Will the Sydney Olympics be the Green Games? This is the question
people are constantly asking Greenpeace. Unfortunately, the answer is
not a simple yes or no.
In the early 1990s, Greenpeace took advantage of Sydney's open
anonymous contest for the best Olympic 2000 site design to show that,
with commitment, a city could showcase environmental solutions.
Forward-thinking architects were consulted, ideas and environmental
best practices gathered and a design plan was submitted. The Greenpeace
Olympic Village was car-less, powered by the sun, used land carefully,
included only non-toxic and eco-friendly materials, conserved and reused
resources, and acted as a platform for cutting-edge green technologies.
When the winners were announced, Greenpeace's design was among the top
Greenpeace then collaborated with alternative power and waste
experts, green building designers, academics and our own team of
international environmental campaigners to integrate the most
progressive standards and help draft them for Sydney into what became
the official Environmental Guidelines for the Sydney Olympic Games.
In September 1993, Greenpeace joined the Sydney Olympic bid committee
in Monaco to promote the "Green Games" idea as a unique
selling point of the city's concept to the IOC and other bidding nations
as a possible positive legacy of any Olympic Games.
That was the beginning of what has become one of Greenpeace's most
challenging but successful campaigns - to present the Sydney Olympic
site as a showcase of environmental solutions.
Ensuring the Commitment
After Sydney won the 2000 bid, Greenpeace remained involved in all
aspects of the development and construction of the Olympic site, playing
an important "watchdog" role in ensuring that environmental
promises became realities.
Greenpeace successfully lobbied the NSW Government to have the
Environmental Guidelines become law, regulating the implementation of
environmental solutions at the new Olympic site. Greenpeace worked
closely with companies tendering to design, build and supply the Olympic
site, protesting when the Olympic organisers fell short of their
So how green are the Games?
The Sydney 2000 Olympics have produced a mix of wins and losses on
the environment front. While the wins are impressive, Sydney could have
done more to give the planet a sporting chance.
1. Environmental Guidelines
The Environmental Guidelines for the Summer Olympics are a strong
policy framework. They are a set of rules for green action. When asked
if Sydney really will be the first "Green Olympic Games",
Greenpeace has to point to the Guidelines as setting Sydney apart from
other cities. No other city has stated its environmental objectives on
paper before building and even before winning an Olympic bid. When they
were written, Sydney’s Guidelines were a progressive set of goals
across all major environmental issues.
2. Coca-Cola’s worldwide policy change on greenhouse gas HFCs
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