“When you go riding or surfing you are amidst nature most of the time and we have to be aware of what’s going on. I have been surfing all my life and I see the difference between now and back in the days. You have to be touched by what’s going on if you are connected to nature.” – Maritxu Darrigrand, Marketing Director at Roxy

And that’s what the Roxy Chicken Jam 2010 was all about! It was one of the first carbon neutral boardsport events in Europe. Recent major events that have taken responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions include: the 2007 Academy Awards, 2006 FIFA World Cup Soccer, and the Dave Matthews Band concert tour. The environmental leadership demonstrated by these events is helping to transform the event industry, with green initiatives quickly becoming an expected part of holding an event. Let’s hope the snowboarding industry – highly dependent on the earth’s climate – starts leading by example.

The Roxy Chicken Jam organized by Austrian Matt Hoffmann went down this alternative road and offset all carbon emissions of the event by buying into a project called SRARFI – Sudden Rush Atlantic Rainforest Institute. Every ton of CO2 was offset by purchasing atlantic rainforest for the amount of € 42. 1.500 square meters of rain forest in Brazil were purchased.

Read the full interview with Matt Hoffman on the TTR blog.

There is a couple of key factors when organizing more sustainable events:

  1. Reduce your emissions as much as possible
  2. Choose which remaining emissions you wish to offset
  3. Calculate your emissions
  4. Purchase the necessary offsets from a reliable partner
  5. Communicate your efforts
  6. Review your strategy annually

Event organizer: Matt Hoffmann

Choosing resorts that conduct and subsidize “Green Tourism Business” including the active promotion of public transportation, recycling, energy efficiency and purchasing locally produced organic food is the first step. The support of local produce is important as every $10 spent generate $25 for the local economy (the local multiplier effect), increases awareness amongst producers and consumers and reduces environmental issues by minimizing food miles, the distance food travels from producer to end-user.

Secondly, event managers need to reduce CO2 emissions arising from energy use on different levels, like using less polluting energy sources, i.e. renewable energy and encouraging people to use public transportation. Then offset the unavoidable CO2 emissions by purchasing “carbon offsets”.

Finally, reducing waste in the first place and assuring proper waste disposal facilities constitutes the last key factor. This includes everything, from avoiding disposable dishes in catering to recyclable materials for banners, flyers, press kits or other marketing material.

I asked Maritxu Darrigrand, Marketing Director at Roxy, now in also charge of sustainability at the company, why she thought SRARFI was the right organisation to work with:

“It was good, cause we already had been in contact regarding another Quiksilver Foundation project, which is about forest reservation in France, but back then we decided to work with an organization called “Coeur de Forêt”.

But Matt (Hoffmann) asked us to think about the “Atlantic Rainforest Foundation” again – and we did – and after all it’s even better because it’s connected to our world – boardriding – Terje is involved for example. We know these guys and we know our money is in good hands. Here it’s not used to partly pay for a big office in New York and stuff like that. We have to be careful that the organizations or associations we give our funds to do the right thing.

It’s good to not put all your energy in the same one. It’s good to split up – we do a lot of other things, too. I hope with positive effects.”

Let’s hope the upcoming Roxy Chicken Jam in the US, which is the final of the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour for the women, will be environmentally friendly as well. Roxy and the event organizer ensured that they are working on it and as Darrigrand concluded: Without offsetting both events to the rainforest we are not showing a real commitment.”

Another Interview with Maritxu about sustainability at Roxy, production chain, logistics and green product design is coming shortly.

Of course there is more events out there acting sustainably in snowboarding and other action sports. They will be covered in this blog at a later point in time. We will have an interview with Henning Anderson from the Oakley Arctic Challenge and many more.

Sources:

RCJ News Carbon Neutral: http://roxychickenjam.com/chickenjam10/blogEntry,62.en.html

Roxy Chicken Jam 2010: http://roxychickenjam.com/

Sudden Rush Atlantic Rainforest Institute: http://www.atlanticrainforest.org/

David Suzuki Foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/What_You_Can_Do/carbon_neutral_events.asp

Our South-West: Greener Events: http://www.oursouthwest.com/SusBus/gevents.html

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