Since becoming the first member of Rio 2016’s “Embrace Sustainability” programme in September last year, Dow has created the most comprehensive carbon programme in Olympic Games history to help mitigate the direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the organisation and hosting of the event.
The initiative will mitigate 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) through third party-verified emissions reductions. To help reach this target, Dow has introduced an innovative Sustainable Future programme in Brazil and Latin America, which utilises energy-efficient technologies and low-carbon solutions to minimise GHG emissions.
A key element of the programme is the Sustainable Agriculture project, which sees Dow working with Brazilian farmers from the state of Mato Grosso to implement more sustainable agricultural practices. The project is designed to minimise environmental impact and optimise productivity in corn and soybean crops through higher yields, better varieties and more targeted pest control management. The climate benefits of the Sustainable Agriculture project will be realised over the next five years, creating a lasting legacy for farmers participating in the programme.
Dow is also working with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to leave further post-Games legacies. These include an engagement programme that aims to share information on sustainability and climate change with 500,000 people in Brazil, and a commitment to generate an additional 1.5 million tons of CO2eq in climate benefits by 2026, addressing other Games-related emissions.
Dow’s commitment to sustainability is in line with one of the three key pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement – which aims to ensure that sustainability is included in all aspects of the planning and staging of the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement’s daily operations.
“As the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games, Dow is proud to be a key partner of the Olympic Movement,” says Louis Vega, Dow’s Vice-President of Olympic Operations. “Dow has committed to providing our expertise in sustainability and sustainable solutions to help advance the third pillar of Olympism – the environment – and to enable more sustainable Games.”
He continues: “Dow has been working with Organising Committees and the IOC to deliver solutions to reduce the environmental impact of hosting the Olympic Games, and our innovative GHG accounting framework enables host countries to implement economically viable projects that will deliver climate benefits for the carbon footprint mitigation of a large-scale event.”
Dow’s work with Rio 2016 builds on the expertise and success of the Sustainable Future programme it implemented for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, which is still benefiting the host city today.
By the start of the 2014 Winter Games, the project had already mitigated over 520,000 tons of CO2eq – surpassing Sochi 2014’s direct carbon footprint of 360,000 tons – and by the first half of 2015 it had successfully delivered 1.6 million tons of CO2eq in climate benefits.
The success of the Sochi 2014 programme highlights Dow’s commitment to creating long-term benefits for host countries and the Olympic Movement overall, and demonstrates the importance of the environment and sustainability in planning for major sporting events.
“Through our successful work with the Sochi Organising Committee and role as the Official Carbon Partner of Rio 2016, Dow has a unique opportunity to promote sustainability globally and partner with host countries to create a positive and lasting impact in their regions,” adds Vega.
“Dow is dedicated to helping Olympic cities achieve a long-lasting, positive sustainability legacy. Our work with Sochi, Rio and beyond will be examples of how innovation and technology can make mega sports events more sustainable and reduce the environmental impact associated with hosting these events.”