A pack of female elite runners
The lead runners and pace runners competing in the rain in the Elite Women's Race. Sunday 4 October 2020. Photo: Thomas Lovelock for Virgin Money London Marathon

London Marathon Events (LME) has contracted CUR8, the carbon removals market maker, to help remove the carbon emissions generated from its events. Carbon removal is the process of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it away, empowering organisations to take responsibility for the carbon emissions they cannot yet eradicate from operations. CUR8 will remove more than 280 tonnes of carbon in 2023 and LME will continue to use carbon removals in 2024 and beyond as part of its commitment to achieving Net Zero. As a signatory to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework, London Marathon Events has committed to achieving Net Zero by 2040 but is looking to accelerate that target to 2030

LME is shifting from a model of offsetting to one of removals for climate mitigation to align with the legal and scientific definition of Net Zero, which requires organisations to physically remove those emissions that cannot be eliminated from operations.

Following market research, LME selected CUR8 for this project because of its strong team credentials and scientifically rigorous carbon removals portfolio.

LME organises world-leading mass participation events including the TCS London Marathon, Brighton Marathon Weekend, Ford RideLondon, Swim Serpentine, The Big Half, Vitality Westminster Mile and Vitality London 10,000.

In September, the 2023 TCS London Marathon became the first major UK mass participation event to be awarded Gold certification by the Council for Responsible Sport in recognition of its work on environmental and social impact initiatives.

In recent years, LME has introduced a number of sustainability initiatives, including using electric vehicles, generators powered by HVO, closed-loop recycling and partnering with Trees not Tees to offer participants the ability to plant a tree instead of receiving a t-shirt. LME also collects a £26 climate levy fee from all international participants in the TCS London Marathon, which will now be invested in carbon removals through CUR8.

Kate Chapman, Head of Sustainability for London Marathon Events, said: “We are committed to both inspiring activity and also innovation in mass participation event sustainability, a cause important to both our participants and our aims as a company. As a part of our commitment to sustainability, we have reached this landmark moment of partnering with CUR8 and for the first time will now be able to remove some of the carbon dioxide emissions from our events, with an aim of increasing the amount we remove in 2024. This work is critical in achieving our Net Zero goals.”

Mark Stevenson, co-founder and chief impact officer at CUR8, said: “We’re delighted to be working with London Marathon Events. Under the leadership of Kate Chapman, their Head of Sustainability, LME has made great progress in reducing the environmental impact of events – and has publicly committed to do so much more. As with our work in the music industry, the cultural power of sport has an important job to do in demonstrating and normalising a genuine pathway to Net Zero – deep emissions cuts partnered with durable carbon removals for residual emissions. In time, we believe the world will expect and prefer cultural events that don’t harm the atmosphere.”