The International Olympic Committee regularly encourages Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to look closely at sustainable development during preparations for the Games and, thanks to the efforts of Sochi 2014, a wide range of environmental programmes, initiatives and standards have now been promoted across Russia.
In March 2013, for instance, Russia’s first national standard for environmental construction came into force, which is a legacy of the Games preparations in Sochi.
The construction of facilities across the country will now be conducted in accordance with these modern environmental requirements, aimed at reducing the consumption of energy resources and reducing harmful effects on the environment.
The international sustainability assessment standard for buildings, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), has also been incorporated into the construction of Olympic venues in Sochi, ensuring the use of innovative technology for the collection, recycling and reuse of waste, with construction also utilising environmentally friendly materials.
"We have done a lot,” explains Oleg Kharchenko, the chief architect in charge of Olympic venue construction. “There is not a place in Russia with so many buildings that follow all the requirements of international environmental standards."
The Sochi 2014 Organising Committee has also worked closely with leading international experts in the area of environmental protection, such as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), to ensure the restoration of the unique ecosystem of the Olympic construction area following the Games, including the Mzymta river basin.
"Any construction site incurs certain damage to the environment, however the impact to the environment is compensated for and now this process is carefully managed and being monitored,” explains Danila Ovcharov, Sochi 2014 head of sustainability and the environment. "The UN environment programme is also participating in this and there is a plan for the re-cultivation of the Mzymta valley up to 2030."
According to Sochi 2014 President and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko, the restoration of these unique ecosystems – and the creation of green construction standards in Russia – will be a key legacy of the Games.
“International expertise in ecology is a unique asset to the Sochi 2014 Games legacy,” he says. “In Russia, where the ‘green standards’ practice has recently been introduced, the analysis and evolving of this into a reality of the leading international experience in restoring the complicated ecosystems is incredibly important. The recommendations of these independent ecologists are extremely important for the creation of a unique ecological legacy of the Sochi 2014 Games, which will continue to be maintained long after the Games are complete.”