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BioRegional: making London 2012 sustainable


WWF’s partnership with BioRegional, a fantastic social enterprise that helps organisations worldwide to be sustainable, has been a huge part of our work to make London 2012 the greenest Olympics ever.

BioRegional Olympic manager Duncan Cowan Gray

From the BioRegional office in BedZED, the first-of-its-kind sustainable community  in South London that the organisation helped create, BioRegional’s Olympic manager Duncan Cowan Gray gives us a whistlestop tour of what our partnership has achieved.

“Back in 2004, WWF and BioRegional worked with the London 2012 bid team to write the sustainability vision for the Games, which we called Towards a One Planet Olympics. Making sustainability part of the Olympics from the start was crucial. Experience shows we need to tackle the big challenges at the planning stage.

Since then, BioRegional and WWF have given regular feedback on the development and implementation of London 2012’s sustainability activities.

We recently reviewed how well London 2012 has done to put sustainability into action in our scorecard report. We believe London 2012 has set a new sustainability standard for future Games. But they have missed some opportunities to push sustainability a little faster and a little higher, and they could have focused more strongly on making changes beyond the Olympic Park.

Some of the things our partnership with WWF has done to help achieve this include:

Reducing waste

When construction workers demolished buildings to make way for sleek new Olympic sites, BioRegional was on the ground giving advice on how they could reuse old building materials and cut carbon emissions.

We then wrote an Olympic Park Reuse Strategy, which London 2012 incorporated into their construction plans. We hope the London Reuse Network, a group of charities that finds homes for used furniture and appliances, will be able to use our research to improve their work in East London.

Cutting carbon

The London 2012 Olympic stadium © jeffowenphotos The London 2012 Olympic stadium © jeffowenphotos

We did a carbon footprint study of the Olympic media broadcast centre and international press centre, looking at how they could be more sustainable.

We also helped the Carbon Action group map the carbon footprint for the whole Games – the first time an Olympics has ever done this. They used innovative methods which we would like to see all future Olympics put into action.

Inspiring sustainable lifestyles

We are motivating people to live more sustainable lifestyles right now during the Games with our One Planet Experience project, funded by DEFRA and supported by Coca-Cola.

We’re working in the athletes’ village to encourage 2,012 Olympians and Paralympians to make sustainability pledges. We’ll support them to make changes to their lifestyle and to act as inspirational role models for the rest of the country.

We’re also using the Olympics as inspiration to encourage people to lead more sustainable lifestyles at the BedZED show home in Sutton, south London – come along!

Creating a sustainable legacy

The true test of London 2012’s sustainability will be what happens after the Games. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will take over the Olympic park. We’re working with them to make sure the site is used well.

We set out a vision of how the park should be used after the Games in 2005, and we are pleased to say LLDC are making good progress towards this. Read more about what the LLDC is planning.”

Find out more about London 2012’s sustainability achievements – and join the discussion – at www.towardsaoneplanetolympics.com

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