The first plastic free sporting event in Fiji and potentially the Oceania region has received international recognition for its efforts to reduce waste generated at a sports tournament.

The inaugural Raka 7s Rugby Tournament which attracted 64 men and 16 women’s club teams from the Oceania region in 2017 was recently announced as the Innovator of the Year by the global Green Sports Alliance for its efforts to significantly reduce the amount of single use plastic waste generated at the two day tournament that was held in Suva.

Raka 7s Rugby Tournament sustainability coordinator Dwain Qalovaki said this international recognition for sustainability efforts is a powerful symbol for creating linkages between sports, progressive corporate sponsorship and protecting our natural environment in the Oceania region.

In the lead up to the 24 – 25 November, 2017 event, the organizing committee conducted a waste audit to ensure that food vendors and event partners made efforts to ensure that single use plastic products were reduced where possible resulting in a significant drop in waste generated during the two-day tournament.

“In receiving this international award, it is important to recognize the event organizers Kinton International Group Limited for setting the benchmark in Fiji on how corporate organizations practice sustainability internally and with their sponsorship funds by ensuring that the Raka 7s Rugby Tournament had a well thought out waste management plan”, said Mr. Qalovaki.

The Raka 7s Rugby Tournament organizing committee also acknowledges the outreach and awareness contributions at the two-day event by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Mission Pacific, Live and Learn, WWF Pacific Volunteers as well as the Fijian Ministry of Environment and Fiji Rugby Union.

Now in its seventh year, the global Green Sports Alliance awards recognize and applaud the best in sports and sustainability, and those individuals that are leading the sports greening movement.  The official award presentation for the global Green Sports Alliance awards will take place on 26th June at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, USA.

The 2018 Raka 7s Rugby Tournament will be held on November 30 – 1 December at the ANZ national stadium in Suva and is earmarked to attract a record number of men and women’s teams from across the Oceania region as well as enhancing its program on waste management.

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