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Taking into consideration the decisions adopted
in 1992 by the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
Recognising its responsibility towards the
regarding Agenda 21, the Olympic Movement
promotion of sustainable development, the IOC
decided to establish its own Agenda
considers the environment as an integral
Adopted by the IOC Session in 1999, the aim of
dimension of Olympism, alongside sport and
this Agenda is to encourage its members to
culture. The IOC thus ensures that the Olympic
participate actively in sustainable development.
Games take place in conditions that take into
It presents fundamental concepts and the
account the environment in a responsible way,
general actions to be undertaken to attain this
and collaborates with the relevant public or
private authorities, with the aim of placing sport

at the service of humanity.


This Guide was developed by the IOC in
Following the Centennial Olympic Congress,
collaboration with all 35 Olympic International
Congress of Unity, organised in 1994 in Paris,
Federations to help the different members of the
the IOC recognised the importance of the
Olympic family transform the Agenda 21
environment and sustainable development, and,
recommendations into concrete actions and
in 1996, added a paragraph on environmental
protection to the Olympic Charter.

“[The IOC’s role with respect to the environment
The Guide offers methodological and practical
is:] to encourage and support a responsible
tools to the sports community, based on the
concern for environmental issues, to promote
major principles of sustainable development. It
sustainable development in sport and to require
provides an easy way to move from theory and
that the Olympic Games are held accordingly.”
concepts to practical initiatives and behavioural
Chapter 1, Rule 2, Paragraph 13 of the Olympic
changes; and an easy way to understand the
Charter, in force from 7 July 2007.
global challenges and needs for environmental

protection while considering local specificities
coming from diverse geographical, socio-
economic, cultural and sports contexts.

Created in December 1995, the main goal of the
Sport and Environment Commission, chaired by
The IOC and the United Nations Environment
Mr Pál Schmitt, an IOC member since 1986, is
Programme (UNEP) signed a Cooperative
to advise the IOC Executive Board on the policy
Agreement in 1994 to conduct various activities
to be adopted by the IOC and the Olympic
to raise awareness and educate people on
Movement on matters related to environmental
environmental matters in sport.
protection and support for sustainable

development in relation to sport.
Amongst other things, UNEP has participated in

the IOC World Conferences on Sport and
Environment, IOC regional seminars and in the

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production of information materials on sport and
To this end, it works with the Organising
environment, such as the Agenda 21 for the
Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs)
Olympic Movement. UNEP has also developed
and the competent public or private authorities
working relationships with Organising
and organisations responsible for organising the
Committees for the Olympic Games in Athens
(2004), Turin (2006), Beijing (2008) and

Vancouver (2010) to promote environmental
issues in the Games. A Memorandum of
Within the Applicant and Candidate City
Understanding between UNEP and Sochi 2014
procedure and questionnaire documentation,
was signed in June 2009.
environmental and sustainable development

guiding principles and requirements are

included across many areas.
The biennial World Conference on Sport and

Environment brings together representatives
Statements provided by Candidate Cities are
and partners of the Olympic Movement, as well
verified by an Evaluation Commission, which
as representatives of other entities involved in
includes an environmental advisor appointed by
this field, such as governments, international
the International Olympic Committee.
and non-governmental organisations, industry

and business sectors, research institutes and
Once elected, the Host City is provided with
the media.
assistance and guidance in its preparations by
The aim of the conferences is to regularly
the IOC Coordination Commission, which also
assess the progress made in the field of
includes an environmental advisor.
sustainable development by the Olympic

Movement; give an opportunity to provide new
The IOC’s objective is that during the staging of
knowledge on these issues by sharing
the Games the environmental risks are avoided
experiences and expertise from different sectors
and reduced where possible, and the positive
of society; and encourage cooperation in, and
impacts and opportunities of the event are
further the development of, environmental
maximised. The ultimate objective is to
policies in sport.
bequeath a positive Olympic Games legacy to

the Host City, its region and country, in which
Regional seminars are organised in cooperation
the positive impacts outweigh the negative
with Olympic Solidarity, whose mission is to
plan, organise and control support programmes

for National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The

seminars are adapted to local conditions and
The Olympic Games Impact
designed to raise awareness among NOCs and
study: OGI
advocate the need to use sport as a tool for
sustainable development in their countries. They
The hosting of an Olympic Games has a
also provide an opportunity to share
significant impact on the Host City and its
experiences on initiatives implemented by
community. From tangible infrastructure
NOCs and their Sport and Environment
construction such as competition venues and
Commissions, to identify major issues to be
transport improvements, through to the
resolved and to obtain their commitment on
evolution of the image of a Host City, the event
relevant measures and actions to implement at
acts as a vehicle and catalyst which leave a
a national level.
lasting mark on the city, host country and its

people through its economic, urban, social or

historic influence. To what extent, with what
results and with what benefits have been the
subject of a long-lasting debate.

