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Commission launches final report – Making a Difference

March 20, 2013   |   Posted by Jemma Percy

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The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) has today published its final report, which looks at the sustainability achievements of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and whether these successes can be replicated in the UK and beyond. Entitled Making a Difference, the report concludes that while there have been some excellent examples of action to embed the lessons learnt from the Games, for example, through the Government’s on-going support for the 2012 Learning Legacy web portal, there is still more to be done. The Commission’s findings point to two main factors holding back widespread adoption of sustainable practice in the UK: firstly, slowness in government action in embedding sustainability in government procurement; and secondly, the need for more independent oversight to ensure that sustainability targets in all sectors are met. The Commission has recommended the Government revisit advice to embed sustainability into the construction sector, and that major projects open themselves up to independent scrutiny of their sustainability commitments. Also examined are issues relating to corporate sponsorship, which raised some unresolved ethical concerns during London 2012. The use of forced labour and excessive working hours in supply chains remain a problem for many industries as a whole. …

They think it’s all over

November 14, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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I was eight years old when England won the world cup in 1966. I can’t claim to remember the oft repeated commentary from Kenneth Wolstenholme “They think it’s all over – it is now” as Geoff Hurst completed his unique hat-trick to beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time but of course this is now the stuff of legend. Team GB and Paralympics GB made an equally legendary contribution to our sporting heritage. Maybe the choice of a lion as a mascot has something to do with it; Team GB and Paralympics GB had Pride the Lion and in more innocent times in 1966 we had World Cup Willie. They think the London 2012 Olympic Games are all over but from a sustainability point of view this is the end of the beginning. Today sees the release of our report entitled “London 2012 – From vision to reality“. It documents the fantastic effort made by my team to get to practically every Olympic venue with the exception of the football stadia. Not bad for a team of four people in a few short weeks. We also visited live sites, logistics hubs, waste transfer stations and numerous other “back of house” …

Athletes Village

Village People

May 1, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It was great to take our Commissioners on a tour of the Olympic Village and many thanks to Nigel Garfitt, Tony Sainsbury and the team from LOCOG for patiently showing us round and giving us their valuable time so close to the Games. The first impression of the experience is high security, we had 3 separate ID checks to get into the Village and for specific buildings. Nigel is the director responsible for the Village and many other aspects of the Games, his pass did not have the correct date so he was refused entry until the error had been corrected. I appreciate that a large amount of additional security is necessary to ensure the Games are safe but our Commissioners have expressed concern that  additional scrutiny may continue in wider society after the Games and infringe the civil liberties of the most watched nation on earth. There has to be a balance after the Games. The Village is the first to be located within walking distance of the main competition venues and the excellent public transport links to central London will provide a great experience for athletes of the 208 nations who will descend on us in less than …

121105 Aerial shoot_Olympic Park

Assuring a legacy?

March 14, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It seems a long time since London was announced as the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and those of us involved in the sustainability aspects of the bid tried to work out what a body to assure the sustainability performance would be like. We started with the rather cynical notion that there is no such thing as a sustainable Games, it is not possible to justify the gross consumption of resources to support a sporting event. We can only call London 2012 sustainable if there is a sustainable legacy. We think of legacy in terms of the environmental, social and economic legacy, primarily for East London but also for the UK as a whole, we also think about the legacy of learning and how this is applied in a wider context. The track record of past Games is patchy, the Olympics helped to put Barcelona on the map as a world city and helped to regenerate the east dock area, the legacy of Athens is almost non-existent and Sydney has done well after a slow start. Beijing is emerging with a legacy of sorts but time will tell. The time has come to consider London 2012 …

Team GB at the Velodrome

Bicycle race

February 22, 2011   |   Posted by Jonathan Turner

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I attended the opening ceremony for the velodrome today. The velodrome is a venue we are particularly pleased with as a commission as it is a real sustainability success story. One of my roles in the Commission is to track all the commitments that the delivery bodies have made to ensure they are progressing against them. This has meant I have been able to see how all the venues have developed throughout their design and build. The velodrome has consistently stood out as its innovative design has helped it meet or exceed all the targets set for it. For example, the ODA required all the venues to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than standard venues. The velodrome is over 30 percent more efficient, doubling the target set. Its rainwater harvesting system means it also nearly doubles the 40 per cent target for reduction in potable water use. I was also pleased to see the sustainably sourced timber track that Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and other members of Team GB were cycling round today. The velodrome is also a great example of carbon efficient design. Using a lightweight structure with a timber clad cable net roof, the …

Stadium rocks

June 5, 2009   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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I had the privilege of a VIP tour of the Olympic stadium construction site to mark the anniversary of the build phase. It is a very impressive building. The quality of everything from the concrete finish to the cable trays is superb. The design is very smart and minimalist. Only the bare essential materials are used above ground level to ensure the majority of the stadium can be dismantled after the Games. Below ground there are excellent facilities taking shape for athletes, officials and the media. Designs for the finishing touches are underway including very innovative use of sustainable plastics for the outer wrap and temporary pods to provide catering and merchandising facilities, these are a significant improvement on the tented structures we saw in Beijing. In common with the velodrome, there is much for the sustainability geek to admire, 15 percent better energy efficiency than building regulations, light, low embodied energy structure and I hope the decision will be made soon to eliminate HFC from the cooling system. My host pointed out that the London 2012 stadium will do everything the Bird’s Nest did with a quarter of the materials. Unfortunately we were also in sight of the aquatic …

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