Ready, Steady, Go: How Running Can Help Save the Planet

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12th September, 2019

Wildfires, floodings, hurricanes: the critical consequences of global warming across the planet are impossible to ignore. But it’s not always easy finding the best way to take action and make a difference when it comes to raising environmental awareness.

This, however, is something that Mitsubishi Electric takes very seriously – as reflected in its innovative initiative Run for Eco, a running event which helps participants make a positive difference to the planet with a minimal amount of effort – while placing environmental preservation firmly in the spotlight.

Call to Action

PM2.5 – an increasingly familiar term in recent years, entering into the collective conscious of many. But one could say that China’s big city-dwellers know the term best.

For those less familiar, PM stands for "particulate matter" – an airborne pollutant that dangerously obstructs visibility and causes serious damage to the human body over time.

Out of a firm dedication to protecting the environment, Mitsubishi Electric has decided to turn a healthy activity – running – into a weapon to combat this growing environmental and health menace.

The allure of running isn’t just in its health benefits. Running doesn’t require years of training or great athletic skill; it’s also extremely beginner-friendly because it doesn’t require expensive equipment. The accessibility it affords make it a perfect match for Mitsubishi Electric’s Run for Eco project.

Run for Eco unfolds in two different parts: a physical run where participants join by lottery selection together with two online games where anyone can play along. By participating, runners are awarded "eco points" – converted into a monetary amount that Mitsubishi Electric donates to the China Environmental Protection Foundation.

Smart Running

In the 2019 Run for Eco held on March 23 at Century Park in Shanghai, participants in both the physical race and the online games collectively gathered eco points totaling to 151,225 Chinese yuan (about 22,000 U.S. dollars) – the sum that Mitsubishi Electric ended up donating.

Runners accumulated points based on the distance they ran, measured by chips attached to each runner’s shoe. Donations went to a number of avenues: including planting trees to combat pollution.

The first Run for Eco took place in 2015, and since then the affair has seen a yearly growth in its runner participation. For the 2019 race, around 80% of the available slots for runners were filled within the first week of applications.

Senior Chief of Mitsubishi Electric China’s Public Relations Department Lu Beiyu remarked proudly that at last year’s Run for Eco, many of the participating runners were repeat visitors. "The number of people who truly understand, love, and take part in this event every year is growing. And I think that’s fantastic," she says with a smile.

Beiyu also recalls an elderly gentleman at a previous Run for Eco who ran three full laps, motivated to contribute as much as he could to help the environment. "The efforts of those who think seriously about the environment and ran as far as they could have manifested in the form of trees." She continued, "We planted some trees in Shangri-La, and I went back some time later to have a look. I was surprised and thrilled to see how much they’d grown. It’s on its way to becoming a forest!"

Green Leader

Eco Changes for a Greener Tomorrow – this is Mitsubishi Electric’s environmental mission statement, and it encapsulates the firm’s ambition to becoming a leader among enterprises in taking green-focused initiatives.

But the key to true and sustainable change lies at both the micro and macro level – at the micro level with individuals, and at the macro level with corporate involvement. Endeavors like this help empower individuals to remember that the simplest actions can make a real impact on our future.

Chief Representative of Mitsubishi Electric China Katsuyuki Tomizawa echoed this sentiment in his closing remarks at the 2019 Run for Eco. He says, "The number of applicants reached an all-time high in only half a month. This reflects how everyone has a deep awareness into the importance of environmental preservation. We’re thrilled that so many partners are participating."

Providing solutions and products in China and around the globe in response to energy and environmental issues is an effort of paramount importance. But as Tomizawa reminds us, Run for Eco is not simply a matter of Mitsubishi Electric providing a solution. He notes, "Each participant’s contribution is an invaluable contribution to help protect the environment. I would like to extend our thanks to each and every runner for their steps and spirit."

The content is true and accurate as of the time of publication.Information related to products and services included in this article may differ by country or region.

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