POSTED: November 3rd 2016

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ: Environmental Initiatives and the 2024 Olympic Bid Cities

Beke thermal spa in Budapest © Spa Dreams
Beke thermal spa in Budapest © Spa Dreams

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti inaugurates 900th New Flyer Clean Bus © Mayor of LA
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti inaugurates 900th New Flyer Clean Bus © Mayor of LA

THE DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ COLUMN in MELBOURNE / An authoritative and exclusive series from Sports Features Communications

(SFC) When we look at the triple-bottom line of impacts leading to legacies for Olympic Games, much of the focus is put on economics and social initiative - with the third, environmental, often acknowledged but not always being at the forefront.

As we continue to hear about environmental health and degradation, as well as related issues including sustainability, greening, climate change, pollution, renewable energy, and carbon footprints, what are the 2024 Olympic Bids cities proposing to do in these areas.

Budapest 2024 has a national sustainability strategy that is linked to both European Union and United Nations programs and is led by the Ministry of Agriculture - whose main responsibility is for environmental protection and biodiversity.  More specifically, the National Council for Sustainable Development oversees the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development of Hungary 2012-2024, which is supported by Hungary's National Climate Change Strategy 2008-2025 and the National Environmental Program 2015-2020, as well as the Environmental Program of Budapest 2016-2021.   They also intend to highlight international environmental standards in all new construction, including certification of green buildings according to LEED and BREEAM standards.  One example from Ivan Rozsa, Director of Communications of Budapest 2024 about the new aquatics complex being built for FINA 2017, "Sustainability and energy efficiency are important factors when designing Olympic Aquatics Arena in Budapest: 37-degree water will be processed from Béke thermal well to warm the swimming pool."

In Los Angeles, they are working to develop innovative solutions to accelerate their goals for clean renewable energy and achieve environmental resiliency through water conservation, energy consumption, and green infrastructure initiatives.  For example, the city already boasts the largest clean air bus fleet in the United States.  As part of the long-term development plans for the City of Los Angeles, they will strive to host a sustainable Games in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals articulated in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  According to LA2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman, "LA 2024 will be the greenest Games in history, including the first ever energy positive Games. And with our wealth of existing stadiums, housing and transportation options, LA 2024 has a minimal construction budget, giving us the dual benefit of avoiding the environmental impact of large, complex new projects and focusing our resources on a partnership with the IOC to deliver 'what's next' in sustainable sports event hosting."

As far as the Paris 2024 bid, they have as part of their 'Legacy Paris 2024' structure that has been created to ensure a multitude of impacts and legacies - including environmental issues being addressed through Environmental Excellence Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of experts from across the social and environmental professions representing many national governing bodies and both local and international non-profit organizations.  One of the major goals of the committee is to work towards securing an ISO 20121 sustainability certificate - a best-practice standard developed for major events - to become the first Olympic Bid to ever hold such a designation.   

According to Paris 2024 Co-Chairman Tony Estanguet, the work of this committee "underlines the bid's commitment to sustainability and environmental best practice, [and] with sustainable development being at the heart of our campaign since the very beginning, as our bid continues to develop we are looking forward to receiving input and recommendations from the committee, which is made up of highly qualified individuals in this field."

The environmental impact and legacies being proposed in all three bids will continue to evolve over the next months leading to the vote for the host of the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, to take place in Lima, Peru on September 13, 2017. 

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. He has been an academician for 15 years in the areas of sport business management, international tourism, and hospitality management - with special focus on the areas of sport marketing, sport finance, tourism, and facility/event management. He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in these areas, as well as been actively involved in consulting projects working with a multitude of sport and community organizations ranging from grassroots efforts to hallmark events.  

Keywords · Olympics · 2024 Games · Budapest · Los Angels · Paris

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