13 Feb 2023
Environmental Social Governance (ESG)
Starting in 2012, nearly 10,000 people attended last year’s Cambridge Half Marathon (CHM) 2022. For the past 3 years, Delta-Simons has supported events organiser, OSB events, as Sustainability Partner to the CHM, providing Environmental Social Governance and sustainability benchmarking and goals for the annual event.
As 32 members of the Lucion Group, Delta-Simons’ parent company, prepare to take on the CHM 2023, in aid of chosen charity partner Alzheimer’s Research UK, our ESG and Sustainability team review last year’s sustainability achievements at the event and outline OSB’s sustainability goals for the next event happening Sunday 5th March 2023.
What Is ESG And Why Is It Important?
First widely acknowledged when the United Nations published their landmark report, ‘Who cares wins’ in June 2004, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments.
The introduction of ESG in the 2004 report emphasised the need to make ESG principles and actions fundamental to making financial investments. This report was released at a time when global public visibility of environmental crises was fast increasing, promoting an understanding amongst many business leaders and financial institutions that the minimal legal requirement was no longer good enough. Organisations needed to start considering the impacts of their operations on their employees and the wider environment.
Outlined in BBC Radio 4’s program Costing The Earth: Sustainable Sport for the Future, global environmental and business sustainability issues continue to become more prevalent in the public eye, such as; environmental pollution, flood risks, climate change, privacy and data security, demographic shifts, and regulatory pressures, the increased risk factors have started to require large scale events to change.
OSB, the organiser and promoter of TTP Cambridge Half Marathon (CHM) is committed to taking action to ensure that its impacts on the community and environment are positive, wherever possible, and minimise any potentially negative impacts.
OSB has worked with Delta-Simons since 2020, as a specialist environmental consultant, appointed as the CHM Sustainability Partner, to develop an Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Strategy for TTP Cambridge Half Marathon to ensure that the event continues to evolve to include the highest possible ESG standards.
The ESG Strategy aligns with The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Our Partnership With OSB Events
Our partnership with OSB events ensures that the TTP Cambridge Half Marathon event continues to evolve to include the highest possible ESG standards set out in the ESG policy and makes a positive contribution to Cambridge and the wider environment. It also gives us the opportunity to work with all of the event partners, including Cambridge University.
OSB Events and members of the TTP Cambridge Half Marathon team are committed to taking action to ensure that the event’s impact on the wider community and environment are positive, wherever possible, and minimise any potentially negative impacts. As specialist environmental consultants, we have, and continue to support and develop the Environment and Social Governance (ESG) Strategy for the Cambridge Half Marathon.
What did we achieve in 2022?
Our unified ESG strategy for TTP Cambridge Half Marathon ensures the event continues to evolve to include the highest possible ESG standards. The ESG Strategy outlined aligns with The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Some of the ESG initiatives OSB and Delta-Simons outlined and achieved during the 2022 event include:
- Social Impact: Installing charity clothing bins on Midsummer Common - All leftover clothing was donated to Winter Comfort and Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group.
- Food Waste: in order to minimise food waste generated by its events, OSB endeavours to donate perishable food waste to local Cambridge charities. At this year’s event, all leftover food & fruit went to Winter Comfort, Jimmy’s Food Drop and Linton Zoo!
- Sustainable Travel: the event focuses on local participants, with over 65% of entrants being Cambridgeshire based; this enables OSB to promote cycling as a method of travel for attendees by providing 1,500 free and secure bicycle parking spaces. In addition, OSB partners with the County Council and Stagecoach to provide 3,000 park and ride spaces.
- Materials Usage: printed race booklets are no longer provided, saving over 24,000 sheets of paper annually. Disposable ‘Goodie bags’ have been replaced with reusable and recyclable Jute bags, further reducing plastic usage at the event. This year, leftover goodie bags have been distributed to local schools.
