While Olympism help us to live in harmony with each other, this international sporting event’s unwritten rule may soon guide us how to live in harmony with the nature as well. In recent years no other world organisation might have promoted the concept of sustainability as the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has done, that too without being too vocal about the subject.
In 2019, IOC celebrated its 125 anniversary by building a structure which is considered to be one of the most sustainable structures in the world. “We wanted Olympic House to incorporate the elements of sustainability, credibility and youth – the same three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020. The building reflects these three elements that are so central to our mission,” President Thomas Bach had told at the time of new building’s inauguration. The new Olympic House combines the highest standards in architectural design with a holistic approach to sustainability. It incorporates rigorous criteria in energy and water efficiency, while optimising the health and wellbeing of its users. Pushing sustainability boundaries, Olympic House has recently received the most rigorous international and local sustainability certifications, a demonstration of the IOC’s commitment to walk the talk and lead by example.
The sustainability theme is not restricted to just Olympic House but has been carried forward in the subsequent sporting infrastructure development and Olympic villages as is visible in Tokyo Olympics. Under the banner ‘Be better, together – For the planet and the people’, the Games’ organisers aim to promote a circular economy that will benefit Tokyo’s 14 million residents well into the future. Tokyo 2020 has pledged to be ‘net carbon zero’ by reducing energy, resource consumption and minimizing construction. Where it hasn’t been possible to use renewable energy, green power certificates will be used to compensate for the use of non-renewable electricity.
The 68,000-seat Japan National Stadium, designed by Kengo Kuma, costing a not-small £1.2bn, is described as a “living tree”. It uses plenty of timber in its construction and is ringed with prominent horizontals, which are said to evoke the overhanging eaves of traditional Japanese buildings. In fact, 34 of the 42 venues at these Olympics are older buildings reused which is a new thing in the history of Olympics. Its not the end but just the beginning. For example, Paris, host of the 2024 Olympics, promises that 95% of its venues will be either existing or temporary, and that its carbon emissions will be halved in comparison to the last two editions of the Summer Games. So, the Olympics is going to be soon the torchbearer of the sustainability.