaving The Right Impression

In 2020 we launched our first-ever environmental impact report, Leaving the Right Impression, which set out the waste, emissions and products produced and used across all our events, and at our head office and warehouse in 2019.

All our annual environmental impact reports including our latest iteration are shown below:

Focus areas

We have split our focus across four key impact areas; waste, emissions, product and supply chain. 

Here are just a few of the things we have achieved in 2020 across each of these areas; for full information check out our latest environmental impact report: 

Waste

  • reduced total waste by almost 20 per cent in our one like-for-like event, The Vitality Big Half
  • introduced bottles made of 100 per cent recycled and recyclable materials
  • prevented thousands of already purchased medals and T-shirts from going to waste by using them for our virtual events 
  • donated over 8000 items of clothing to charitable causes

Emissions

  • switched to 100 per cent renewable energy at our head office and warehouse
  • introduced electric vehicles 
  • planted over 1000 trees to balance 2020 emissions from our generators, event vehicles and staff and elite athlete travel
  • introduced lower emission generators using HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel

Product

  • introduced kit bags made from sustainable sugarcane that have a lower carbon footprint 
  • continue to provide Lucozade Sport Pods and compostable cups
  • reduced packaging on finisher t-shirts

Supply Chain

  • introduced a responsible procurement toolkit  
  • incorporated sustainability considerations into our terms and conditions 
  • chair a procurement working group with other mass participation event’s organisers  

We also recognise the importance of collective action and have joined the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, working with other sports organisers across the globe to take climate action. In addition we work closely with our fellow Abbott World Marathon Major partners and other UK Mass Participation sports organisations to share knowledge and learnings. We are excited about what we and our partners have achieved, but know there is still much more to do, and this work will continue long into the future.

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    • Guinness World Records

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    • Our other events

      We would love you to be part of the other great events we organise throughout the year

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      Don’t miss your chance to become a Guinness World Record holder

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