Our Sustainability Manifesto
Racing in nature for nature
Our passion for nature is at the core of why we love participating in swimrun. It’s a thrilling activity that allows us to immerse ourselves in the natural environment, both on land and in water. Equally important to us is the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals. That’s why we strive to create an event that is not only a test of endurance, but also a celebration of the natural world and human camaraderie.
The name of our event, ATOBE, holds a dual significance. On one level, it represents the journey that swimrunners undertake as they traverse the landscape from point A to point B, encountering all of nature’s challenges along the way. On another level, ATOBE symbolizes personal transformation – a process of becoming who we truly aspire to be. As organizers, we believe that our event should not only benefit the participants, but also the environment. We aspire to host a regenerative event that nourishes both humans and nature, and that leaves a positive impact on the world around us.
For us, regenerativity means going beyond the standard practices of minimizing harm and achieving net-zero emissions. It means actively working to restore and enhance the social and ecological systems that support us. As a sporting event that brings people together, we believe that we can create meaningful social benefits for everyone involved. At the same time, we acknowledge that achieving true ecological regeneration will be a challenge – but it’s a journey that we’re excited to undertake.
What we do today
We want our event to create memories not materials. Everything we materially create has an environmental impact. From a circular perspective, we should first minimize the need for new materials. Once we have created materials we should make sure they stay in functional use for as long as possible. Want to learn more about circular economy?
Since a few years back we are therefore reusing course markers. We tie them up in branches with knots that are easy to untie and collect them in bags. We store these bags until start over again next event.
We also reuse racing bibs. As a participant, you receive your bibs/vests in your starting kit and upon finishing you return them to us (after you’ve had the chance to take photos obviously). We then wash them and store them until next event.
We allow participants to use their own swimcaps. We figure that most of you by now have a few of these caps in a drawer at home, so we think you should use your favorite one. However, if you don’t have one, we are happy to provide one.
(If we print stuff or invest in materials, then we make sure to be able to use them for many years.)
Vegetarian diet as standard
When participants register, the default option for them at breakfast and lunch will be vegetarian. And we’re confident it’s delicious. We do this mainly since vegetarian food generally has a lower environmental impact than meat, and if animals didn’t have to be killed in the process – well then we like that too. If you want to learn more about sustainable food for humans and the planet, the EAT-Lancet Report is a great resource. However, we don’t want to force anything down our participants’ throats (literally), so we also offer the choice of a meat-based lunch. We source this meat from local farmers with sound ecological practices.
The ATOBEE medal
We have an innovation to announce!
There’s something beautiful about getting a reward once you cross the finish line. It’s less beautiful that many of us have drawers piling up with medals, t-shirts and so on. So instead we announce the ATOBEE medal! It’s a medal that is supporting insect biodiversity and providing housing for solitary bee eggs to survive the winters. After the race, we encourage you to hang it up in a dry, sunny location and feel good about having helped our super-important pollinators.
(The medals are made from natural materials which do not harm nature. Below is a prototype)
Reinvesting in the environment
We use some of our profits to support environmental work in our local area. We love Lake Immeln and its’ surroundings and we want to protect it. That’s exactly what Rädda Immeln does. Their work includes ensuring good water quality, improving the inflows to the lake, creating opportunities for wildlife and more. We’re proud to support them, just like Lake Immeln supports us.
What we are exploring - 2023 and onwards
Ridesharing and sustainable travel
In outdoor sports events, it’s common that roughly 90% of the emitted greenhouse gases related to the event come from participant travel. Therefore it is essential that we collaborate to lower its impact. We can do this by traveling as sustainably as possible. Public transportation is great as far as it can get you, but we are well aware that it’s challenging to get all the way to Immeln this way. If you need to drive, we encourage you to fill up your car with as many lovely swimrun-people as it can legally fit. If we use our cars optimally, we don’t need to use as many cars – simple as that. And you might get some new friends along the way! We’re currently looking at different solutions to make connecting and organizing their trips easy for participants.
The meal after the race is always lovely. What could be better than getting to chat with fellow racers and enjoy some warm nutritious food? However, events produce a lot of single-use waste. And in accordance with the hierarchy of waste – the most positive effect on waste is to prevent it from the start. If we can reuse glasses, cutlery and plates we have prevented the largest waste stream from our event. We haven’t quite figured out how to do this in practice (it has to be feasible) – but we’re working on it. If you have tips or ideas we want to hear them!
Make memories not materials
Life is a competition of who can collect the most stuff before one dies – right? Maybe not… We want to help people create amazing memories, and we think we can do a lot with experiences rather than materials (or stuff basically). As we are embarking on our sustainability journey we’re meeting some amazing people who have the same passion. Of course, we want to award the amazing performances at our race, and together with these friends we are exploring new ways of doing just that. We’re trying to collect a number of amazing experiences that you as a winner at Immeln Swimrun can choose from. What new memory do you want to create?
What we encourage
This is the decade of action, and we are all part of creating the change we need and want to see in the world. If you want to be part of this change but don’t know what to do – here are a few simple suggestions connected to the racing experience:
Say “No thanks” to stuff you don’t really want or need. That racing vest for example. It can be designed to be reused. The goodie-bag packed with sometimes-less-than-useful stuff from sponsors? The finisher T-shirt you have no intention of using? The medal that will collect dust somewhere? You get the point. Saying “No thanks” to stuff sends a clear signal to organizers that it’s time to rethink. A little bonus is that if organizers can’t hand out sometimes-less-than-useful stuff, they need to take care of it somehow. This can lead to the realization that more stuff isn’t necessarily better.
Ask questions! Ask organizers and exhibitors about their sustainability work? What are they doing to ensure climate-friendly racing? Why are doing certain things in certain ways?
And if you’re going to ask questions you might as well also give suggestions. What have you seen work really well in terms of sustainability at other races? We are all in the same boat when it comes to doing good for our home planet, and therefore we should share freely when we have solutions that work.
We’re trying to share everything we do because in doing so we believe we can learn from each other and speed up the transition from A-to-B. If you are an organizer you’re welcome to “borrow” ideas from us and we’d be happy to have a chat with you! If you see that we are missing something or could improve our sustainability – please let us know!