U.S. Embassy Bogota’s Carrera Verde Achieves Gold-Level Environmental Certification

On Earth Day 2015, the U.S. Embassy Bogota is proud to announce that Colombia’s first Carrera Verde has achieved Gold-Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, based in Eugene, Oregon, USA.  Carrera Verde—a 10-kilometer race held in Bogota on February 22, 2015—was co-hosted by the U.S. Embassy and Fundación Natura, a Colombia-based non-governmental environmental organization.  The race organizers earned credit on 48 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events.

Carrera Verde was intended to generate local interest and awareness about Fundacion Natura’s “Unidos por los Bosques” campaign, through which the organizers aim to plant one million trees in Colombia by the end of 2016.  Six trees will be planted for each of the 5,000 participants in Carrera Verde.  This environmental rehabilitation campaign began in Colombia’s Reserva Encenillo on March 22, 2015, which also marked International Day of Forests.

The trees planted during the campaign will offset approximately 7,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide and equivalent Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG).  Other benefits of trees include that they provide oxygen, prevent erosion, build organic soil matter, cool streets in urban areas and provide wildlife habitat.

Highlights from the Carrera Verde certification effort include an 88-percent waste diversion from the landfill through recycling efforts and a “Green Week” at the U.S. Embassy, during which volunteers collected running shoes and clothing for redistribution as well as more than 1,200 pounds of hard-to-recycle electronic wastes.  Organizers repurposed banners from past events for lanyard strings and used sustainable wood for race medals.  Organizers also reduced barriers to participation by donating entries for 1,400 out of the 5,000 race participants.

“The Council is very impressed with the organizing effort for this first-ever Carrera Verde in Bogotá. Through broad collaboration it’s clear that the goal to be a truly sustainable event touched all aspects of event planning and was very well executed,” said Shelley Villalobos, certification director at the Council for Responsible Sport. “We’re thrilled to award the first certification in South America and in Colombia to the Carrera Verde—it was well earned.”