WWF: More Sustainable Practices for Beijing Olympics

Posted on 26 October 2007
Beijing, China -  WWF supports more sustainable practices and legacy building for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games today at the 7th World Conference on Sport and Environment. The three-day conference which commenced yesterday in Beijing, is attended by Olympic organizers, athletes, NGOs, sponsors and sporting industry experts and focuses on the environmental issues of the Beijing Olympics as well as future Games.

Speaking at the conference on the One Planet Olympics approach, WWF China Country Representative Dermot O'Gorman called upon Olympic organizers to continue their focus on sustainability and increasingly use the Games as a way to inspire more progress on broader environmental issues within China. By working with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), WWF has implemented projects like the use of certified timber in the construction of an Olympics Village kindergarten, and support of an Olympic Gymnasium solar panel energy programme. Both sides are working to continue these green initiatives long after closing of the 2008 Olympics.

"Taking part in the 7th World Conference, it is obvious to me that so many are working on innovative and practical solutions towards 'Green' Olympics in Beijing," says O'Gorman. "WWF wants to see our initiatives at the Olympics make a long lasting impression on China that everyone can do a part to protect our natural resources and be energy efficient."
Through its Go for Gold global campaign, WWF is also calling Olympic athletes to commit to a carbon neutral trip for the Beijing Games by donating the equivalent of the carbon cost of their flight to a Gold Standard climate-change offset project. Since the campaign began March of this year, it has generated interest from a number of countries around the world, and WWF China has now launched the Go for Gold website (www.wwfchina.org/greenolympics). The bilingual website provides information on carbon offsetting, an action guide for interested Olympians and National Olympic Committees (NOC), and tips for individuals coming to the Games on how to reduce and offset their carbon emissions.

In a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report on the Beijing Olympics released yesterday, one of its main concerns is the missed opportunity to offset greenhouse gases related to the Olympics. WWF believes the opportunity can be found not only in the Games infrastructure, but that by offsetting through the Go for Gold campaign, individuals and athletes can also help contribute to a truly "Green" Olympics. "With campaigns such as Go for Gold, WWF China is paving the way for the sustainable Olympic Games of the future," says Simon Lewis, WWF UK's Olympic spokesman, from the Beijing conference.


Gold Standard:
The Gold Standard is the first independent best-practice benchmark for the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation greenhouse gas projects, which was formally established in 2003 after long-term consultation with government departments, environmental agencies, private enterprises (including investors and project developers) and certification organizations. For more information, please visit www.cdmgoldstandard.org.

Long-distance flights are responsible for 2 per cent of the world's carbon emissions each year. With an estimate 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries and regions due to arrive by air in China for the Olympics, the event will cause the injection of hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Offsetting your emissions means adding a price to the cost of a polluting activity, such as flying, driving a car, heating or cooling. The additional money is being invested in projects that reduce overall global emissions, such as clean energy plants or energy efficiency projects. Prices for one emission credit (the equivalent of 1 tonne of CO2 emissions) range from 5 to over 15 euro. A flight from Paris to Beijing would emit around 2000 kg of CO2 for an economy flight with modest luggage. Athletes with their often cumbersome gear could expect to encounter offset costs of up to 100 euro on average. WWF is recommending the following sales points for Olympic travellers as trustworthy: www.climatefriendly.com, www.myclimate.org, www.atmosfair.de, www.nativeenergy.com, and www.tricoronagreen.com.

One Planet Olympics:
WWF is already working in the UK to support London 2012's pledge to work towards a One Planet Olympic Games. The One Planet Olympic concept was jointly devised by WWF, London 2012 and sustainability partners, BioRegional, as London bid for the Games and has now become a formal part of London抯 plans. The One Planet approach seeks to minimize the "Footprint" of the Games and engage Olympic planners, sponsors and audiences in maximizing the sustainability benefits of the Games and the legacy they leave behind.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Chaplin, Communications Officer, WWF-China
+86 10 6511 6237