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 February 12, 2009
The Sustainable Olympics - One Year to Go

 GLOBE-Net - As every Olympian knows, it’s not easy being Gold, Silver or Bronze. It’s not easy being Green either; but one year from today the first truly sustainable Olympic Games will open, and if all goes well, Canada will get top marks for delivering on the promise it made years ago to stage an event that manages the social, economic and environmental impacts and opportunities of the Games to produce lasting benefits, locally and globally. The 2010 Winter Games will also feature an unprecedented level of Aboriginal participation in the planning and hosting of an Olympic event.

International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, together with Canada’s minister for sport, Gary Lunn and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell were on hand today in Whistler for the unveiling of the 2010 Olympic Torch and Torchbearer uniform. They were joined by the two first torchbearers selected by Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola and the Royal Bank of Canada, Patricia Moreno and Caleb Taylor.  

The Sustainable Olympics

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC) has set out six corporate-wide sustainability performance objectives based on its winning bid commitments, the best management practices of other Organizing Committees and leading sustainability firms, and from input from sustainability experts, key partners and stakeholders. The six objectives relate to:

  1. Accountability
  2. Environmental Stewardship and Impact Reduction
  3. Social Inclusion and Responsibility
  4. Aboriginal Participation and Collaboration
  5. Economic Benefits
  6. Sport for Sustainable Living

 A notable feature of the Environmental Stewardship and Impact Reduction goal involves designing and building the physical venues where the games will unfold. Through smart site selection, venue design and sustainable procurement, VANOC is raising the bar on "eco-efficiency" operations. By minimizing consumption of energy, water and construction materials and minimizing waste and emissions, the games organizers are seeking to eliminate negative environmental impacts. Those that cannot be avoided will be rehabilitated or offset.

More details on the sustainability attributes of all 2010 venues, villages and facilities are available for download.  

With the exception of the Athletes Village in Vancouver, which is still under construction, virtually all the games venues are ready or nearing completion today. More elaborate celebrations to mark the one year to opening milestone today took place in the breathtaking speed skating oval in Richmond B.C., which likely will emerge as the signature image of the 2010 games.

The giant arches that support a sweeping six-acre roof rising 100 metres over the ice will be a fitting venue not only to recognize the victories of the Olympians as they mount the winners podium, but also to signal that organizers of the 2010 Games have set a new standard for green facilities design. See article: Soaring Roof Highlights Progress Towards 2010.

Over the next 12 months GLOBE-Net will provide regular insights on various aspects of the sustainable 2010 Games. More immediately, insights on how to stage large scale sustainable events such as this will be provided when leaders in the sporting world gather in Vancouver in March for the 8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment (WCSE).

Organized by GLOBE Events on behalf of the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme, WCSE will provide an opportunity for those who are looking for solutions to the environmental challenges posed by large scale sporting events to hear first hand from global sporting organizations, architects, community planners, Olympic athletes and corporate leaders on how sport can positively impact the environment.

As noted in a news release from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) last week concerning the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), an initiative to promote global action and involvement towards low-carbon economies and societies, the Olympic motto used to be "Swifter, Higher, Stronger" but in the future it may well include "lower" - at least as it relates to carbon and curbing climate change.

Under the main theme of Innovation and Inspiration - Harnessing the Power of Sport for Change, the 2009 World Conference on Sport and the Environment (WCSE), held in Vancouver March 29-31, will focus on two tracks: Sport for Environmental Solutions and Sport for Sustainable Living.  More information is available by clicking on the banner below.