UK promises to green the Olympics

Organisers of the 2012 Olympic games in London have published a sustainability policy, promising that they will attempt to minimise its impact on the environment and ensure that UK businesses have a chance to benefit from the massive event.

On Wednesday, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell launched the policy – which has been drawn up by the various authorities that are organising the games.

It promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the games, minimise waste, improve the biodiversity of the areas surrounding the 2012 venues, promote healthy lifestyles and make sure the event is as inclusive as possible.

However the policy does not promise that the games will be carbon neutral, unlike the last Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Achim Steiner, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, praised the policy: “The environment has increasingly become a key and a winning competitor at the Olympic Games.”

Organisers will use energy efficient building designs and use “low carbon and renewable energy sources”, the two-page policy says. It also promises that the games will “provide a platform for demonstrating long term solutions” to environmental problems.

On waste, the policy promises to minimise waste and avoid using landfill sites where possible. It says: “Our aim is for the 2012 programme to be a catalyst for new waste management infrastructure in East London.”

Dame Kelly Holmes, who has won two gold medals for Britain, said: “We can be proud that the London 2012 Games will not only be providing great new venues for the athletes but will also be aiming to provide social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities of London and the UK.”

“We want to use the Games as a catalyst for social, economic and environmental benefits to strengthen communities and help boost the quality of life in the UK as well as to help to address important global issues such as climate change,” said London 2012 Chief Executive Paul Deighton.

Gretchen Hendriks

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