Blog

The end of the beginning

August 10, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Like Jessica Ennis going into her final event; LOCOG’s Games were the final act in seven years of hard work by a variety of organisations. Early success was already in the bag. Great sustainable infrastructure, venues and a wonderful green park constructed by the ODA. Only venues that have a clear legacy use were designed to be permanent. The use of temporary venues has been unprecedented. Long term investment in public transport infrastructure has made Stratford one of the best connected places in Europe. The world’s first public transport Games was delivered by Transport for London and LOCOG despite all the predictions of doom and gridlock. The cheerful volunteers made the experience a joy. I even saw some people on the tube talking to each other! Why can’t it be like that all the time? LOCOG’s spectacular success in delivering a low carbon Olympic cauldron set the scene. London 2012 has demonstrated that it is possible to deliver a wonderful variety of sustainably sourced, competitively priced food and aim to dispose of the packaging with recycling and composting performance that should put the rest of the event industry to shame. Green spaces were well looked after. This was billed as …

All we are saying…

July 28, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Tags: , , , ,

My team have been out on the streets of East London interviewing anti-corporate protestors coming together in a combined “Day of action” to use the London 2012 Games as a platform for their campaigns. After last night’s Danny Boyle extravaganza the nation is feeling incredibly positive about the Games but there remains a significant minority of people who are concerned about the role of corporate sponsorship related to the Games.  Over the seven years I have been chair of the Commission I have met a wide variety of people from NGOs and also most of the corporate sponsors to talk about issues related to the sustainability of the Games and its legacy. Most of these relationships have been constructive and I think we have been helpful in providing neutral, unbiased assurance and fact based analysis of the issues within our scope of responsibility. Sir David Higgins once referred to the Commission as “the single source of the truth about sustainability and London 2012”. We have tried to live up to this challenge at all times. However, there have been exceptions. Some corporations are inclined to demonstrate ultra-defensive behaviour and reach for their lawyers as a first reaction to any inconvenient …

Streets of fire

May 18, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Tags: , , , ,

At long last the torch relay comes to the country, signalling the start of London’s third modern Olympics. People who have worked on Games in the past tell me that the attitude of the nation tends to change when the torch arrives; people start to get excited about the Games and more positive about them generally. I hope this is the case, as much as I support the doom mongers and whingers right to free speech I would like to hear more voices raised in celebration and pride. The greatest show on earth is coming to my city for the only time, certainly in my life. I am determined to enjoy every minute of it and bore my grandchildren about it for the rest of my life. Note to self; encourage grown up kids to start breeding soon so I can bore my grandchildren for a bit longer. Of course it is not perfect. We were critical of LOCOG and their energy partner last year for their failure to deliver their commitment to a “low carbon torch”. However I have been impressed with LOCOG’s efforts to reduce the size of the entourage following the torch around and subsequent number of …

CSL_Merchandising Review_cover

Commission publishes sustainability review of London 2012 merchandise

October 11, 2011   |   Posted by Jemma Percy

Tags: , , , ,

The Commission has published a snapshot review of the sustainability of London 2012 merchandise. The review, titled Sustainably Sourced?, examines the work done by LOCOG to implement sustainable merchandising policies, in line with the overall commitment to host the most sustainable Games ever held. With total expected retail sales in the region of £1 billion and 10,000 individual products, merchandise is a significant part of LOCOG’s revenue generation. Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said: “LOCOG has had success in making standard merchandise more sustainable, but not in making sustainable merchandise standard. London 2012 has been successful in changing the behaviour of the industry, but needs to seize the opportunity to change the behaviour of the consumer. “We recognise that there are some sustainability issues which LOCOG can’t solve on its own; however, we believe that by fully engaging with LOCOG’s sustainable and ethical sourcing codes, London 2012 licensees can adopt more sustainable behaviour on a permanent basis. This will create a lasting legacy for UK and international brands and will have commercial as well as environmental and social benefits. “We recognise that labour standards are an issue for the industry, and welcome LOCOG’s efforts to address …

Rubbish Bin - Aquatics Centre

Conversation killer Queen

August 1, 2011   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Tags: , , , , ,

A couple of years ago I was invited to speak at a conference organised for university purchasing consortia (I get all the good gigs!) I was asked to give the opening keynote speech but I was told that I would be following a “motivational speaker”. I have done this before and was quite relaxed about it; these people usually get the audience in a good mood before I put them to sleep. I did not realise until the evening before the event that the motivational speaker was Lenny Henry! However, having experienced Lenny as my warm up act did not prepare me for the event in the Aquatic Centre where I had Queen as my backing band. I was doing an interview for BBC Radio London when the speakers started booming out a medley of Queen hits to accompany a synchronised swimming demonstration in the diving pool. That pretty much summed up the first part of the day, organised chaos with a huge scrum of media people all talking at once. The BBC people were great, ushering me from interview to interview. Part of our duty is to communicate and we did lots of that on the day. The early …

They sold me a merry Christmas

December 17, 2010   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Tags: , , ,

Christmas – season of goodwill or orgy of conspicuous consumption of useless tat? As we approach Games-time the push to sell London 2012 merchandise is hotting up. You can see the offers available on the London 2012 website at http://shop.london2012.com/   When I was at the Beijing Games in 2008, I commented on these pages about the huge appetite Chinese people had for the Games and the cheap merchandise that went with it. I tried to describe the huge retail outlets piled high with all manner of stuff carrying the Beijing 2008 logo and the hot, tired shoppers queuing outside the door to get their hands on these items. At the time I expressed a desire that London 2012 would be different. During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, I commented on the horror stories coming from China about the labour and environmental standards employed at the factories making the mascots for the event. Claims of excessive profiteering were abundant, damaging the reputation of the event. This was shortly before LOCOG gave the world Wenlock and Mandeville, the twin Olympic mascots for London 2012. I must say I was quite impressed with the way sustainability messages were weaved into …

Website archived by CRIS at RHUL