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Pride at London 2012 over sustainability goals

London 2012 has concluded an appraisal of its green aspirations and concluded that broadly its sustainability targets were met.

But the success of the Games – and unprecedented popular support for related events around the UK – meant that the organisers underestimated the total carbon footprint.

The Post-Games Sustainability Report presents results and key learnings from integrating a sustainability programme into the world’s largest event.

London 2012 say the report is intended as a resource and tool to help future Olympic and Paralympic Games and global events organisers embed sustainability into planning their events.

It said: “Given the huge popular success of the London Games, which included 15m people lining the route of the Olympic Torch Relay and full venues throughout the Games, the component of associated spectator-related emissions was inevitably larger than originally estimated”.

The final results and learnings, based methodology giving a predictive model of likely carbon emissions, called a ‘reference footprint’, include:

  • 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent saved Construction carbon footprint 15 % lower than reference footprint
  • Games operations carbon footprint 28% lower than reference
  • 86% of venue overlay materials hired
  • 34% reduction in venue energy use saving 31,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
  • London 2012 Transport Plan achieved 30% carbon reduction for domestic spectator travel

There was also a target of being the Zero waste Games and achievements listed included:

  • From July – October 2012 100% of event operations waste was diverted from landfill
  • By conventional measures 82% of operational waste was reused, recycled or composted, whereas the true figure was 62%, taking into account waste stream contamination and processing efficiencies
  • 73% of spectators surveyed during the Games said that the waste stream logos on packaging made it clear in which bin to put their waste.

The report also notes that nearly £8m worth of Games equipment and materials have been sold for reuse; wood, plasterboard, lighting and doors have all been redeployed at local charities, building projects and community programmes; and some of the equipment was given to local charities, schools and to sport National Governing Bodies.

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