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Commission publishes Post-Games Report

November 14, 2012   |   Posted by Jemma Percy

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The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 has published its in-depth review into whether the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games truly delivered the promised levels of sustainability. The post-Games report, entitled London 2012 – From Vision to Reality, presents the final conclusions through key sustainability themes, with information based on first-hand observations and data gathered by the Commission during Games-time. The report concludes that the London 2012 Games broadly delivered against its sustainability objectives, and highlights several examples of leading practice which the Commission urges future Olympic and Paralympic organisers to follow. Using today’s release of its post-Games report, the Commission has called on the UK to lead the charge in ensuring London’s lessons are firmly embedded into the events industry. Ambitious sustainability targets such as zero waste to landfill and 70% waste to be re-used, recycled or composted are on track thanks to efforts such as meticulous attention to packaging and the effective use of the colour coded three-bin system. The transport system delivered an excellent service, and London 2012 should be praised for being the first Games to offer a fully comprehensive mobility service. Comprehensive public transport options and effective planning meant that the logistical operation for …

They think it’s all over

  |   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” …

Commission statement on allegations of excessive food waste

September 13, 2012   |   Posted by Jemma Percy

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On 31st August 2012 the Commission received allegations from BBC London News that catering staff were being asked to throw away excessive quantities of food immediately after cooking at the athletes catering facility at Royal Holloway village, which served athletes competing in the rowing and flatwater canoe/kayak events at Eton Dorney. Background The BBC had approached LOCOG several days before they contacted the Commission and were issued with a statement denying the allegations, saying that this was the action of one disgruntled ex-employee. There had been no communication between LOCOG and the Commission before being approached by the BBC. The Commission was presented with some of the evidence before the news item was broadcasted on 7th September 2012. After the broadcast new evidence that was not used was presented to the Commission in confidence. These included photographs, additional video footage and transcripts of interviews. We were advised that 6 whistle blowers had made the allegations; their identity remains confidential to BBC London News. Given the evidence presented, this was investigated under our emerging issues procedure. LOCOG and Aramark have co-operated fully with this investigation. Context It is important to understand the scale of this operation. Catering for elite Olympic and …

Athletes Village canteen

Let’s spend the night together

July 16, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It is some time since I was invited to a slumber party so the opportunity to be part of LOCOG’s commissioning event for the Olympic Village was very welcome. They invited around 1,000 guests to spend an evening in the Athlete’s Village and to stay over in one of the apartments. A great honour and I thank LOCOG for inviting me along. On arrival we were transported by bus from Stratford station, my bus driver let his engine idle while we were waiting which is against LOCOG’s policy but I was assured by my fellow guests that their busses had their engines switched off. Let’s put that down to fate, the one bus I happened to take had the engine running. Bad luck rather than bad planning hopefully. Progress through security was quick and efficient, the massive temporary structure had no air conditioning but it was very cool from natural ventilation and there was plenty of natural light. My first impression and an over- riding impression of the whole event was how friendly, helpful and well informed the staff were. There was always somebody there with a smile able to help. This contrasted slightly with my experience in Beijing where …

Streets of fire

May 18, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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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 …

Rubbish Bin - Aquatics Centre

Conversation killer Queen

August 1, 2011   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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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 …

Waste1

What a waste

April 5, 2010   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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The Commission’s recent waste review highlighted some great practice but I can’t help feeling disappointed. Good practice is transitory and of little benefit if it does not inspire change. The ODA have performed in exemplary manner: 97% waste diverted from landfill during demolition and 90%+ during construction. The second edition of the London 2012 Sustainability Plan introduced a new target to use “reasonable endeavours” to achieve 90%+ reuse or recycling after the Games. This is a remarkable target for the event management industry, which is usually very wasteful, particularly after an event, the period known as “bump-out” by the industry may just as well be called “skip-fest”. For the Games themselves LOCOG has gone one better, promising zero waste to landfill at Games-time and at least 70% of this to be re-used, recycled or composted. The Commission’s waste review scrutinised these plans and we were very impressed. We are confident this ambitious target can be achieved. However, the Games promised more than this, it promised to “act as a catalyst for good waste management practice in East London”. This is simply not happening and in my opinion the waste industry and government organisations that support it have let the side …

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