Swimming Upstream: Sustainable in challenging times?

Annual Review 2008

April 2009

Tags: Annual review

The Commission’s Annual Review is an independent report into the sustainability of the London 2012 programme. It is drawn from our work throughout 2008 including interviews with senior representatives from the Key Stakeholders detailed thematic reviews, input from our commissioners and wider stakeholders.

Key Findings

  • We have found no evidence to date that that cost reduction has led to any compromise of the published sustainability standards
  • The ODA has been successful in addressing sustainability as they have put it at the heart of the organisation
  • This is developing in LOCOG and is recommended to the OPLC
  • ODA construction is setting standards that should be followed by other construction projects
  • We expect this to happen in other sectors, such as event management, catering, hospitality, property development and education
  • The excellent work to develop an infrastructure to encourage local skills and employment needs to be continued through staging and legacy
  • We are impressed with ‘CompeteFor’ and support the work being done to improve it and to encourage small businesses to participate in the supply chain
  • The opportunity to promote sustainability when using the London 2012 brand in sponsor and Cultural Olympiad events was not fully recognised in 2008
  • We endorse and applaud the decision to carry out ground-breaking work to define the wider carbon footprint of the London 2012 programme
  • There is a challenge to decide how to mitigate the residual carbon footprint
  • The OPLC has a challenge to deliver the promise to make the Olympic Park “a blueprint for sustainable living”
  • Opportunity to showcase an integrated approach to energy and waste management to deliver zero carbon heat and ultra-low carbon electricity
  • Exemplary standards of waste management have been set for preparation and Games-time but a large amount of plastic fabrics will need to be procured. This has to be disposed of sustainably after the Games, along with lots of other temporary materials

Most significant recommendations

Whilst we consider all these recommendations to be important, we consider these to be the most significant and should be addressed immediately.

  • Sustainability should be a standing item for discussion at Olympic Board Steering Group meetings. The London 2012 Sustainability Group should focus on emerging issues that affect the programme and escalate them as necessary on a timely basis to OBSG.
  • The London 2012 Sustainability Group should ensure that the priorities identified in the Sustainability Leadership meeting are delivered through clear strategies, roles and responsibilities across the Olympic programme
  • All users of the London 2012 Brand should be required to demonstrate how they will contribute to the London 2012 Sustainability Plan and relevant objectives.
  • The London 2012 Sustainability Group should reduce carbon at source as much as possible and honour the commitment to offset flights for competitors and officials with Gold Standard offsets. The remaining footprint should be mitigated by a combination of initiatives to reduce carbon in the community and through wider influencing schemes using the inspirational power of the Games to change behaviour. Legacy standards should address embodied impacts.
  • The GLA and Government should ensure that the Olympic Park Legacy Company currently under development for legacy has the long term sustainable development of the Olympic Park enshrined in its objectives, governance, management capacity, structures, funding and business plan, and will ensure integration with wider Lower Lea Valley initiatives.
  • LDA should ensure that the Olympic Park infrastructure is able to deliver zero carbon heat and very low carbon energy by 2016 at the latest, but preferably by 2012, utilising a wider waste strategy for the Lower Lea Valley to supply fuel derived from organic waste combined with the renewable energy solutions provided by the ODA.
  • The ODA and LOCOG should ensure a clear and consistent policy for mitigating the impacts of manufacture, use and disposal of temporary materials.

3-6 Months

We believe these recommendations need to be implemented within the next 3-6 months and that failure to do so will threaten the achievement of sustainability objectives.

  • GLA should develop a simple process to collect reporting information in order to ensure delivery against the Olympic sub-objectives for which they are responsible.
  • The LDA should assess the resources required to embed sustainability into the Legacy Masterplan Framework and to act as an effective client. These resources should be deployed as permanent staff at a senior level where possible.
  • The ODA must ensure that the implications of the emerging legacy waste strategy are reflected in the design and build of the Olympic Village and venues where possible.
  • The London 2012 Sustainability Group should ensure that substances with high Global Warming Potential such as HFC are eliminated where possible.

The Commission’s Annual Review is an independent report into the sustainability of the London 2012 programme. It is drawn from our work throughout 2008 including interviews with senior representatives from the Key Stakeholders detailed thematic reviews, input from our commissioners and wider stakeholders.

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