London Pledges 'First Sustainable Games'

London Pledges 'First Sustainable Games'

London has embraced the concept of the "One Planet Olympics" with the goal of achieving, in their own words, "the first sustainable Games" that respect ecological limits and cultural diversity, and creates "a legacy for sport, the environment and the local and global community."

All the cities short-listed to host the Games made pledges related to increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste, and promoting ecologically preferable venue design and sustainable transport and tourism. During the bidding process, most of the short-listed cities established a close working relationship with the United Nations Environment Program, receiving advice on the environmental aspects of their bids.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP, said, "I am happy for London and its citizens that they will host the Olympics in 2012 and even happier that the environment ranked high in all of the bids of cities who were looking to host this highly prestigious event."

"The fact that all the candidates [for the thirtieth Olympiad] featured the environment so prominently in their bids showed their commitment to the concept of sustainable cities," said Toepfer. "I am particularly pleased that many of the environmental commitments made by the bidding cities will still be implemented even though they will not in 2012 be hosting the Games."

Since 1994, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has worked closely with the United Nations Environment Program. In 2004, UNEP implemented a number of environmental awareness activities at the Athens Olympics Games, in collaboration with the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee and other partners. UNEP also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, and is preparing to sign a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Organizing Committee.

Toepfer said it was now up to London to implement its environmental plan for the Olympics, adding that "UNEP stands ready to assist in this important endeavor."