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Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers look to showcase green technology

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

Mindfull of the environmental footprint of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the Games Organising Committee believes that making the Games sustainable is looking to showcase a range of green technology innovations.

In a recent interview with Kyodo News, Yuki Arata, Senior Director of Sustainability for Tokyo 2020, advised “cutting carbon emissions, is a top priority worldwide (and with) the Paris Agreement starting in 2020 the goal set forth is towards zero carbon.

“(However), as long as people live in a modern society, it is impossible to have absolutely no emissions of greenhouse gases. What's important is being able to ascertain the greenhouse gases we ourselves are emitting, and finding ways to avoid or reduce them.”

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games last month released a sustainability operation plan, announcing its intention to work ‘Towards Zero Carbon’ during the preparations for the Games and when they take place.

The ambitious plan, which seeks to contribute to the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) addressing such issues as climate change, and sustainable consumption and production, calls for the maximum use of renewable energy sources during the Games.

As a result, Tokyo 2020 intends to have all electricity used at competition venues and the athletes' village generated by renewables.

To achieve this, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will cooperate with Tokyo 2020 so that the credits of the Tokyo cap-and-trade program can be used to offset Games-related greenhouse gases.

With flying in thousands of athletes, staff and officials as well as millions of spectators to and from the Games set to leave a huge carbon footprint, Arata adds “the Olympics and Paralympics are mega sports events, and the carbon emissions related to having thousands of athletes and millions of spectators participate aren't negligible. But with the focus being on Japan, we see this as an important opportunity to showcase how to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Arata said that without taking any special measures, the 2020 Tokyo Games would generate an estimated 3.01 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, compared with 3.45 million metric tons and 3.56 million metric tons of CO2 at the London Games and Rio Games, respectively.

Under the slogan ‘Be better, together’, Arata advises that Tokyo 2020 has laid out five main themes - climate change, resource management, biodiversity, human rights, and communication and engagement - so as to "reduce adverse impact and maximize positive impact for the planet and the people."

Tokyo 2020 also plans to use carbon offsets to significantly compensate for its greenhouse gases emissions.

Arata explains “we plan to implement energy-saving measures and CO2 reduction methods in the preparation stage and during the Games and utilize renewable energy for further reductions", adding that having nearly 60% of competition venues use existing facilities would produce a reduction of about 80,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Toward its goal of ‘zero wasting’, included under the theme of resource management, Tokyo 2020 aims to achieve 99 percent reuse or recycling across all procured items and goods in the delivery of the Games to minimize resource waste and degradation of ecosystems.

For example, approximately 5,000 medals to be awarded at the Games will be forged from recycled precious metals recovered from used smartphones, digital cameras, computers and other small electronic devices handed in by consumers for that purpose in a program that has already begun.

While Olympic medals have been made from recycled metals previously, this is the first time a country's citizens have been involved in the endeavor.

Arata advised “getting citizens involved in the project to become aware of the problems of resource circulation has the effect of leading them to take action.”

According to Tokyo 2020, as of March 2018, more than 70%, or 1,404, of municipalities had taken part in the nationwide medals project, recovering about 14,636 metric tons of metals from electronic devices. NTT Docomo shops had collected about 3.3 million used mobile phones, smartphones and tablets.

Elsewhere, Tokyo 2020 sees the Games as a testing ground for Japan's long-term goal of realising a ‘hydrogen society’ based on the Toyota Motor Corp. and other leading Japanese manufacturers betting on hydrogen as the wave of the future for sustainable and clean technology.

The International Olympic Committee's Olympic Agenda 2020 urged Tokyo 2020 to host the first ‘SDGs Olympics’ from the planning stage, with the Olympic governing body stating its commitment to reduce the environmental and economic burden on potential host cities arising from the large construction projects required to host the Games.

The Tokyo 2020 Games will use 43 venues, including 25 existing, 10 temporary and eight new permanent venues - most of which are in two central zones of the capital.

According to Tokyo 2020, the new Olympic Stadium and other permanent venues will become community facilities that will enhance the quality of urban life after the Games - creating a sustainable legacy for future generations.

Images: Venues such as the Yokohama Stadium will be reused at the Tokyo 2020 Games (top), Tokyo Games promotion (middle) and the planned Olympic Village (below).

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27th November 2017 - FIRST NEW PERMANENT VENUE OPENS FOR TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS 

6th November 2017 - IOC LOOKS TO CENTRALISE OLYMPIC GAMES TICKETING 

5th October 2017 - IOC LOOKS AT OLYMPIC VILLAGES AS A SOURCE FOR GAMES COST REDUCTIONS

27th September 2017 - BANKS LOOK TO REVERSE POOR TICKET SALES FOR PYEONGCHANG 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS

18th August 2017 - AIS PERFORMANCE MANAGER TO LEAD SURFING’S CHARGE TO TOKYO OLYMPICS

21st July 2017 - JAPANESE TICKETING AGENCY PIA PLANS ITS OWN CONCERT ARENA 

19th June 2017 - JAPAN LOOKS TO FUTURE SPORT INDUSTRY GROWTH 

29th April 2017 - TOKYO 2020 AND RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019 ORGANISERS JOIN FORCES

2nd October 2016 - TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM BUILDING CONTRACT FINALLY APPROVED

23rd September 2016 - IOC PRESIDENT PROCLAIMS ‘TIME OF ASIA’ AS SPORTS MINISTERS SIGN DECLARATION IN PYEONGCHANG 

4th August 2016 - NEW SPORTS CONFIRMED FOR THE 2020 TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES

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1st February 2015 - REPORT SUGGESTS ELITE AND GRASSROOTS SPORT AT RISK FROM CLIMATE CHANGE


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