How green is Glasgow? 10 sustainability facts about the 2014 Commonwealth Games

The 20th Commonwealth Games has just begun with thousands of athletes competing in more than 250 events. The games have also tried to develop a successful legacy for the city of Glasgow and the organising committee have announced a commitment to sustainability.

But what does this commitment consist of? Here are 10 edie sustainability facts about Glasgow 2014:

1) Glasgow 2014 was presented with its certificate for achieving ISO 20121, the international standard for sustainable event management, in June this year.

2) The Commonwealth Games SECC (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre) venue in Glasgow was the first venue to sign up to Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Resource Efficiency Pledge’ in April. The pledge challenges organisers to enact between three and six sustainability actions over 12 months. The venue is the Games’ largest precinct venue, hosting judo, wrestling, gymnastics and netball.

3) Recycled food waste has been used to construct Commonwealth Games venues. Food and garden waste has been collected from households throughout Scotland, recycled at GP Plantscape’s In-Vessel Composting facility, and used grow turf at the Athletes’ Village and at some of the sporting arenas.

4) Solar PV panels have been installed on more than 700 homes in the Athlete’s Village in Dalmarnock, which will produce 60% less carbon than average houses.

5) The Glasgow 2014 organising committee is reusing 260,000 items of furniture, fittings and equipment from the London 2012 Olympics. The items were transported to Scotland for use in the Athletes’ Village. The carbon footprint for the journey by sea was estimated at 41.77 tonnes of CO2.

6) The games set an early sustainability benchmark by choosing to host events in existing venues. 70% of the venues that will be used in the Games were already completed before planning began. For example, Hampden Park, home of Scotland’s national football team, has been converted for use as an athletics stadium.

7) The carbon footprint of travelling to the events is being cut, as public transport is being provided free of charge to all ticket holders on the day of the event and to the entire workforce for the Games.

8) The Commonwealth Games organising committee and Zero Waste Scotland plan to divert 80% of waste from the games away from landfill sites and encourage recycling and composting by businesses and visitors.

9) Zero Waste Scotland has appointed ‘Recycling Ambassadors’, volunteers who will help visitors with recycling at Glasgow Green hub and ensure that waste from the opening and closing ceremony parties is cleaned up in an environmentally-friendly way.

10) The Games’ legacy policy involves urban and environmental regeneration. The Athletes’ Village is set to become affordable housing with large green areas and there are plans to regenerate the derelict site at Cuningar Loop on the River Clyde into a woodland park.


Glasgow 2014 has been criticised by environmental groups for reneging on commitments to deliver a long-term sustainability legacy with no plans to calculate a carbon footprint for the Games. Promises to introduce Low Emission Zones around the venues are not being delivered by the Organising Committee, according to Friends of the Earth Scotland. Scottish cities are estimated to be 10 years behind on tackling air pollution and Glasgow is not expected to reach air quality targets until 2025. 

Matt Field

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