Latest IOC Sustainability Report highlights 2017-2020 achievements across the Olympic Movement 

The third International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sustainability Report has advised that the IOC has achieved 15 of its 18 sustainability objectives for the period 2017-2020, raising its ambition to address climate change and helping to make sustainability mainstream across the Olympic Movement.

The IOC Sustainability Report 2021 also reveals the organisation’s 17 new objectives for 2021-2024, focusing on climate, biodiversity and the circular economy, and further advancing sustainability across the Olympic Movement.

Highlights of the 2017-2020 objectives achieved include:

IOC as an organisation
• Completion of the IOC’s new headquarters, Olympic House, as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world
• Achievement of carbon neutrality for the period 2017-2020, thanks to the IOC-Dow global carbon mitigation program

IOC as owner of the Olympic Games
• Ensuring that sustainability is addressed as a strategic topic with cities from the earliest stages of the Future Host process.
• Reinforcing sustainability commitments in the Host Contract, including for all upcoming Games editions to be carbon neutral, and climate positive from 2030 onwards

IOC as leader of the Olympic Movement
• Co-launching and leading on the implementation of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework
• Ensuring the exchange of information and best practices between Olympic Movement stakeholders

In the foreword to the report, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chair of the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission, writes “we can confidently state that sustainability is now firmly embedded as an executive priority within the IOC, and this ethos flows into our corporate ways of working, our focus on ensuring sustainable Olympic Games, and how we engage with the wider Olympic Movement.”

Addressing the climate crisis
The report goes on to say that while COVID-19 has been the most disruptive factor affecting the IOC, most notably through the postponement of Tokyo 2020, the fast-accelerating climate crisis is likely to represent one of the future’s greatest challenges.

Having achieved carbon neutrality for the period 2017-2020, the IOC has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, and to becoming climate positive by the end of 2024. This means that it will be removing more carbon from the air than it emits. From 2030, all Olympic Games will also be required to be climate positive.

The creation of an Olympic Forest as part of Africa’s Great Green Wall is an integral part of the IOC’s climate positive commitment, while the 2019 opening of the IOC’s new headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland – which has been certified as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world – has been another highlight.

The UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, co-launched in 2018 by the IOC and UN Climate Change, has so far garnered almost 300 signatories. They are now required by UN Climate Change to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, and aim to achieve net zero by 2040. The IOC continues to lead on the implementation of the Framework.

Mainstreaming sustainability
To facilitate its sustainability work, the IOC has recently integrated the themes of sustainability, legacy, gender equality and inclusivity, and human rights into one Corporate and Sustainable Development Department.

Sustainability has also become further integrated into the process for selecting future hosts of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Both the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 have sustainability at the centre of their Games concepts.

To advance the sharing of information across the sports world, the IOC has produced a series of guidance documents on topics such as carbon footprinting, sustainable sourcing and biodiversity. Aimed at Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), these resources represent a valuable open-source information tool for the broader sports sector. The IOC has also supported the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in the launch of the Sustainability.Sport platform, which is intended to be used as a library by sports organisations.

An increasing number of IFs now have a publicised strategic commitment to sustainability, and more are working with the IOC to develop a strategy. Going forward, the IOC will continue its work guiding and supporting the IFs in the development of their sustainability strategies.

Looking ahead: IOC’s Sustainability Objectives 2021-2024
IOC: carbon reduction and Olympic Forest

Of the 17 new objectives, four relate to the IOC as an organisation, and cover carbon emissions, the Olympic Forest, sustainable sourcing and training for IOC staff. They include work on reducing the IOC’s CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, with a 30% reduction by 2024; and creating an Olympic Forest to support the IOC’s climate positive commitment, while delivering long-term social and biodiversity benefits to communities in Mali and Senegal.

Olympic Games: climate-positive Games and ‘no-go’ in protected areas
There are five objectives for the Olympic Games, which focus on climate, biodiversity, human rights and sustainable tourism. These include assisting and accelerating the transition to climate-positive Olympic Games, and a requirement that no permanent Olympic construction occurs in statutory nature and cultural protected areas or UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Olympic Movement: sustainability strategies and empowering athletes
The eight objectives in the IOC’s role as leader of the Olympic Movement include working with the IFs to have a sustainability strategy in place by 2024; assisting the IFs and NOCs in joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework; and working with athletes and other role models within the sports world to raise awareness about sustainability.

Main image credit: IOC.

Related Articles

7th January 2022 – Beijing Games Organisers pledge to deliver sustainable Winter Olympics

6th January 2022 – Winter Olympics-themed ice park opens in Chinese city of Harbin

5th January 2022 – Beijing Winter Olympics staff enter ‘bubble’ at Games venues

3rd December 2021 – New legislation establishes Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee

29th November 2021 – World Athletics publishes study into online abuse of athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

24th November 2021 – IOC partnership with world conference on Women and Sport will advance gender equality and inclusivity

12th November 2021 – Beijing ice sports venue to operate at one-fifth capacity during Winter Olympics

8th November 2021 – Brisbane Olympics faces sustainability challenge in bid to be first ‘climate-positive’ Games

1st November 2021 – Sport Group and BASF partner to deliver sustainable sports flooring

9th October 2021 – Officials acknowledge COVID challenges facing Beijing Winter Olympics

29th July 2021 – UNSW researcher assesses Tokyo Olympics’ sustainability credentials 

22nd July 2021 – Brisbane Olympic bid secures 72 of IOC member’s 77 votes for 2032 Games hosting

11th June 2021 – National Sports Convention 2021 to present ‘bold and sustainable agenda’

9th April 2021 – United Nations Secretary-General highlights power of sport for an inclusive and sustainable future

11th March 2021 – Thomas Bach re-elected for another four-year term as IOC President

2nd March 2021 – Sustainable Spa Association reveals that a third of spa businesses contribute to United Nations SDGs

8th February 2021 – IOC President says Beijing 2022 will ‘transform winter sports’

19th January 2021 – La Trobe University’s Sports Stadium recognised for sustainability

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

20th September 2019 – International sport bodies unite to combat climate change

10th September 2019 – New report highlights the impact of climate change on cricket

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

6th February 2019 – Climate change set to impact Australia’s summer sporting calendar

1st February 2015 – Report suggests elite and grassroots sport at risk from climate change

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you’re here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine – if you don’t already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here