Rio 2016: Green Games

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Over the past two decades or so, the environmental aspect of organising large sporting events like the FIFA World Cup or Olympic Games, has been gaining significant importance, writes Joost de Jong and Viviane Gomes Lima from Revista Brasil.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) even states the environment as being "the third dimension of Olympism, alongside sport and culture", and so being "one of the fundamental objectives of the Olympic Movement". In 1994, the importance of the environment was included in Rule 2 of the Olympic Charter. As part of the bidding process and bid books, candidate organising cities therefore need to focus thoroughly on the 'green paragraph'. As Rio de Janeiro, the host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is the home of the UN Global Agenda AG21, the Brazilian territory containing the world's greatest biodiversity, the Amazon Rain Forest and the Atlantic Forest, Brazil and Rio are obliged to the world to do more than just put a green label on the Rio Games. The theme of the Rio 2016 is: "Green Games for a blue planet". It's a partnership between the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Environment, which elaborated together a sustainability and environment programme, supported by the three levels of Brazilian government: federal, state and municipal, and added to by private initiative. During the Rio candidature, the Olympic Sustainability Division (OSD) was established, a special Olympic agency, responsible for the Rio 2016 Sustainability Management Plan (SMP), and to ensure the realisation of the Games with the least environmental impact and managing environmental projects. The Rio 2016 SMP focuses on three key points: the planet, people and prosperity. As part of the vision of Rio 2016, the integration of these elements in the long term should lead to improvement of the environment, quality of life and the economy. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second city in importance and size, looks like the perfect setting to host a major world event. In 'the Wonderful City', nature is almost everywhere. The mighty Christ Redentor statue, which is visible from almost every street corner in Rio, overlooks extensive woods and parks, which are part of the Atlantic Forest (actually 20% of the city area is covered by forest), rivers, lakes, seabays and a mere 106 kilometers of coastline. The city is surrounded by huge mountains and large rock formations. Many of the Olympic sites will be embedded in the 'green' parts of Rio de Janeiro. At present, one of the largest problems that Rio faces is the pollution of sewers and domestic garbage dumped daily into the bays. According to the SMP, only 32% of the sewage that reaches the bays is treated. The goal is to reach 50% by the end of 2010, jumping to 80% by the beginning of the Games. Focusing on the three key–elements, improving the environment (planet), quality of life (people) and the economy (prosperity), the SMP has four specific goals:• Games of water conservation goals: define short and long terms for the recovery of rivers and streams of Rio, especially in Barra da Tijuca and Guanabara Bay, which will be the scene of many of the aquatic disciplines. To reach the parameters required by the IOC, large investments will be made in depollution and improvement of sewage. • Games of renewable energy: air quality standards will be fulfilled by projects for the use of renewable energy. Brazil as a whole already has a high level of renewable energy, since 45% of the total energy consumption comes from renewable sources. Some of the actions proposed by the Rio 2016 programme are that 100% of public transport will be using clean fuel (biodiesel ethanol), the creation of bike paths to connect the sporting areas, swimming pools with solar panels to heat the water in the Olympic Training Center (OTC) and Olympic Village and the modern pentathlon venues. • Carbon neutral Games: up until the start of the Rio 2016, 24m trees will be planted, which offset all carbon produced in the course of the preparations. Athlete nutrition will also be composed in a 100% organic way. All the Green Office principles adopted by Rio 2016 and all installations shall use the concepts of nature–friendly equipment, furniture and ecological waste management. All the actions of the Rio 2016 SMP shall obey ISO 14000 and 26000 certificate standards, in accordance with international standards. For starters, the Rio 2016 and the Brazilian national government have presented three pilot projects to advance the environmental developments: • Construction pilot: the sites of the OTC will be built using state of the art environmental technology. The total 65. 000 m2 area will be constructed having the following features: solar skin, utilisation of clean energy, water conservation, natural ventilation and using sustainable materials. • Testing of a new generation of hybrid bus, powered by fuel cells and/or electrical sources. • Use revenue obtained in the market for carbon credit to get better housing and recycling, with support from microfinance institutions using the international carbon credit market. Prior to Rio de Janeiro being officially elected as the host for the 2016 Games, in June 2009, the Brazilian national government, Rio state governor SÉrgio Cabral and city mayor Eduardo Paes made a sum available of approximately Eur300m to start investing in the environmental legacy of the Olympics. This initial investment was the start of a depollution project in the Jacarepaguá Bay, Barra de Tijuca and Guanabara Bay, where more than half of the Olympic competitions will be held and the Olympic Village will be constructed. About the writersJoost de Jong writes on Brazil, business and sports. He spends his time between The Netherlands and Brazil and has also lived in Spain. He has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, including Algemeen Dagblad, Sport & Strategie, Sport International, Voetbal International and De Zaak (the Netherlands), de Morgen (Belgium), Diário de Natal (Brazil) and Metro International. He is also editor in chief of the coaching magazine NLCoach. Viviane Gomes Lima, born and raised in the beautiful Brazilian state of Bahia, studies Environmental Management at the Unopar University of Paraná, Brazil. She specialises in sustainable agriculture in her mother state and on the environmental impact of the Olympic Games for Brazil. For further information on Revista Brasil, visit www. revistabrasil. eu, call +31 6 5468 7502 or e–mail joost@revistabrasil. eu.

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