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Green Score Card for Winter Olympics


Final Green Score Card for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games Launched

Architects to Energy Experts and Motorcyclists to Water Skiers Meet to Chart Next Steps towards Sustainable Sports Events

Lausanne/Nairobi, 30 November 2006 - Close to 70 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the 2006 Winter Olympics have been offset, an international conference will hear today.

A new report being released at the Global Forum Sport and Environment (G-ForSE) underlines how the last Winter Olympics set new records in the ultimate quest for environmental sustainability in mass sports and audience events.

The independently certified score card applauds the Torino Organizing Committee (TOROC) for using domestic measures in Italy and ‘carbon offsets’ abroad to compensate for much of the greenhouse gas emissions generated over the 16-day event.

It also highlights efforts in the area of waste minimization. The report estimates that the waste burden in Torino and the surrounding Olympic areas increased by just 0.2 per cent as a result of separation, recycling and other aspects of TOROC’s waste management initiative.

The report, presented at the conference taking place at the Olympic Museum, Lausanne, also notes important achievements in areas from conservation of freshwaters and mountain ecosystems to transport and eco-friendly building designs.

The adoption of environmental certification and management standards like EMAS and ISO 14001 and the adoption of Eco-labels by hotels and Olympic accommodation are also recognized.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: "We are proud to have been associated with TOROC and even more delighted at their successes”.

“Mass sporting events, televised around the world, offer a great potential for practically demonstrating how UNEP’s belief in the power of sport to inspire improving environmental management can be achieved in every sphere of life-- potential that can inspire organizers of big audience participation events as well as governments, industry and individuals to also become champions for our planet,” he added.

“Torino 2006, in which UNEP has been a partner, set targets and timetables across a wide range of environmental and sustainability criteria. These have been monitored and independently verified and are released today,” said Mr. Steiner.

“I sincerely hope that the next Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010 -- along with operators of winter sports globally -- pick up the Torino torch en route to the ultimate goal of realizing sustainable sporting events and leisure activities across the world,” he added.

The two-day G-ForSE conference, organized by UNEP and the Global Sports Alliance, is bringing together some of the leading experts from around the world involved in sports and the environment.

Architects, specialists in rainwater harvesting, energy experts, environmentalists, members of various sports organizations including the Director of the United States-base National Football League (NFL), Olympic Federations such as the International Rowing Federation and a wide range of interested and pioneering individuals and groups will be meeting.

During the two day meeting, UNEP is scheduled to sign an agreement with a new partner in the field of sports and the environment—the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

On Friday 1 December another landmark score-card report will be published on the achievements of the ‘Green Goal’ for the 2006 FIFA World Cup staged earlier in the year in Germany.

Environmental Highlights from the Torino 2006 Final Sustainability Report

Climate Change-TOROC adopted a project called HEritage Climate TORino or HECTOR.

The organizers calculated that, during the Winter Olympics, the amount of greenhouse gases produced including those generated by heating and energy systems and teams and athletes flying to and from Torino would equate to a total of 103,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Domestically, several initiatives were undertaken including an investment of five million Euros by the administration of Regione Piemonte in renewable and sustainable energy projects such as district heating projects.

Internationally, HECTOR was used to purchase 'verifiable emissions reductions’ from certified green and cleaner energy projects in Eritrea, Mexico and Sri Lanka.

A tree planting project in Kenya, under UNEP’s Plant for the Planet initiative, has also contributed.

Close to 70 tonnes of the 103,500 tonnes produced, or just over 67 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions are being offset.

The Regione Piemonte is looking at funding additional projects to offset the remaining one third of greenhouse gas emissions not covered under the original HECTOR scheme.

Water-- Snow-making machines can consume large quantities of water. The construction of 20 new reservoirs holding 350,000 cubic meters of water had been originally proposed.

However the organisers, in collaboration with the Province of Torino, were able to identify water-saving and other measures to reduce the scale of construction and thus minimize the impact on the landscape.

In the end only nine new water storage facilities, holding around 220,000 cubic meters, were built.

The report does note that river water flows in region in the run up to and during the Winter Olympics did decrease but believe this was less to do with the games and more linked with recent light rains in the region.

It also claims that the quality of river water improved as a direct result of works carried out to support the Olympics including the installation of new aqueducts and sewerage systems in several locations in the mountains and valleys.

Soil and Land Use--Extensive monitoring and rehabilitation was undertaken to minimize the impacts of construction at, for example, the ski jumping venues around Pragelato and the bobsleigh track at Cesana Pariol.

TOROC adopted an Inert Materials Plan. Aerial photographs show that no new quarries have been opened and there has been no expansion of existing landfill sites as a result of these works.

In addition, trees, new habitats and natural engineering works were incorporated in and around these construction sites in order to restore the fragile mountain ecosystems and landscapes.

Waste- The report says the Olympics had a positive impact on the way local authorities now manage waste.

In 2000, an average of just under 20 per cent of waste and rubbish was separated for recycling and re-use in the region but by 2005 it had climbed to well over a third as a result of TOROC’s Prevention and Management Plan.

Overall, the levels of waste generated in places where Olympic events were held were kept to a minimum.

“Comparison of data for waste production in competition venues for which TOROC was directly responsible and the data from the relevant communes during the Games show that the Olympic programme affected the total annual production (of waste) of these areas by 0.2 per cent,” says the report.

Eco-Construction and Environmental Management-other measures included the development of eco-friendly buildings at, for example the new Olympic Village, and the use of pollution-free materials in their construction and an extensive sustainable transport plan.

In addition TOROC has adopted the International Standards Organization’s 14001 standard alongside the European Commission’s Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) to ensure the “continuous improvement in the environmental performance” of the organization.

Meanwhile sponsors of the games were to be subject to a voluntary ‘sustainability programme’ in which they agreed to meet a set of ethical and environmental standards. TOROC also instituted a green procurement policy aimed at sourcing environmentally friendly products and services.

Many of the stadia and key events, like the ice skating or ice hockey, and accommodation for athletes, were also located in city centres dramatically increasing the likelihood that the will be sustainably used for sports, leisure and housing projects in the future.

Notes to Editors

The TOROC Sustainability Report 2006 is available at http://www.oeko.de/oekodoc/292/2006-011-en.pdf

The Global Forum for Sport and the Environment runs from 30 November until 1 December at the Olympic Museum.

Experts on eco-friendly design of sports stadia up to members of Olympic Federations and other sports associations will be holding meetings on how to green mass sports and mass audience participation events.

On Friday 1 December at 13.00 hours a final report on the FIFA 2006 World Cup ‘Green Goal’ will be launched at a press conference.

Journalists are welcome to cover the Green Goal press conference and attend any of the range of exciting and interesting side events and meetings.

Details of the conference, which is sponsored by Pentland, Powerbar and Volvo can be found at http://www.unep.org/sport_env/Activities/G-ForSE06/index.asp

For More Information Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, on Tel: +41 79 596 57 37 or E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP, Sport and the Environment

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