Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Faster, Higher, Greener: IOC shares progress in meeting sustainability goals

Faster, Higher, Greener: IOC shares progress in meeting sustainability goals
November 29, 2019

From the inauguration of its Olympic House - one of the world’s most sustainable buildings - to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 sustainability initiatives and the launch of the United Nations Sports for Climate Action, the past year has seen the International Olympic Committee (IOC) make significant progress in meeting its sustainability goals.

Released this week, the IOC Sustainability Progress Update highlights achievements against the organisation’s 2020 sustainability objectives, covering the sustainability work of the IOC as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.

Introducing the update, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chair of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, advised “we are proud of the significant progress we have made over the past 12 months.

“The IOC will continue to lead the Olympic Movement and the wider sporting world in taking effective action on sustainability. In 2020 and beyond, we will continue harnessing the immense power of sport to build a better, fairer and more sustainable world.”

At the organisation level, in June 2018 the IOC inaugurated its new headquarters, Olympic House. The building was awarded three of the most rigorous sustainable building certifications, including the highest level of the international LEED green building certification. Olympic House received the most points (93) of any LEED v4-certified new construction project to date, becoming one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

In addition, it was awarded the Minergie P certification, the Swiss standard for energy-efficient buildings, and was the first international headquarters to be awarded the Platinum Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard (SNBS) certification.

Improved recycling and waste management, new water-saving and energy efficiency features all contributed towards reaching these sustainability standards, with Olympic House estimated to use 35% less energy and 60% less municipal water than a conventional new construction. The IOC also received eight zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell cars from Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota. A hydrogen station was installed at Olympic House, distributing hydrogen sourced from renewable energy sources to supply the vehicles.

Thanks to its Official Carbon Partner Dow, the IOC’s estimated 2017-2020 residual carbon emissions have already been compensated. This has allowed the IOC to reach its “carbon neutrality” objective. The IOC-Dow global carbon mitigation programme goes far beyond balancing the IOC’s operational emissions; it will allow the IOC to deliver additional climate benefits from a portfolio of projects, enabled by Dow’s material science.

As the owner of the Olympic Games, the IOC has enhanced its cooperation with the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to help them incorporate sustainability in all aspects of the planning and staging of each Games.

As part of these efforts, the IOC created the Carbon Footprint Methodology for the Olympic Games, which helps OCOGs develop a carbon plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, enabling them to successfully measure and minimise their carbon footprint.

Alongside this methodology, the Olympic Games Guide on Sustainable Sourcing explains the IOC’s sustainable sourcing requirements and supports OCOGs in meeting them. The introduction of this guide is an important step towards a consistent, sustainable approach to sourcing goods and services for the Games.

The IOC has also enhanced its collaboration with Olympic Games stakeholders. As a result, a series of innovative sustainability initiatives have been put in place by Worldwide Olympic Partners ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. For example, P&G has launched a joint initiative with Tokyo 2020 to create the medal ceremony podiums out of plastic waste. The waste has been either donated by the public or recovered from oceans and waterways. After the Games, the podiums will be recycled back into packaging for P&G products. The uniforms of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torchbearers are also being produced in part from recycled plastic bottles collected by Worldwide Olympic Partner Coca-Cola; while Toyota is providing zero-emission vehicles for the Games, including fuel cell electric vehicles.

A key achievement of the IOC as the leader of the Olympic Movement has been the launch of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. The framework, which was co-developed by the IOC in partnership with UN Climate Change, calls on the sports community to jointly develop a climate action agenda for sport. More than 80 sports organisations have joined the Framework since its launch. The first meeting of the signatories was hosted by the IOC in September 2018, laying the groundwork for the Framework’s implementation.

To further accelerate the Olympic Movement’s action on climate, the IOC and Dow launched a new carbon initiative this year. The initiative is designed to boost the Olympic Movement’s sustainability efforts by offering carbon offsets as a reward for tangible climate action. To qualify, International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees must have signed the Sports for Climate Action Framework and prove that they are actively reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. So far, 10 IFs have been rewarded for their carbon reduction measures, achieved through initiatives in both their operations and events.

In addition, the IOC has published new guides as part of its “Sustainability Essentials” series. “Sports for Climate Action” was published in collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide the Olympic Movement members with an understanding of climate change and how to reduce their carbon emissions. “Sustainable Sourcing in Sport” was created to help sports organisations adopt more sustainable sourcing practices.

The IOC has also been empowering athletes to leverage their reach and influence to advance global sustainability. This has included supporting Great Britain’s Rio 2016 sailing gold medallist Hannah Mills to launch ‘The Big Plastic Pledge’ - a global campaign to unite athletes and fans around the issue of plastic pollution. Almost 200 elite athletes have signed the pledge so far.

Lower image shows Olympic House, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Related Articles

23rd November 2019 - Paris Mayor warns IOC of Airbnb ‘risks’ in advance of 2024 Olympics

19th November 2019 - Construction completed at Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium

13th November 2019 - Inaugural world Skateboarding Summit outlines pre 2020 Olympic plans

30th October 2019 - 12,000-seat Olympics gymnastics venue unveiled for Tokyo 2020

7th October 2019 - Reusable venue and event cup nominated for sustainability award

6th September 2019 - Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics looks to snow machines for event cooling

25th July 2019 - IOC ‘very satisfied’ with preparations for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

22nd July 2019 - Live Nation sets sustainability goals for concerts and live events

16th July 2019 - 2020 Olympics organisers provide Games venue construction update

29th June 2019 - International Olympic Committee overhauls bidding process for future Games

8th May 2019 - Olympic sport federations call for clarity on management of Tokyo Games

14th March 2019 - IOC and IUCN partner to release sustainable venue development guide

29th June 2018 - Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers look to showcase green technology

25th November 2017 - MCG’s sustainability initiatives recognised at National Energy Efficiency Awards

13th September 2017 - Venues around the world make increasing use of renewable energy

29th January 2016 - Tokyo 2020 publishes early plans for ‘sustainable, minimal impact’ Olympics

4th September 2015 - Margaret Court Arena receives LEED Gold certification

19th May 2013 - The Emergence of the Intelligent Venue

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


AUSTRALIAN MADE. FIT FOR PURPOSE. Based on the Gold Coast, AlphaFit is a leading manufacturer and supplier of Australian gym equipment specifically for the commercial, strength and conditioning,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Tim Batt Water Solutions

Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation / Technology / Venues



As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing


Again Faster

ABOUT Again Faster is a Brisbane based, Australian owned supplier of strength and conditioning and functional fitness equipment. With nearly 10 years experience in the Australian market, we are…

read more

Fitness / Recreation



Developed in Europe, this innovative system offers a safety management solution for swimming pools that checks individual swimmers via their wristband - monitoring their depth and time. Sensors…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Safety / Technology / Waterparks


Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more




Ausfit began in 1992, providing software services to the health and fitness sector including ClubWise, a fully hosted web-based product which combines state of the art club management software,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business