The IOC is committed to building a sustainable future by working with partners and major groups and driving a global framework for action. The Olympic Games have delivered innovations that in some cases have mainstreamed the development of environmental management systems related to event planning and staging; innovations in design and construction; improvements in energy, water and waste management; more efficient transport infrastructure; and ethical supply chains.
Sport presents broad opportunities to promote sustainability awareness, capacity building and far-reaching actions for environmental, social and economic development across society. It also can be a means of achieving peace and reconciliation as a fundamental prerequisite for sustainability principles to be shared and applied. Here the Olympic Movement plays a key role.
In considering sustainable development through Olympic Movement stakeholders such as the International Federations (IFs), National Federations (NFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games Organising Committees, corporate sponsors, the media, non-governmental organisations and the public at large, the IOC is well positioned to help build a sustainable future by encouraging a renewal of political commitment, working with major groups and building a global framework for action.
"The IOC's role is…to encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport and to require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly…"Olympic Charter
Today sustainability is an essential part of any modern Olympic Games project. This has been an increasingly important theme since the early 2000s and is a central concept in the Olympic Agenda 2020 initiative.
Sport is the driver for the Olympic project and it is the focus of the world for the duration of the Games. However, for the seven years of preparation following the election of the host city, and for many years beyond, the story is about the city, the country and its people. People expect the Games to be a catalyst for lasting change—a change that ranges far beyond sport performance and facilities.
It is for this reason that the past decade has seen the IOC develop tools, services and human capacity to assist the Olympic Games organisers embed sustainability in the planning and staging of their Olympic Games and ensure that the Olympic Games create change that is sustainable and aligned with the city’s long-term vision.
Olympic Agenda 2020 reinforced the IOC’s commitment to sustainability by introducing a new philosophy in the bidding procedure; building sustainability into the IOC’s procurement of goods and services; and embedding sustainability into all aspects of the Games and the IOC’s daily operations. The changes include requiring the IOC Evaluation Commission to offer a more explicit explanation of opportunities and risks related to sustainability when assessing potential host cities.
A series of events in 2014 demonstrated the practical benefits of the IOC’s focus on contributing to sustainability and a greener future.
• The Alliance to Save Energy awarded the Olympic Movement with the 2014 International Star Award for Energy Efficiency. The award recognises the Olympic Movement’s ongoing efforts to manage the carbon footprint associated with hosting and organising the Games.
• Rio 2016 and Worldwide TOP Partner Dow announced the most comprehensive carbon programme in Olympic Games history. As the Official Carbon Partner of Rio 2016, Dow will mitigate 500,000 tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2 eq) through third party-verified emissions reductions. Dow and Rio 2016 will also work to generate an additional 1.5 million tons of CO2 eq in climate benefits by 2026, addressing other Games-related emissions.
• The IOC played a key role at the first ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
Finally, as part of the ongoing implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has created a new Department for Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability and is increasing efforts to include sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations.