UNEP Executive Director Praises London 2012's Sustainability Measures

London, 26 April 2012 - Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, praised London 2012 as a shining example of a sustainable major sporting event as he visited the Olympic Park in East London.

The visit came as the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) launched its pre-games sustainability report, which covers the sustainability performance of London 2012 as it prepares for its Olympic and Paralympic programme in July and August.

Steiner was given a detailed tour by LOCOG's Head of Sustainability David Stubbs and the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA's) Director of Venues and Infrastructure Simon Wright, and said he was impressed by London 2012's efforts.

"What we have seen is that the London 2012 organizers have been systematic and thoughtful in planning and implementing a sustainable approach to this major sporting event," Mr. Steiner said. "This approach has also shown it can serve as a catalyst for corporate partners to take a more sustainable view-for example, a major soft drinks company has now been inspired to set up a recycling centre."

"We look forward to learning with and from London 2012, and working with the organizing committee to take forward important lessons that can be handed on to future major sporting events-assisting to demonstrate that the solutions and pathways towards a Green Economy are not theoretical, but infinitely do-able with the policies and technologies available today," he added.

UNEP has a longstanding collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the greening of the Games that spans Athens 2004, Torino 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.

UNEP has been invited by the Russian government and the Organizing Committee of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games to provide guidance on the integration of environmental considerations in the preparation and staging of the games, and has so far conducted six expert missions to Moscow and Sochi.

Since winning the bid in July 2005, London 2012 has placed a strong focus on sustainability measures, and Mr. Stubbs hailed the report as proof of the success of the project.

"The complexities of trying to address sustainability in areas that have never been considered before was a constant challenge but we are thrilled with the outcome of our programme," Mr. Stubbs said.

"Achieving the BS 8901 standard (a British standard for Sustainable Event Management) and an 'A rating' for our report are real demonstrations of our commitment and success in delivering sustainability across all the areas that matter to our stakeholders," he added.

Some highlights of the report are:

  • The Olympic park is the largest new urban parkland in Europe for 150 years. The cleaned up and re-profiled river valley, once contaminated industrial land, provides both new wildlife habitats and significant flood alleviation
  • The most-sustainable Olympic and Paralympic stadium in history has been completed on time, to budget and to high sustainability standards
  • London 2012 is the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to measure its carbon footprint over the entire project term. A 50% reduction in carbon emissions for the built-in environment has been exceeded*
  • London 2012 is the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to commit to a Zero Waste to landfill target through the strategic Zero Waste Games Vision. The ODA reused or recycled over 98 per cent of waste in the demolition phase, and 99 per cent in construction of the Olympic Park
  • London 2012 has pledged to deliver a public transport games, targeting one million extra walking and cycling journeys in London every day of the games

The report was one of the first to adopt the Organizers Sector Supplement developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an organization co-founded by UNEP. The supplement was developed in partnership with London 2012, the IOC and other stakeholders. London 2012 was this week awarded application level "A", the highest of the GRI's six possible levels of compliance.

Notes to editors:

*The achievement to exceed the 50% reduction in carbon emissions for the built environment by 2013 (representing the post-Games operational carbon footprint of the venues).

For More Information Please Contact: Nick Nuttall, Acting Director UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information/UNEP Spokesperson, on Tel: +254 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org


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