How to make sports events sustainable

Sustainability and sports events – both can fit together well. Two recent initiatives, which are fully supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), clearly illustrate the latest efforts in increasing the environmental, social and economic performance of sports events on the one hand, and in reporting systematically on these measures on the other hand. 

The Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit (SSET)

The online Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit (SSET) was created in 2008 by the Lausanne-based International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS) and the Olympic Organising Committee for Vancouver 2010 (VANOC). It is about providing sports organisations with the necessary instruments to make their sport and events truly sustainable. VANOC leads by example, being the first Olympic Organising Committee that has embedded sustainability in its mission statement and integrated this important concept throughout the planning and operations of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, which are less than eight days away.

The SSET focuses on leadership and management, and identifies environmental, social and economic issues and opportunities throughout all phases and across all areas: venue and site selection, construction, venue and office management, community and supply chain involvement, transport and accommodation, catering, food and beverage and marketing as well as communications. 

The SSET has the full support of the IOC which, in 2009, became its Principal Supporting Partner. Other driving forces are European Athletics and EventScotland, which act as Development Partners. More than 10 International Sports Federations (IFs), two National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and 10 National and International Events are applying SSET guidelines already. Examples of truly sustainable events include the 2009 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and the Paris 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships. Many more are hopefully to follow soon.
Join in and learn more about the SSET at:

Learn more about the innovative sustainability measures implemented in various 2010 Winter Games venues and associated sites which are well showcased through energy management software:

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 

Sustainability reporting for events in general, and sports events in particular, is relatively new. As the IOC has witnessed firsthand the benefits of such an approach through the annual sustainability reports of past and current Olympic Organising Committees (for Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010 and London 2012), it supports the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) ( ) with its development of a GRI events sector supplement. The standardised framework for sustainability reporting aims to develop a tool for event organisers that will provide guidance and ensure that sustainability reporting covers the relevant sector issues.

The GRI has convened an Advisory Group to assist and promote the development of the event sector supplement. The IOC will be an active member of this group, and share its expertise in regard to the biggest sports event, the Olympic Games.

The project commenced in 2009 and will be completed late 2011. Other participating partners include VANOC, London 2012, the environmental departments of the Austrian and Swiss Governments and UEFA.

For more information on the GRI and the creation of the event sector supplement go to:


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