Can the Olympic and Paralympic Games be held in a climate-friendly way?
Yes, they can, and they must. Even more. According to the IOC, all Olympic Games must be held in a climate-friendly manner from 2030 onward. Next year’s Games in Paris have already been committed to this goal: One way in which the goal will be reached is through a massive reduction in CO2 emissions. During the 2024 Games in Paris, for example, only half as much CO2 will be emitted as during the 2012 Games in London or the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Of course, we have no way of knowing what the world will look like in ten years, or what options there will be when it comes to protecting the climate and keeping the footprint of an event like the Olympics as minimal as possible. In any case, that is our objective; if the Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be held in Germany, then they must be held to the highest standards in all areas of sustainability – especially in the area of climate protection.
Of course, we have no way of knowing what the world will look like in ten years, or what options there will be when it comes to protecting the climate and keeping the footprint of an event like the Olympics as minimal as possible. After all, construction projects are major contributors to CO2 emissions. Since existing or temporary sports facilities will be exclusively used for Your Games., many tons of greenhouse gases will be eliminated.
In other areas, such as transportation, logistics, and energy, the first step is to develop the best possible concepts aimed at keeping emissions as low as possible. Increased use of local public transport and rail or the use of green electricity, for example, play important roles in this regard. More information on this matter will be provided in the answers below.
It goes without saying that it is impossible to eliminate all emissions at a major international event such as the Games. Therefore, all unavoidable emissions will be compensated via local and international projects. The Olympic Forest, for example, is a reforestation project in the Sahel region of Africa. What ideas or requirements do you have in mind for climate-friendly Games? Write to us.
In which areas should sustainability be achieved?
Preventing greenhouse emissions is, of course, only one aspect of environmental sustainability. Areas of action also include construction & resource consumption, nature & landscape, energy & water supply, transport, waste prevention, and many more. In order to make Your Games. truly sustainable, we will measure ourselves against the highest independent standards in all of these areas.
As we are 10 years away from the next available Games edition for which we might bid, it is clearly too early to draw up a final concept. We will, however, cooperate with various experts and develop a sustainability concept on our journey to the Games that meets the highest standards.
This will naturally also cover social and economic sustainability aspects. You can find more information on these two aspects in the Society and Economics sections.
Will new stadiums be built for the Olympic Games?
No. Germany’s sports infrastructure is outstanding. Therefore, we can and will be able to rely on 100% existing or temporarily upgraded sports facilities for both the Summer and Winter editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This will make the Games more environmentally friendly, because new constructions would have a negative impact on the climate and the environment in a number of ways: from land and resource consumption to the CO2-intensive production of concrete. And also, it will save us a lot of money. For more information, click here.
Now, the IOC even prohibits the new construction of certain sports venues in case their long-term use beyond the Games is not given. Images of the dilapidated toboggan run in Sarajevo (1984) or the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (2016) will thus be a thing of the past.
How environmentally harmful is traveling to the Games?
Whether it is a sporting event, a concert, or a trade fair: Major events regularly attract large numbers of visitors – at the Olympics, several hundred thousands per day. On top of that, there is the Olympic Family, that is, the athletes, officials, entourage, etc. How can the transport of so many people be managed in an environmentally friendly way?
Our aim is to achieve virtually zero-emission transport within and between the venues. In other words: the use of rail or public transport, powered by green electricity, or arrival by bicycle or on foot.
Air travel will continue to be problematic. During the 2024 European Football Championship, almost two-thirds of the total emissions will be generated by flights. That is why we are committed to infrastructural investments in the German and European rail networks. After all, they will make an important contribution to climate-neutral mobility even beyond the Games.
What role does sustainability play in a possible Olympic bid?
Major sporting events are not only a great event for athletes and international fans, but also both a challenge and an opportunity for the idea of sustainability.
To this end, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the German Sport University Cologne and the Öko-Institut e. V. are currently working on a groundbreaking project called “Sustainable (Major) Sporting Events in Germany”.
It sets new standards for the sustainable organisation of international sporting events. To this end, impulses from society, politics and sport are being taken up and translated into concrete action. The project includes various measures with the aim of making events ecologically responsible, socially fair and economically viable.
You can find more information at: nachhaltige-sportveranstaltungen.de