On World Environment Day, the Olympic Movement celebrates one year of action against plastic waste
World Environment Day 2019 marks one year since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) joined UN Environment’s #CleanSeas initiative to beat plastic waste and called on the Olympic Movement to come on board.
Since then, 11 International Sports Federations (IFs), four National Olympic Committees (NOCs), three of the IOC’s commercial partners and the Japanese town of Ichinomiya – host of the Tokyo 2020 surfing competitions – have joined the initiative. Here are some examples of how we are turning our commitments into action.
The International Volleyball Federation, together with the Ghost Fishing Foundation, has launched the Good Net project. The project involves recovering fishing nets from the ocean and turning them into volleyball nets for community use.
At the 2018 Youth World Sailing Championships, World Sailing replaced around 100,000 single-use plastic straws, bottles, flag posts and packaging with reusable alternatives, and are planning to do so at their future events.
The International Triathlon Union, together with the Japan Triathlon Union and the city of Yokohama – host of the 2018 World Triathlon Series – organised clean-ups of the port of Yokohama. They also recreated the natural environment in the port needed for shellfish and other sea life to thrive.
The International Surfing Association organised beach clean-ups and eliminated single-use plastic water bottles at the World Junior Surfing Championship in Huntington beach, USA.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has eliminated all single-use plastic from its headquarters, avoiding the use of 171 kg of plastic. It is also using recycled plastic banners to produce a new, sustainable line of promotional products.
Local golf clubs around the world are also taking action for Clean Seas. For example, the International Golf Federation, working with the GEO Foundation, provided members and guests at the Golf Le Fronde in Italy with reusable metal bottles and free drinking stations. This has helped avoid the use of more than one million single-use plastic bottles since 2013.
In support of the Clean Seas initiative, two-time Olympian Mike Dawson completed the first-ever descent of Africa’s most treacherous river the Kwanza, raising awareness about the issue of plastic waste in Africa and around the world.
World Rugby has undertaken a variety of actions to reuse and recycle plastic and other waste, including a comprehensive global uniform reuse programme.
The Spanish Olympic Committee has eliminated all single-use plastic water bottles from its headquarters and replaced them with reusable ones.
Worldwide Olympic Partner Dow, together with the Ocean Conservancy, has launched the #pullingourweight campaign. It resulted in 55 beach clean-ups with more than 5,600 participants who have removed over 26 tonnes of rubbish to date.
Worldwide Olympic Partner Procter & Gamble is using recycled beach plastic for its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand. Over 1 million bottles have been sold since 2017 in over 10 countries.
The IOC has eliminated single-use plastic water bottles from its offices. This represented 80,000 plastic bottles per year. Plastic waste from the construction of its new headquarters Olympic House, has been recycled.
At the Olympic Museum café, all single-use plastic bags have been replaced by paper ones. Cutlery for take-aways is now made of compostable materials.
Sustainability is one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. The IOC is working to ensure that sustainability principles are embedded across all its operations – as an organisation, as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.
The IOC will continue to work closely with IFs, NOCs, commercial partners, athletes and other Olympic Movement stakeholders to encourage them to join the initiative and help them turn their commitments into action.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, the IOC will be inaugurating its new headquarters – Olympic House – on 23 June 2019, Olympic Day. The building is a privately-funded investment in sustainability, operational efficiency and local economy and development. It is on track to receiving the highest Swiss and international sustainability certifications.