The third International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sustainability Report indicates that the IOC has achieved 15 of its 18 sustainability goals for the period 2017-2020, raising its ambition to combat climate change and helping to integrate sustainability into the entire Olympic Movement.
The 2021 IOC Sustainability Report also reveals the organization’s 17 new goals for 2021-2024, focusing on climate, biodiversity and the circular economy, and advancing sustainability across the Olympic Movement.
Highlights of the 2017-2020 goals achieved include:
The IOC as an organization
• Completion of the new IOC headquarters, Olympic House, as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world
• Achievement of carbon neutrality for the period 2017-2020, thanks to the global carbon mitigation program IOC-Dow
The IOC as owner of the Olympic Games
• Ensure that sustainability is addressed as a strategic topic with cities from the early stages of the future hosting process.
• Reinforce sustainability commitments in the host contract, including for all future editions of the Games to be carbon neutral and climate positive from 2030
The IOC as the leader of the Olympic Movement
• Co-initiate and lead the implementation of the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework
• Ensuring the exchange of information and best practices among Olympic Movement stakeholders
In the foreword to the report, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chairman of the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission, writes: “We can confidently say that sustainability is now firmly entrenched as a priority executive within the CIO, and this philosophy is reflected in our business habits. work, our focus on ensuring a sustainable Olympic Games and how we engage with the broader Olympic Movement.”
Facing the climate crisis
The report goes on to say that while COVID-19 has been the most disruptive factor affecting the IOC, notably through the postponement of Tokyo 2020, the rapidly accelerating climate crisis is likely to pose one of the greatest challenges for the IOC. ‘to come up.
After achieving carbon neutrality for the period 2017-2020, the IOC has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and becoming climate positive by the end of 2024. This means that it will remove more carbon from the air than it emits. From 2030, all Olympic Games must also be climate positive.
The creation of an Olympic forest as part of the Great Green Wall of Africa is an integral part of the IOC’s positive climate commitment, while the 2019 opening of the new IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland – which has been certified as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world – was another highlight.
The UN Framework for Action on Sport for Climate, co-launched in 2018 by the IOC and UN Climate Change, has so far garnered nearly 300 signatories. UN Climate Change is now calling on them to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040. The IOC continues to lead the implementation of the framework.
Integration of sustainability
To facilitate its sustainability work, the IOC recently integrated the themes of sustainability, legacy, gender equality and inclusiveness, and human rights into a single development department. sustainable and enterprise.
Sustainability has also been further integrated into the selection process for future hosts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Olympic Games Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 place sustainability at the center of their Games concepts.
To advance information sharing in the world of sport, the IOC has produced a series of guidance documents on topics such as carbon footprint, sustainable sourcing and biodiversity. Aimed at Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), these resources represent a valuable open source information tool for the sports sector at large. The IOC also supported the World Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in launching the Sustainability.Sport platform, which is intended to be used as a library by sports organisations.
A growing number of IFs now have a public strategic commitment to sustainability, and more are working with the IOC to develop strategy. Going forward, the IOC will continue its work in guiding and supporting IFs in the development of their sustainability strategies.
Looking ahead: IOC Sustainable Development Goals 2021-2024
COI: carbon reduction and the Olympic forest
Of the 17 new goals, four relate to the IOC as an organization and cover carbon emissions, the Olympic forest, sustainable sourcing and IOC staff training. They include work on reducing IOC CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, with a 30% reduction by 2024; and the creation of an Olympic Forest to support the IOC’s positive climate commitment, while providing long-term social and biodiversity benefits to communities in Mali and Senegal.
Olympics: Climate positive games and “ban” in protected areas
There are five goals for the Olympics, which focus on climate, biodiversity, human rights and sustainable tourism. These include assisting and accelerating the transition to a climate-friendly Olympic Games, and requiring that no permanent Olympic construction occurs in statutory protected natural and cultural areas or World Heritage sites in UNESCO.
Olympic Movement: Sustainability Strategies and Athlete Empowerment
The eight objectives of the IOC’s role as leader of the Olympic Movement include working with IFs to put in place a sustainability strategy by 2024; support IFs and NOCs to join the UN Sport for Climate Action framework; and working with athletes and other role models in the sports world to raise awareness of sustainability.
Main image credit: CIO.
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