Is Paris Marathon the Greenest Big City Marathon in the World?

Most races are taking some steps now to limit their impact on the environment, whether that’s getting rid of plastic cups or bottles or becoming more effective at recycling waste from the event. But few events are quite so transparent about the objectives and their results as the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, who are now three years into an initiative to really make a difference. We take a look at some of their actions and how well they are working.

Since 2017, the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon has been committed to taking tangible actions to confirm its sustainable approach among runners, climate ambassadors, its partners, the city of Paris and the planet.

The environment, social and societal actions, the economy and good governance practices are at the heart of its thinking and development.

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) results from last year’s race in 2019 highlight some key achievements made. The Schneider Electric Paris Marathon became the first carbon-neutral marathon in the world. They attained their goal of offsetting all carbon emissions generated by the race, which was estimated at 25,000 tonnes of CO2. 94% of these emissions are the result of marathon runners travelling to Paris by plane or by car, with the remaining 6% coming from the logistics of the event. The marathon organisers use only electric cars out on the course.

The event’s positive outcome also showed a 30% reduction of total waste produced by the event, 67% of the waste produced was recycled and 100% of organic waste was recycled. The amount of textiles collected at the start and recycled also increased by 360% between 2017 and 2019. In addition, 100% of undistributed food was donated to the Restos du Coeur food bank charity and to Chainon Manqueant.

Analysis of the results also showed increased participation of female runners. Thanks to the launch of support programmes and Facebook groups such as “Paris Marathon Girls“, women made up 27% of the field. This represents a modest 2% since 2017, but they plan to have 30% of women in the field for 2020. Still a way to go for more even levels of representation though.

For 2020, the event has a commitment to:

-A positive carbon footprint
-Shared energies
-Victories to perpetuate
-A new dynamic working to combine sport and sustainable development!

Registration for the next edition of the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon is now open on Time To. The race will take place on 5th April 2020.

For more information please visit:

Read more about their integrated approach to sustainability here:

Of course, many other big city marathons are very advanced in this area too. Read about what the Virgin Money London Marathon does to limit its environmental impact.

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