Like any activity, sport has an impact on the environment as well as being affected by it. Today’s 2012 World Environment Day (WED), initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), provides a good opportunity to remember that sport and the environment are deeply interlinked and need to be addressed jointly. Whilst the sports world can play an important role in safeguarding the environment, a degraded environment can have a negative impact on sport, the Olympic Games and, most importantly, the athletes. Accordingly, sport and the environment have become a full-time activity area, with initiatives and projects implemented worldwide.
Green economy includes sport
This year, WED turns 40, and most of UNEP’s celebrations will take place in Rio de Janeiro, host of the upcoming Rio +20 Conference and the Olympic Games in 2016, under the theme of "Green Economy: Does it include you?". The Olympic Movement is proud to be part of this global movement for sustainability and contributes to the greening of economies through the organisation of the Olympic Games that can function as a major asset for cities and communities to maintain and restore land, soil, forest, freshwater, wild fauna and flora, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems.
London 2012 leads on sustainability
Sustainability has been a key consideration for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) since London started to bid for the Games. The Games will start in less than two months’ time. Major achievements include the creation of the Olympic Park, which is the largest new urban parkland in Europe for 150 years, and the construction of the Olympic Stadium, which is the most sustainable Olympic stadium in history and has been completed on time, on budget and to high sustainability standards. In addition, London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games to measure its carbon footprint over the entire project term, and is also the first Games to commit to a zero waste to landfill target through the strategic Zero Waste Games Vision. In 2011, LOCOG also became the first Games Organising Committee to be independently certified to the British Standard 8901: Specification for a Sustainability Management System for Events.
Sport partners with UNEP
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, has recently praised the sustainability measures taken by LOCOG which underline the IOC’s commitment to the environment. He said: “I witnessed the thoughtful approach to bringing sustainability issues into the planning and development of a mass scale event. Efforts such as the greening of the supply chain, regeneration of an inner city area and bringing energy efficiency measures to local homes, can build the confidence to wider society that sustainability is not theory but infinitely do-able with the policies and technologies available today not tomorrow.”
IOC to join in Rio +20
The IOC will also observe the Rio +20 summit at the end of the month and organise a side event on 19 June to demonstrate its commitment, illustrate best practice and foster partnerships between the various parties involved.
Learn more about World Environment Day here
Learn more about London 2012 sustainability action here