Love over gold

Shaun McCarthy

March 28, 2011   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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The energy efficiency medal table?

It is a great privilege to be Chair of CSL. I see all aspects of sustainability for the Games and meet everybody involved with the agenda. This is quite a unique perspective and gets me involved with many different government bodies, NGOs, political leaders and more. This has been a steep learning curve for me as I come from a mostly corporate background and I have had to learn several new cultures and ways of working over the past four years. It is always good to return to my roots and meet with LOCOG’s commercial partners to understand what they are doing. It must be a bit like doing a job in a second language that you speak fluently and then returning home to converse in your mother tongue.

I met recently with Coca-Cola to understand what they are doing to reduce the carbon footprint of their product and operation, including their plans for recycling and HFC free cooling. This is the first time they have invested substantial resources into using their brand value and sponsorship of the Games to really push sustainability hard and it is very impressive. The project that most intrigued me was the development of a “One Planet Pavilion” in the Athletes’ Village. This brings together an unusual group with some funding from Defra under their “inspiring sustainable living” programme, delivery by BioRegional, an organisation deeply involved with the sustainability standards of the bid, and elite sport bodies such as the BOA, and the marketing and brand savvy of Coca-Cola. The idea is to create an interactive space in the Athletes’ Village where athletes can meet and learn more about sustainability. This is expected to help them be more sustainable in their behaviour but also to help use their image and influence to inspire young people to lead healthier and more sustainable lives.

This sounds great, but it could be whole lot better if we can think outside the box and engage other sponsors. For example, LOCOG are working with sponsors to put state of the art smart metering technology into the Village, and are also planning to display real time energy information at every venue and online. So why can’t we combine this with a bit of innovative software and create a real time display of the energy efficiency of each team within the Village? We have the technology and the One Planet Pavilion to showcase it. We could have an alternative medal table for the most energy efficient teams. This could be a talking point for athletes, a story for the media, good PR for sponsors and a photo opportunity for politicians. It would also do some good for the environment!

I have spoken to lots of people about this and I really hope they can make it happen. No disrespect to our friends over the Atlantic but I look forward to seeing the US team coming last for once!

Shaun McCarthy

March 2011

2 Responses to Love over gold

  1. Eleni Theodoraki says:

    Great idea. The competitive spirit will shine through and I believe that athletes will try their best to reach ‘gold’ on the energy efficiency podium, too!

  2. Shaun, I watch with great interest in your work with Action Sustainability, London 2012 and BS8903 …. I am currently studying Sustainable Procurement via CIPS Australia.

    My workplace runs a greenhouse games program which helps sporting clubs, scouts, workplaces encourage their group to be more sustainable and provides Sustainable prizes e.g. Compost bins, keep cups, worm farms to high performing teams to incentives them to do more!!

    I listened to your radio interview on the Olympics and the redevelopment of the Eastend …. Sounds great!!