The IOC works to ensure that the Olympic
To answer these questions and to assist the
Games are held in conditions that demonstrate
Olympic Games Organising Committee (OCOG)
responsible concern for the environment.
in this area, the IOC created the Olympic

Games Impact (OGI) study. The principal
IOC, environment and sustainable development / July 2009
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objectives of OGI are: to measure the overall
UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honour Award for their
impact of the Olympic Games; to assist bidding
environmental efforts.
cities and future Olympic Games organisers

through the transfer of strategic directions
Salt Lake City 2002
obtained from past and present Olympic
In the framework of planting programmes at the
Games; and to identify potential legacies,
venues and “Plant it Green: The Global Trees
thereby maximising the benefits of their Olympic
Race”, over 100,000 trees were planted in Utah,
and more than two million throughout the world.

The energy recycled from the curling hall’s air
In order to measure the impact of the Olympic
conditioning unit heated the showers and the
Games, concrete tools were needed. More than
bathrooms at the venue. This system used
100 research “indicators” were created and
ammonia, which does not destroy the ozone
grouped into the three internationally recognised
spheres of sustainable development: economic,

socio-cultural and environmental. The OGI
Athens 2004
indicators cover a vast range of activities, from
By the end of the Games, over a million large
those that are a direct result of the staging of the
bushes, 290,000 trees and 11 million small trees
Olympic Games, such as the construction of
had been planted throughout the Greek capital.
competition venues or the Olympic Village, to
Environmentally-friendly building materials and
others that are a more indirect consequence,
new energy technology were used, and the
such as the evolution of transport and
global protection of natural resources was taken
accommodation infrastructure. Other indicators
into account. Athens 2004 set up a series of
facilitate the monitoring of contextual data within
initiatives and programmes for the environment,
a Host City and its region, such as crime rates,
including the following:
sports participation and water quality.

• conception of a recreational eco-excursions
Since the establishment of the OGI study in
programme in cooperation with the Hellenic
2003, the IOC has asked all OCOGs to conduct
Society for the Protection of Nature
the study. Future Olympic organisers are
• use of environmentally-friendly vehicles that
informed of the OGI study during the Applicant
conform to ecological requirements
and Candidate City phases through IOC

creation of the Olympic Environmental
candidature documentation. At present, four
Alliance, with the aim of establishing effective
OCOGs are conducting the study: the Beijing
cooperation and dialogue between all the
Olympic Organising Committee, the Vancouver
bodies concerned, and the parties actively
Organising Committee, the London Organising
involved, and establishing a conclusive
Committee and the Sochi Organising
decision-making procedure (Ministry of the
Environment, Physical Planning and Public

Works, or the National Meteorological


Turin 2006
Sydney 2000
The environment was a key element of the Turin
The key environmental achievements included
Olympic Winter Games. The Turin Organising
public transport access, solar power
Committee (TOROC) was the first OCOG to
applications, good building material selection,
obtain both an ISO 14001 international
recycling of construction waste, energy and
environment standard certification and an EMAS
water conservation and wetland restoration.
certification for its environmental systems and

programmes (the European equivalent).
Between 1998 and 2000, four million trees were

planted in sites throughout the Australian
TOROC also developed the HECTOR (HEritage
continent. The Organising Committee and the
Climate TORino) programme, aimed at raising
Olympic Coordination Agency won the 2001
awareness on climate change issues and
IOC, environment and sustainable development / July 2009
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offsetting the amount of greenhouse gases
opportunities of the Vancouver Olympic Games
produced during the 2006 Winter Games
to create lasting benefits both locally and
through financial investments in reforestation,
globally. To achieve this, VANOC has
energy efficiency and renewable energy source
established a set of six corporate-wide
sustainability performance objectives:

- Accountability
In addition to this, TOROC’s environmental
- Environmental Stewardship and Impact
programmes included environmental audits of
venue building sites and eco-compatibility of
- Social Inclusion and Responsibility
temporary venues. A Strategic Environmental
- Aboriginal Participation and Collaboration
Assessment system for the planning and
- Economic Benefits
monitoring of Games activities was also
- Sport for Sustainable Living
conducted, and guidelines for the application of

EMAS to all sports events as well as green
London 2012
procurement criteria for suppliers and a system
The London 2012 Organising Committee
of recognition for sponsors demonstrating
(LOCOG), building upon the commitments set
environmental commitments were developed.
out in its Candidature File, has produced the

