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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. …

Commission statement on BP Target Neutral programme at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

March 19, 2013   |   Posted by Jemma Percy

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The Commission has completed its assurance of BP’s Target Neutral Programme. BP was appointed by London 2012 as the Olympic and Paralympic Games offset partner for official travel. In addition, BP established a voluntary programme which offered to offset travel related carbon emissions for spectators, London 2012 corporate partners and the wider ‘Olympic family’ such as athletes and country delegations. The Target Neutral Programme: “…is an initiative that provides information and tools primarily through a website (www.bptargetneutral.com) but also other channels such as Facebook, to support the reduction of carbon footprints. The information and tools are structured around three topic areas: ‘Reduce, Replace and Neutralise’. Participants are encouraged to reduce their travel emissions, for example by replacing car journeys with public transport, by driving ‘smarter’, driving less and maintaining vehicles better. Participants are also encouraged to consider new fuel-efficient vehicle technologies such as high efficiency engines and improved tyres, or products that may support vehicle efficiency such as “BP Ultimate Fuels” and BP’s “Castrol” lubricants. The ‘Neutralise’ stream encourages participants to offset the carbon emissions from unavoidable travel, and provides the facility to offset”[1] The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (‘CSL’ / ‘The Commission’) decided to conduct assurance of …

Move right down inside the cars

September 5, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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As we continue to cheer on ParalympicsGB in their superhuman effort to overhaul their record medals tally in Beijing, it is time to start applauding another slightly less obvious superhuman effort by Peter Hendy and his team at Transport for London. The doom mongers predicted disaster, London’s creaking Victorian transport system would not be able to cope with the vast numbers visiting London for the Games. It all worked well during the Olympics despite these gloomy predictions. “Ah”, said the cynics “wait until the Paralympics in September, the kids will be back at school, everybody will return to work, then the system will go into meltdown”. The theory was that everybody who was not interested in the Games stayed out of town in August but they would all return in September and the system would be unable to cope. On the Tuesday of the final week of competition this has not happened to date. My team travelled to all London venues and found the tube lines to be very busy as they often are at peak times. The Docklands Light Railway struggled a little and there were some queues but nothing like the queues of several hours that were predicted. …

Blind faith

September 4, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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Are visually impaired people getting a good deal from London 2012? “Everybody’s Games” was one of the inspirational phrases used by London 2012 leaders and politicians throughout the London 2012 programme. My experience to date suggests that the experience for most disabled people has been great. At the wonderful rowing venue at Eton Dorney the other day I was stopped by a wheelchair user who was keen to tell me this has been the best Paralympics ever for “us wheelies”. He was a veteran of Beijing and Athens and spoke with such enthusiasm it made me proud to have played a very small part in supporting “everybody’s Games”. However, there seems to be a small wave of feedback from visually impaired and blind people that could suggest they are getting a raw deal. Last week I met Robert Johnson on the BBC’s In Touch programme. A visually impaired visitor to many Olympic venues, he told his tales of frustration at trying to get audio commentary, without malice and with genuine constructive criticism. Inspired by his words I went along to the Paralympic rowing venue at Eton Dorney and asked some volunteers about audio commentary. They did not know and radio …

A whiter shade

August 31, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It was great to work with blind radio presenter Peter White again this week. He has done a lot for disabled people over the years and I admire his work. Peter frequently presents mainstream Radio 4 programmes such as “You and Yours” but my most recent contact with him was in his role as presenter for “In Touch” which he has presented since 1974 with a particular focus on blind and visually impaired people. Just this week I was involved in a debate with a blind Olympic and Paralympic Games Maker called Terry and a visually impaired spectator called Robert who had been to a wide variety of venues. LOCOG has placed a great deal of emphasis on the diversity of the workforce, volunteers and their supply chain. Their aim to have 6-10% of these workforces made up of disabled people was well on track to be achieved when we checked before the Games and I am confident that the final analysis will show this to be a success. It was great to hear Terry’s story, how he was trained and supported by LOCOG and how inspiring he found his role as a Games Maker. He said that he couldn’t …

Voluntary service

August 20, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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I have great memories of the Beijing 2008 Games and in particular the way China welcomed the world with a smile. Everywhere you went you would see hundreds of members of the Chinese public, always willing to help, polite, happy, smiley. However some of them were not very well informed but I didn’t really care – they made you feel better about being lost. However, I suspect there was also a message about China’s arrival on the world stage. All the volunteers I met were aged 18-25, well educated, graduates or students and ethnically Han Chinese. There were no old people, no disabled people, no Muslims or Buddhists. This was a statement about China’s emerging middle class. At the time I expressed a desire that London could and should do better. In contrast to Beijing, London 2012 aimed to reflect the diversity of London and the wider UK in its volunteer force. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a great opportunity to show off the rich diversity and inclusivity of our city and country. Of course, we won’t know the exact results against this target until after both Games have finished, but to the casual observer, the diversity of the …

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