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Sustainable Olympic Games are here to stay

Sustainable Olympic Games are here to stay
©IOC/Greg Martin

04/08/2012

Sustainability is one of the key legacies that organisers of an Olympic Games strive to achieve, and there is a large support network put in place by the IOC to help fulfill this.

Environmental preservation and enhancement are key factors that fall under the sustainability umbrella and the IOC has been working closely with LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) to ensure that the 2012 Games are held in conditions that demonstrate responsible concern and respect for the environment.

Over the last two decades the environmental element of the bidding and delivery processes has really come to the fore. London 2012 is the first summer Games to formally adopt “triple-bottom” line sustainability management frameworks from the start, reflecting the IOC's three spheres of sustainability - environment, social and economic.

Even during the application stage to become a Candidate City, the environmental and sustainable development guiding principles and requirements were outlined in the procedure and questionnaire documentation.

For the London 2012 bid, LOCOG worked in partnership with BioRegional and the WWF to establish the concept “Towards a One Planet Olympics”. The principles of this concept were taken forward in the form of the London 2012 Sustainability Plan, which is structured around five sustainability themes: climate change, waste, biodiversity, inclusion and healthy living. They provide London 2012 with the framework for delivering truly sustainable Games and have been integrated into the three delivery phases of construction, staging and post-Games legacy.

Once elected, the IOC Coordination Commission provided London with assistance and guidance in its preparations, and this included in the field of sustainability. LOCOG has always consulted with local and national authorities, with the support of UNEP, to ensure that the Games’ sustainability plan is aligned with London's long-term strategy for improving the environment of the city.

Some of LOCOG’s 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 in history. Steps were also taken to ensure the greening of the supply chain and to bring energy efficiency measures to local homes.

In addition, London 2012 is the first Olympic Games to measure its carbon footprint over the entire project term, while it is has also committed to a Zero Waste to landfill target through the strategic Zero Waste Games Vision.

LOCOG has also been participating in the IOC's Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) transfer programme, an intitative that ensures that the sustainability lessons learned in London are passed onto Rio de Janeiro and other future host cities. Meanwhile, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) event sector supplement, published last year in conjunction with the IOC, offers a standardised framework for sustainability reporting. A guidance tool for current and future event organisers, it aims to ensure that sustainability reporting covers all relevant issues.

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