- Water Bottles: OSB has been continuing to push for the reduction of single-use plastic water bottles, whilst balancing safety and hygiene measures with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. OSB partnered with Harrogate Spring to provide fully recyclable plastic bottles in a ‘closed loop’ system, as well as providing water tanks for those who want to refill their own reusable bottles.
- Zero Littering: whilst the vast majority of runners take great care to dispose of litter appropriately, there are exceptions. OSB will be paying particular attention to littering, informing competitors, and providing more than adequate disposal points.
- Surplus Medals: As part of the waste minimisation efforts, OSB has continued to donate the surplus medals from the event to local schools, simultaneously encouraging youth fitness and wellbeing initiatives such as the ‘1km/day for 21 days half marathon’.
OSB, in collaboration with Delta-Simons, created an ESG post-race survey, collecting data to better understand areas for improvement and forge a path of continuous ESG progress.
Participant Profile, Travel & Feedback Overview
Who took part in the 2022 TTP Cambridge Half Marathon?
- There was an even split of new and returning runners
- Around 1/3 of 2022 runners have completed the event 3 times or more
- 75% of runners are aged 25-54 and a 50:50 mix of male and female participants
- 87% are in employment. Only 6% are students and 4% are retired
- At least 71% of runners brought 1 or more spectators with them
Where did they come from?
- Around 50% were local participants - 31% live in Cambridge and 18% in Cambridgeshire
- Of the 50% who travel come from further afield, roughly 71% made their journey on the day.
- Of those who made it a longer trip, 322 racers stayed in hotel accommodations and 276 stayed with friends and family
- 16% walked to the Event, 7% used the Event Bike Park and 5% used the train. 39% used a car park and 25% used the Park & Ride. Another 7% used a different travel method - primarily being dropped off by car or cycling but didn’t use the Bike Park
How did they rate the event?
A very high proportion rated the TTP Cambridge Half Marathon 2022 as “Excellent” or “Good” across all categories. 96% said they would definitely (63%) or Probably (33%) return in 2023 but didn’t use the Bike Park.
Participants' Feedback and Recommendations
The overwhelming recommendation from participants to improve sustainability is to reduce the waste from plastic water bottles. Other areas they highlighted were improving waste management and recycling, considering how items such as medals and goody bags can be made more sustainable and making alternatives to car travel more accessible.
The feedback also indicates that there is more we can do to improve awareness of our existing initiatives including; closed Loop recycling for water bottles, making water refill points available, and charity clothing bins. Additionally, our participants gave us some great ideas on how we can improve next year.
#1 Reduce waste from Plastic Water Bottles
- Use containers which are biodegradable, edible or more easily recyclable
- Use smaller containers as bottles are too big and water is wasted
- Encourage or insist on runners being self-sufficient e.g. carrying reusable bottles or hydration packs
- Improve signage and access to water refill points
- Decrease the number of water stations
- Improve collection and recycling of empty bottles
#2 Improve waste management and recycling
- Place bins further away from feed stations to allow more time to drink before being ready to discard
- Increase bins available on the course and in the event village
- Implement “Zero drop” zones e.g. near water courses (or across the whole course)
- Add compost bins for fruit peels
- Improve signage for bins, placing signs above head height
- Clarity about what goes in each bin and whether it can be recycled
- Increase awareness of the Charity clothing bins
#3 – Consider all the opportunities
- Medals – make them wooden / smaller / optional
- Goody Bags – improve the sustainability of the bag itself as well as its contents, make it optional
- Gels – don’t offer these on the course, add more recycling bins
- Trains – liaise with train companies to get earlier services and add shuttle bus services from out-of-town stations
- Park and Ride – look to reduce the price and make the service more convenient and easier to use
In response to the aforementioned recommendations from last year’s participants, we have outlined our recommendations and ESG initiatives for the March 2023 event below.
Our 2023 ESG Strategy And Initiatives
Whilst reducing negative environmental impacts is a vital aspect of Delta-Simons’ partnership with Cambridge Half Marathon, the social value of the community event is of equal importance. Working with other partners on sustainability initiatives raises our brand profile and engages a wider range of stakeholders bringing benefits to local communities.
