March 15, 2024

Sustainability Statement

Definition of Sustainability:

Sustainability consists of fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between environmental care, social well-being, and economic viability.

Definition modified from Santander original version, read more

Environmental Sustainability

Our environmental sustainability focus is on conserving and maintaining the natural environment and biodiversity that we have the privilege of enjoying for outdoor recreation

What we have done to improve environmental sustainability 

  • We have analyzed and estimated our ecological footprint every year since 2018
  • We have worked with location partners to minimize waste and energy usage annually since 2018
  • We have reduced the amount of travel required to organize the event
  • We have minimized consumption and waste as much as possible, including no single-use plastics offered at our events
  • For 2021 and 2022 we purchased carbon offsets that were greater than the estimated carbon footprint – both events became carbon negative as a result
  • Our carbon shadow has increased through our actions to share the importance of estimating ecological footprint, educating other event organizers on reducing their ecological footprints and in addition carbon offset options. We have also encouraged other event organizers to offer education on the importance of environmental sustainability and the broader impact that all our life decisions can have on our ecological footprints and carbon shadows.

What future actions will we take to improve environmental sustainability

  • Continue to provide ongoing education for event organizers
  • Research innovative methods for improving the education opportunities within the sport
  • Work to establish a requirement for events to declare their ecological footprint and what initiatives they have introduced to grow their carbon shadow

Social Sustainability

Our social sustainability focus is on increasing diversity within the sport so that groups that are under-represented currently have a seat at the table and are included at the highest possible level of organization of this event. Groups that are under-represented include, but are not limited to, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQIA+, youth and elders, and adaptive communities. We recognize that our natural environment functions best when diversity is allowed to flourish. There is still much progress to be made in expanding access to the sport to a broader group of people.

What we have done to improve social sustainability

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion has been a central or complementary aspect of our theme since 2019
  • We have worked to provide education for event organizers to help them to grow diversity within their events
  • We have ensured there is a seat at the table for under-represented groups and have made a space for the voices of communities of women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA, youth and elders, and adaptive athletes within the content of the event since 2019
  • We provide financial support for under-represented groups to attend the event wherever possible, and have been a leader in this area.

What future actions will we take to improve social sustainability

  • Recognizing that progress to improve social sustainability has been slower than anticipated, in 2024 we will develop criteria and targets to measure and achieve goals as we move forward.
  • One way that we believe we can improve diversity within the event is to intentionally create more diversity within the educational panels that we create for the event. This will start with the 2024 event.
  • Each session at the Conference starting with the 2024 event will include a reminder before the session starts that the goal is to treat everyone kindly and with respect. This is especially true of the under-represented groups that we invite into this space.
  • We will create an event advisory committee in 2024 that includes representation from under-represented groups in the sport, and empower everyone to have a voice in advising on appropriate panelists and session questions. We also recognize that change will only happen when people step outside of their comfort zone, and to respect this in creating content for our event.

Economic Viability

Our economic viability focus is on effectively managing the resources available to us, and to responsibly generate enough profit to make the event sustainable in the long term, as well as creating opportunities to financially support representation and participation from individuals in under-represented groups in the sport. We will also ensure that the decisions we make regarding economic viability are also respectful and take into account environmental and social impacts that those decisions make.

What we have done to improve economic viability 

  • We have reduced participant and exhibitor costs wherever possible to lessen the financial impact of attendance.
  • We have, since 2021, provided financial support for representatives from under-represented groups to participate in the event. This has given these participants the opportunity to add their voices that would not otherwise have been heard. Groups that have been represented include, but are not limited to women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and adaptive athletes.
  • We actively seek participation from exhibitors whose values align and support our environmental, social, and economic sustainability values, and have also encouraged them to add their voices to conversations about the future of the sport.

What future actions will we take to improve economic viability

  • Market the event to new audiences that have not yet heard about the benefits that participation could yield for them.
  • Actively seek out exhibitors and sponsors that are invested in helping to finance projects that support environmental and social sustainability, and to be innovative in creating programs that help focus on these issues.
  • Provide opportunities at the event for partners to realize the benefits of their investment.
  • Encourage partners and sponsors to consider contributing towards scholarship programs so that underfunded individuals can attend the Conference. See details on the 2024 ATRA Better Together scholarships at this link.

What does the future look like?

There are few models for us to look to for how a truly inclusive sport will look in the future. That doesn’t stop us dreaming, planning, and taking actions to ensure that we are doing everything that we can to make the sport as inclusive as possible.

One of the challenges that we face is having representative data on race participants. This can be simply achieved by adopting standards for registration platforms so that we have eyes on the data that enables us to view whether the actions we are taking are truly having the positive impact that we intended.

Progress has been made, and there is much work to do. We are committed to working towards a brighter future where participation in the sport truly reflects the makeup of the population as a whole, and where there are no barriers to anyone that wishes to participate and enjoy the great outdoors on the trails.

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