Working Towards a More Sustainable Olympics

We’re all for businesses supporting Green Action. Here’s some good news on the upcoming Olympics…

Sport and competitions have been used as a goodwill aid and alternative to bloodshed for years. Lacrosse, for example, was created by the Native Americans as an effort to cease the incessant in-fighting between the various tribes. This afforded a non-violent solution to conflicts by employing healthy competition.

Older still, are the Olympic Games. The earliest organized competitive games were seen in Greece in the 5th and 6th centuries, BC. While the ancient Greek were no strangers to battle, the spirit of the Olympics evolved into what we see today.

The Olympics also have a distinct economic, political, and environmental aspect to them that has more of an effect on the country that’s holding the games than just their final medal count. These effects can be for better or sometimes for worse.

Photo by Sarah Bourne photography

Looking back at the 2008 summer Olympics, it’s clear to see the impact the games can have on a city and on a country. At the time, Beijing was arguably considered to have the most polluted air of any capital city in the world. Obviously, this was a problem for China, being that many athletes and sponsors found the air to be unsafe for competition. This caused Beijing to take the necessary requirements to clean up their city so that the games could be held safely. Many scientists refuted claims that Beijing had in fact cleaned its air at all, but the message was made: the Olympics have the power to get cities to address their environmental concerns.

This is why its important news that companies like GE & Dow Chemical have become official sponsors of the Olympic Games through 2020. General Electric has committed their innovative solar panels and wind turbines to help provide renewable energy to the event. Dow Chemical will now be the official chemical company of the Olympics, which should help diminish the games’ environmental impacts for the next decade by reducing waste, and conserving resources.

“With our long-standing commitment to global sustainability, innovation, scientific excellence and addressing world challenges, we believe Dow is perfectly matched to the vision of the Olympic Movement.”

Andrew Liveris, CEO and chairman of Dow Chemical

This sponsorship, along with many others, shows that the influence of the Olympics is greater than just sports; it can have an effect on the environments that they take place in as well. Despite this, the environment isn’t the only thing that the Olympic Games have an impact on.

Andrew Liveris has championed recent developments scheduled to be implemented over the next decade. Such sustainable innovations include waste water reclamation, advanced solar collectors, and environmentally friendly safety equipment (check out more information on some of their technologies slated to be used in 2012)

The economy of a host city can also be affected by these types of implementations. Initiatives like the Olympic Sponsors’ Summit are hoping that the games will provide a much needed jumpstart to the struggling economy of the greater London area. Benefits the host cities enjoy range from a boost in employment and economic activity in the area, to a possible £250m in sponsorships and contracts.

The Olympic Games are a time in which the world comes together to celebrate competition at its finest. The Olympics offer a chance to showcase the host city’s environmental and economic innovations, and can significantly reduce the impact on other future events.

Daniel Fielding is a guest author from Shades of Green, a Green Technology blog. He writes on issues related to conservation, waste reduction, and cool gadgets designed to help save the planet.

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