What was an open secret is from now on official: Paris has been chosen as the host city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the third time in its history (1900 and 1924)! For lovers of premonitory signs and lucky numbers should we plan for the 2124 Games?
Let’s go back on the bid and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vision for sustainable Games with environment preservation standing as the third pillar of olympism since 2004, alongside sport and culture!
Five cities officially bid for the organisation of the 2024 Olympic Games but only two of them remained candidates until the end:
– Rome left the competition for economic reasons.
– Hamburg officially withdrew its application following the decision of its people in a referendum.
– Finally in February 2017 Budapest decided to quit on the last home stretch.
The contenders had to follow a three-stage candidature process going from September 2015 until September 2017:
– Stage 1: “Vision, Games Concept and Strategy” ;
– Stage 2: “Governance, Legal and Venue Funding” ;
– Stage 3: “Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy”.
Through Olympic Agenda 2020 the International Olympic Committee gave a framework and recommendations to assist candidate cities formulate their proposals and ensure they carry strong fundamental values in ethics, transparency and sustainable development ; values standing for people and environment:
“THE ROLE OF THE IOC… IS TO ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT A RESPONSIBLE CONCERN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SPORT AND TO REQUIRE THAT THE OLYMPIC GAMES ARE HELD ACCORDINGLY…”
In concrete terms, what does this mean and where does this notion of sustainable development come from?
This notion of sustainable development was defined for the first time in the Brundtland Commission’s report “Our Common Future” in 1987 by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development as:
“SATISFYING THE NEEDS OF THE PRESENT GENERATION WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE CHANCE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO SATISFY THEIRS”
Intrinsically sport has the power to unify! Sport is a window to the world, it encourages social interactions, it promotes respect for others and creates a collective emulation around an event which must transcend differences. Sports people stand as strong inspiring influences, they therefore have the power to change their fans’ behaviours. Sport can also be used as a formidable promoting tool for sustainable development: environment preservation, water, energy and waste management, ethical supply chains.
Therefore the advantages that a city can draw from organising the Olympic Games have to be part of a long-term strategy.
Until 2012, Sydney Olympics 2000 were the champions of “The Greenest Olympics” in the history of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Village was entirely powered with solar energy thanks to the world’s largest solar plant!
However, for the 2012 Games London decided to take possession of the “The Greenest Olympics” title with a focus on waste management such as the setting up of a process starting upstream to achieve zero waste to landfill. All food outlets on the Olympic sites had to solely use compostable plates, cutlery, glasses and packaging. Drink containers had to be made of PET so the bottles could be then sent to a specialised closed loop bottle-to-bottle recycling plant nearby.
The IOC addresses the reduction of carbon footprint, sustainability of infrastructures, food waste management, but what about the equipments used by athletes, and more specifically in the equestrian disciplines? Official outfits for the national teams, tee-shirts, blankets, towels, all kinds of textile… Are the values of sustainable development and concern for the environment taken into consideration for these items too?
In its Olympic Agenda 2020 the IOC strongly recommends to use ethical supply chains. Sustainable development therefore demands sustainable purchases and environmentally responsible consumption or as goes Tacante appropriate motto: “sustainable products for responsible riders”!
Now that Paris has been officially awarded the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is up to all of us to act!
Be it the Olympic Committee, or cities, sports federations, sports people, suppliers, service providers, we are all concerned as human beings! It is thus time for each and everyone of us to act for the planet!
Go go go for Paris 2024!