London 2012 Sustainability Plan. The Plan is a
Beijing 2008
framework for how LOCOG and its partners will
Improvement, protection and awareness were
address sustainability, and reflects the
the key focus areas of the Beijing Organising
Organising Committee’s ambition to deliver truly
Committee (BOCOG)’s environmental sustainable Olympic Games. The Plan is
structured according to five priority themes:
Environmentally friendly and energy-saving
- Climate change
building materials were used in the construction
- Waste
of the Olympic venues and the Olympic Green.
- Biodiversity
Significant efforts were made in the Beijing and
- Inclusion
surrounding areas to expand afforestation,
- Healthy living
improve air quality and enhance public sewage

and waste treatment systems.
Sochi 2014

In meeting the challenges of sustainable
Vancouver 2010
development, Sochi 2014 has developed an
During the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Olympic
ecological strategy and General Functional Plan
and Paralympic Winter Games, the not-for-profit
(GFP) incorporating the elements of:
society “2010 Legacies Now” was created. The
- green standard in Olympic venue development
- use of alternative energy sources
aim of the society was to create more than a
- carbon neutrality
“bricks and mortar” legacy for the host
- zero waste.
communities. The society’s mission is “to work

in partnership with community organisations,
non-government organisations, the
sector and all levels of government to develop
sustainable legacies in sport
and recreation,

arts, literacy and volunteerism; and to actively
After Lausanne in 1995, Kuwait City in 1997,
assist communities to discover and create
Nagano in 1999, Rio de Janeiro in 2001, Turin
and inclusive social and economic
in 2003, Nairobi in 2005 and Beijing in 2007, the
opportunities leading up to, and beyond, the
8th World Conference on Sport and Environment
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
was organised by the IOC with the Vancouver

Organising Committee for the XXI Olympic
The Vancouver Organising Committee
Winter Games in March 2009.
(VANOC) is the first OCOG to create a
With its main theme, "Innovation and Inspiration
Sustainability Department. For VANOC,
- Harnessing the Power of Sport for Change”,
sustainability means managing the social,
the 2009 World Conference recognised the
economic and environmental impacts and
power of the sports movement to trigger
IOC, environment and sustainable development / July 2009
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innovative solutions to the challenges it faces,
the sports world for possible application at an
and to inspire people to pursue a more
appropriate scale in their own programmes.
sustainable world.
OCOGs have the ability to utilise the latest

innovations and technology to create and
The assembled delegates, representing the
promote Games of the highest standards of
IOC, NOCs, International Sports Federations,
sustainability and legacy.
the United Nations Environment Programme
Sharing and transferring these best practices
and other United Nations entities, non-
is essential in ensuring that the sustainability of
governmental organisations, research the Olympic and Paralympic Games is
institutions, Organising Committees for the
continuously advanced.
Olympic Games, Applicant Cities, Olympians,
The Games present a unique opportunity to
the, International Paralympic Committee,
raise environmental awareness and develop a
partners and other members of the Olympic
new environmental approach within a
Movement, sports and recreation event
community, and to implement a “green code”,
organisers and sporting goods manufacturers
thereby achieving a set of new local standards
put forward the following specific conclusions
of higher quality.
and recommendations:

4. Corporate sponsors of the Olympic
1. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) play
Movement continue to play a valuable role in
an increasing role in ensuring continuous
creating sports events which mutually
involvement of the sports world in
benefit sport, the community and sponsors
sustainable development
The Conference encourages sponsors of the
It is acknowledged that NOCs have to tackle
Olympic Movement to share their sustainability
different challenges within their own
practices and technology with the Olympic
environments. Nevertheless, it is essential that
family, and channel available resources for
NOCs recognise their important role as a major
educational purposes to increase environmental
conduit for action to further the Olympic
awareness and to engage and empower young
Movement’s sustainability agenda.
people. Community-based organisations are
NOCs are encouraged to continue to develop
an essential component of sport and
their understanding of the programmes,
environment activities, as they are central to the
practices and legacies of Olympic Organising
promotion of local involvement, innovation and
Committees, as well as of the proposals and
inspiration, and the spreading of best practices.
objectives of candidate cities. It is
Athletes are important role models, as their
recommended that NOCs identify and reach out
commitment to promoting the sustainability
to domestic and external partners with specific
agenda has the potential to influence and
projects that could be supported within their own
inspire others, particularly young people, to take
communities, and consider including provisions
for sustainable actions in their contractual

The Conference concluded with the words of a
NOCs are encouraged to form partnerships
participating athlete: “There are no minds
with local government entities in order to
more innovative than the minds of young
implement specific environmental projects.
people. No one is more attuned to the

environment than young people.”
2. International Sports Federations are

critical to advancing sustainability within
sports organisations around the world

Each International Federation is encouraged
July 2009
to adopt a policy and supporting programme to

advance the principles of sustainability through
its sport, and to promote such principles to

A publication of the
For further information, please contact
national sports federations.

3. OCOGs are a key source of innovation in
Olympic Studies Centre Tel.
the planning, delivery and legacy of sports
Château de Vidy,
+41 021 621 63 18
facilities and events
1007 Lausanne,
Fax +41 021 621 67 18

[email protected]
The examples provided by OCOGs and

Candidate Cities should be studied by others in
IOC, environment and sustainable development / July 2009
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