The Council for Responsible Sport has, for the past 15 years, set sustainability standards and offered environmental and social sustainability certification to sports events, with a significant focus on endurance and road racing. In 2019, executive director Shelley Villalobos, the Council’s board as well as leaders from Council-certified events began to have conversations about simplifying the certification process.
ReScore, a cloud-based app which the Council launched in February, is the result.
GreenSportsBlog spoke with Villalobos recently about the process that led to ReScore and how it will make addressing sustainability easier for event managers.
“I’ve been more into this than anything in my career.”
So enthused Shelley Villalobos, executive director of The Council for Responsible Sport.
Shelley Villalobos (Photo credit: Council for Responsible Sport)
The this is the development and launch of ReScore, the new cloud-based app that promises to make measurement and reporting against the Council’s ‘Responsible Sport Standards’ of good practice in social and environmental responsibility much simpler and smoother for event managers.
The desired result: Many more event managers will decide to:
- Adopt the Responsible Sport Standards as a comprehensive social and environmental responsibility approach,
- Use ReScore to measure and track their sustainability efforts and eventually,
- Become Responsible Sport Certified.
“Going back to 2019 and for several years prior, we had been hearing from event managers that applying for Responsible Sport certification could be complex and time consuming,” Villalobos shared. “There were three parties involved: The Council, consultants who would often compile and collate the data, and the event managers. We were using Dropbox and Excel spreadsheets. It was cumbersome.”
So, in the summer of 2019, Villalobos and the board began to discuss how to best streamline the certification process. Then the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the global event business.
“COVID gave us the time to dive in deeply on the certification process,” she recalled. “We began to build out a standard collection for organizations hosting many events, in addition to the single event standard. For example, Ragnar Relays, an international organization that hosts dozens of events, had had their individual races certified as responsible. But for a group hosting events all the time, doing one-off certifications was a lot of work. It makes more sense for them to take the organizational approach and measurements.”
So, as of August 2021, organizations can report against the ‘Responsible Sport Standards for Organizations’ and upon verification that they’ve implemented enough good practice criteria within the standard, can become a Responsible Sport Certified organization or venue.
“Now that we have two standards for responsible sports — events and organizations — we needed an easy way for people to track, report and verify a variety of metrics at their own pace,” Villalobos asserted. “Key to making this happen was our partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) stepping up to bring technical expertise. They provided volunteers who spent many hundreds of hours — developing what would become ReScore, short for “Sport’s Responsibility Scorecard.”
Here’s how simple it is:
- A manager creates a project for either a single event or an organization, which directs the user to the appropriate set of standards (see image below). S/he enters data and evidence about their social and environmental activities (plans, policies, programs, photos, performance results) on ReScore
- S/he claims points for the standards they’ve met or implemented, while accessing on-demand resources like an event carbon emissions tracker, a ‘Responsible Sport Catalog’ and examples from other events about how they’ve met the standards
- An approved independent third-party consultant verifies the data, only if the project is pursuing certification.
And that’s it.
Which is a good thing because there are a lot of potential data.
“ReScore takes applicants through a scorecard of five categories — (1) Planning and Communications (2) Procurement (3) Resource Management (4) Access & Equity (5) Community Legacy,” Villalobos reported. “For single events there are 50 standards of good practice and 61 total possible points; for responsible organizations there are 97 standards of good practice and 314 total points possible in the scorecard.”
The app spits out a pie chart for each category that shows where the applicant is and is not meeting the standards, making it easy to seewhat needs doing to attain different levels of certification — Certified, Silver, Gold, and Evergreen.
Thanks to TCS’ generosity, the Council is offering ReScore for free to all sports organizations. Their hope is that ReScore’s simple user interface paired with the industry vetted standards can drive significantly greater measurement of sustainability data by sports teams, venues, and event producers, and that, over time, they will step up their sustainability games.
“Sports teams and event managers are ‘culture curators,” offered Villalobos. “They help shape society with their platforms and decisions on how they use them. That means they have a tremendous responsibility to lead by example on sustainability, both environmental and social. Because they have the power to influence millions of fans.”
The Council is excited about the initial reaction to ReScore, which launched in February.
“We shared ReScore at the Running USA conference in Orlando in March and got a great response, ” Villalobos said. “This summer’s World Athletics Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon is using ReScore, as are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, New York Road Runners, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (also known as “Jazz Fest”) and Chicago Event Management, which produces the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, among others.
ReScore marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Council for Responsible Sport. The organization and TCS are already working on version 2.0. It will allow sports event organizers to generate their own sustainability reports on demand, with the option to have them verified to earn official Responsible Sport Certification for a fee.
“We’re on track to have 200 ReScore users across several dozen event organizations by the end of 2022,” projects Villalobos. “We’re really happy to be able to remove the cost barrier to ensure access to the tools ReScore provides for less-resourced event organizations. We want to see responsible sport become the norm – because when that’s true, sports hosts will be using their platforms to more purposefully contribute to fulfilling the global goals for sustainable development, we’ll have literally millions of tons of climate changing emissions under management and mitigation strategies, and we’ll have a much higher level of both action and accountability in a sector that often benefits from the benign neglect of governing agencies, but which has huge cultural influence and responsibility.”