For the 2023 Cambridge Half Marathon event, we have outlined the following ESG goals and initiatives;
1. Compostable Cups - CHM has continued to explore the option of compostable cups and is pleased to announce that compostable containers will replace plastic bottles at the 2023 CHM event.
CHM will be using Vegware compostable products and has partnered with Cambridgeshire-based Countrystyle Recycling and Envar Composting Ltd to collect and compost the used cups, producing compost and soil improver which will be used on land within the region.
Retailers within the event village are also committed to using compostable cups and packaging for their products and will not be offering drinks in plastic bottles at the 2023 event.
2. Waste Management - Following participant feedback, CHM has improved the signage identifying the bins within the event village at the 2023 event to ensure that it is clear what waste goes in which bin. Bin signage will also be raised above head height so the locations of the bins are more visible.
3. Event Goodie Bags - A further improvement to the sustainability of the event goodie bags has been made for the 2023 event. The jute bags used since 2020 are being replaced with bags manufactured from certified rPET made from recycled plastic bottles.
Communication Is King
During the 2022 event, only 40% of participants reported that they were aware of our sustainability policy. Concerningly, only 45% of those had read our ESG statement. Communication is king when it comes to ESG and sustainability. As a market-leading environmental consultant, trusted by clients across 12 major sectors, we understand the importance of knowledge-sharing and storytelling to increase visibility and subsequent action needed to mitigate climate change and contribute towards a positive future for the planet. In 2023, we have been working to ensure that our message of sustainability and the long-term commitments of companies and individuals can make an impact, and will be front and centre for the benefit of protecting people and the environment.
“As Sustainability Partner to CHM, we are really looking forward to the 2023 event. We are working with OSB to engage with the CHM community to seek to make a real impact in Cambridge and beyond as we work with wider partner organisations to seek to have a positive ESG impact around the event.” - Alex Ferguson
The next CHM, taking place on Sunday 5th March 2023, our team of 32 runners will be collectively raising vital funds for our chosen charity partner Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) - an incredible charity that is working to reduce the effects of dementia through research.
Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK)
Founded in 1992, ARUK is the UK's leading dementia research charity with 15 centres of research excellence throughout the UK, supporting hundreds of scientists, dedicated to researching causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cure of dementia. They are on a mission to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025 with a vision of a world where people are free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.
Our charity partner, ARUK, was selected based on personal links to our people within the business and their alignment with our own mission to protect people and planet. Our community at the Lucion Group has a responsibility to foster positive social and environmental progress.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us with a donation this year. If you haven’t had a chance to donate, there’s still time. You can show your appreciation for our fundraisers and contribute to what has been a tremendous effort by donating at the event’s Just Giving page by clicking Donate Now.
Delta-Simons is a multi-disciplinary environmental and health and safety consultancy providing trusted advice and solutions to ‘Protect People and Planet’ through facilitating sustainable development.
We work with clients from multiple sectors including; industrial, commercial & residential developers, retailers, industrial manufacturers, fund managers, institutional investors, hi-tech companies, the public sector and charitable organisations. For the past 30 years, our team has provided a holistic suite of commercially astute environmental services and advice, designed to mitigate risk to both people and the environment, whilst removing the pain from planning or maintaining buildings and/or assets.
Through our thought leadership activities and shared learning, as well as being a founding member of the Inogen Alliance – a global corporation of consultants that provides worldwide coverage through one point of contact for environmental, health, safety and sustainability solutions for multinational organisations – we understand the importance of knowledge-sharing and storytelling to increase visibility and subsequent action needed to mitigate climate change and contribute towards a positive future for the planet.
As part of the Lucion Group, we are a national provider with a regional presence with a team of 600 employees, the majority of whom are field-based technical specialists with skillsets in 50+ environmental consultancy services, including hazardous materials, ecology, air and water services, geo-environmental and sustainability among others.
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