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Being ‘Sustainable’ Means Providing Peoples’ Long-Term Needs

We want London 2012 to be the first ‘sustainable’ Games, setting new standards for major events. Photo Courtesy of

Being ‘sustainable’ means providing for peoples’ current and long-term needs, improving quality of life while ensuring a healthy and thriving natural environment. As the most high-profile event in the world, the Games give us the chance to show how changes to the way we build, live, work, do business and travel could help us to live happy and healthy lives, within our planet’s resources.

London put sustainability at the heart of its bid for the 2012 Games, framed by the concept of ‘Towards a One Planet Olympics’. This was derived from the WWF/BioRegional concept of ‘One Planet Living®’ , which shows the challenges facing us in stark terms: if everybody in the world lived the same lifestyle as we do in the UK, we would need three planets’ worth of resources to support us.

This idea forms the basis of our plans for sustainable development in the UK and, more broadly, the way in which we can use the Games to highlight global issues such as climate change.

London 2012 and the London 2012 stakeholders share a commitment to maximise sustainability through the phases of the Games – building the venues and infrastructure, staging the Games themselves and then long into the future – focusing on five key areas:

  • combating climate change;
  • reducing waste;
  • enhancing biodiversity;
  • promoting inclusion; and
  • improving healthy living.

This programme-wide approach forms our vision for a One Planet 2012.

Sustainability assurance

It is important to us that people know how we are performing against our sustainability aims from a trusted source. To ensure we stick to our promises, an independent scrutiny body – Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 – has been set up to monitor us.

Latest update

In January 2008, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) confirmed it is beating its target to ensure sustainable principles are at the heart of cleaning and clearing the Olympic Park.

The ODA is:

  • beating the target to reclaim 90 per cent of demolition material for recycling or reuse
  • reclaiming materials to reuse in designs of venues and parklands
  • recycling complete buildings to be re-assembled off site
  • translocating wildlife and creating new habitats including a wildlife corridor to the north of the Park

To date, the following has been reclaimed:

  • 80 lamposts
  • 160 manhole covers and 187 gulleys
  • 18 square metres of clay and slate roof tiles
  • Two tonnes of red bricks
  • 117 tonnes of Yorkstone
  • 100 tonnes of cobble/granite
  • 41 tonnes of paving bricks and 35 tonnes of paving slabs
  • 1,200m of granite kerbs and 4,200m of concrete kerbs

These will be stored and then used to create aesthetic and practical features for the Park including paths, paving and paving inlays, benches, planters and lighting and water features.


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November 19, 2019, 10:45 pm PDT

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