PyeongChang highlights sustainability successes

The PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has released an interim report detailing the achievements in its drive to deliver a sustainable games.

“New Horizons for Sustainability”: that is the vision the POCOG aims to make a reality when it welcomes the world next year.

It is a vision that provided the focal point of the Sustainability Report for the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which was released by POCOG on Thursday and sets out the efforts it has gone to so far in ensuring that both people and the environment will benefit beyond the Games.

Covering the period from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, the report underscores key issues and derived assessments in providing practical information to all stakeholders.

With a view to achieving its sustainability objectives, POCOG has put into action five key themes encompassing the environmental, economic and social aspects of the Games: “Low-Carbon Green Olympics”, “Stewardship of Nature”, “Good Life”, “Proud People with Tradition and Culture”, and “Globalizing PyeongChang: Opening to the World”.

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As part of its low-carbon drive, for example, POCOG aims to create a recycling infrastructure, provide for sustainable construction, strengthen cooperation networks, generate self-efficient renewable energy and minimize carbon emissions, among other goals. Meanwhile, the Globalizing PyeongChang strand seeks to maintain safety and security in the Republic of Korea, achieve compliance with international standards and promote sustainability activities.

In unveiling the report, POCOG President Lee Heebeom said: “The international community has set forth sustainable development as a new paradigm for humanity to face unseen challenges due to climate change and resource depletion, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games is expected to take a leading role in realizing sustainability.

“We will spare no efforts to enhance the status of our country in every aspect, and provide a global venue where global citizens stay connected with passion throughout and beyond the PyeongChang Winter Games.”

The Olympic and Paralympic Games is expected to take a leading role in realizing sustainability Lee Heebeom POCOG president

In preparing for PyeongChang and in its efforts to leave a low-carbon legacy, POCOG is going to every length to limit the environmental impact of the Games. And in seeking to ensure delivery of all actionable items, it has implemented a sustainable management system that maps out and oversees all the initiatives.

As the interim report detailed,  a greenhouse gas inventory cataloguing local sources of greenhouse gas emissions was compiled in 2015, while a workshop was held to plan the supply of green vehicles during the Games.

Key milestones for 2016 included the opening of the Daegwallyeong Healing Forest, and the Winter Dream Programme, which saw 175 youngsters from 44 countries take part in winter sports training, attend lectures and learn about the history and culture of the PyeongChang area. 

“We are very proud of this interim report showing what has been planned and achieved to date,” said Rhyu Taechul, POCOG’s Chief Environmental Manager. “POCOG is very passionate about delivering a sustainable Games and through our five themes we are able to focus our team on the key areas of delivery to ensure tangible results and a lasting legacy for the province and its people.”

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As an indication of its success so far, and in a first for the Winter Games, POCOG has been awarded ISO20121 certification in recognition of its creation of a work system that minimizes the burden on local communities while maximising positive impacts.

POCOG’s main priorities now include finalising legacy plans for all the venues – with 10 out of 12 confirmed to date – building a “green” transport infrastructure, managing degraded sites and using renewable energy such as solar and wind power at venues.

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