Sustainability And
Legacy Commission

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The IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission advises the IOC Session, the IOC Executive Board and the IOC President on sustainability and legacy matters to enable them to make informed, balanced decisions that maximise positive impacts, minimise negative impacts and foster positive change and legacies in the social, economic and environmental spheres.

The responsibilities of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission are to:

  • Provide a constructive review of IOC sustainability strategy, policies and progress reports;
  • Provide strategic advice on priority sustainability themes for the IOC and the Olympic Movement and their relevance to the global sustainability agenda;
  • Advise on ways to maximise the legacy of the Olympic Games and on management of key sustainability risks related to the Olympic Games;
  • Encourage the development and promotion of sustainability best practices throughout the Olympic Movement;
  • Suggest major institutions that could support the IOC in achieving its sustainability and legacy objectives
  • Communicate sustainability achievements, including through athletes.

The Sustainability and Legacy Commission is supported by the Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability Department. 




Director in charge

  • Director of Corporate and Sustainable development


In cooperation with several institutions, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the IOC has launched a series of programmes and activities that contribute to raising awareness about the importance of sustainable development in sport.

World Conferences on Sport and Environment

A biennial World Conference on Sport and Environment brings together representatives and partners of the Olympic Movement, as well as representatives of other entities involved in this field, i.e. governments, international and non-governmental organisations concerned with environmental matters, industry and business sectors, research institutes, media, etc.

The aim of these conferences is:

  • to regularly assess the progress made in the field of sustainable development by the Olympic Movement;
  • to give an opportunity to provide new knowledge on these issues by sharing experiences and expertise from different sectors of society;
  • to encourage cooperation in, and further development of, environmental policies in relation to sport.

The most recent conference was hosted by Sochi, Russia from 30 October to 1 November 2013. Past conferences have been held in Lausanne, Switzerland (1995), Kuwait City, Kuwait (1997) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1999), Nagano, Japan (2001), Torino, Italy (2003), Nairobi, Kenya (2005), Beijing, PRC (2007), Vancouver, Canada (2009), and Doha, Qatar (2011). 

IOC Sport and Environment Award

As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC feels a strong social responsibility to actively promote a healthy environment and to set good standards. The IOC Sport and Environment Award forms part of these efforts and was first introduced in 2009 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have shown initiative and taken action to drive environmental efforts and projects within their community.

One award is given to a nominee from each of the five continents (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania) upon the selection of a jury composed of members of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission. Nominations for the Award, which is presented biennially during the IOC’s World Conferences on Sport and the Environment, can be put forward by National Olympic Committees, Recognised Organisations, International Federations and Continental Associations. 

Cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


In 1994, after the closing of the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer during which special emphasis has been laid on environmental protection, and following the recommendations of its Centennial Congress in Paris, which placed environment higher on the agenda, the IOC signed a cooperation agreement with UNEP to develop joint initiatives in this field.

Agenda 21 for the Olympic Movement

As a result of the agreement, UNEP has worked closely with the IOC through its Sport and Environment Commission and the Department of International Cooperation & Development, on numerous programmes and projects. Among others, UNEP has participated in the World Conferences on Sport and Environment, and in the regional seminars organized by the IOC, and in the production of information materials on sport and environment such as the Agenda 21 for the Olympic Movement. UNEP has also developed working relationships with Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games in Athens (2004) and Torino (2006),  Beijing (2008) and continues to explore opportunities to support the work of future OCOGs like Vancouver, London and Sochi. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been recently signed with the Sochi organizing committee in promoting environmental issues for  the Games in 2014.

"Sport and the Environment" strategy

In February 2003, the UNEP Governing Council formally adopted a "Sport and the Environment" strategy, which seeks to further promote the linkages between sport and the environment among the general public. The programme seeks to develop partnerships with sports organizations, federations and associations to reach out to the public with environmental messages.

Learn more on the UNEP sport policy


On national or international level, several institutions contribute to the promotion of sustainable development in sport within the Olympic Movement either by participating in IOC initiatives or in their own right.

Cooperation with Olympic Solidarity
Olympic Solidarity

Using sport to promote sustainable development is one the aims of the programmes and initiatives supported by the Olympic Solidarity. Through its sport and environment programme, Olympic Solidarity encourages NOCs to be actively involved in the field of sport and environment by undertaking, implementing and promoting programmes and initiatives, using sport as a tool for sustainable development.

Help to NOCs

It contributes to the IOC initiatives implemented via the Department of International Cooperation and Development by helping NOCs wishing to send delegates to the IOC World Conferences and Regional Seminars on Sport and Environment.

At the same time, the programme helps NOCs to set up and carry out individual initiatives on a national basis within this field. These might include national seminars, targeted increased awareness campaigns, education activities and study projects.

Learn more about Olympic Solidarity 

Regional Seminars on Sport and Environment

Since 1997, Regional Seminars on Sport and Environment are organised each year by the IOC, in cooperation with Olympic Solidarity on different continents for NOCs. Members of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, United Nations Environment Programme regional representatives, Government representatives, experts of national environmental agencies, local authorities and other parties concerned by this issue are also part of these seminars.

The seminars are designed to raise awareness of NOCs and advocate the need to use sport as a tool for sustainable development in their countries, to share experiences on initiatives implemented by NOCs and their Sport and Environment Commissions, to identify major issues yet to be resolved and to obtain their commitment on relevant measures and actions to implement at a national level with and through sport.

Commitments of the Incheon Regional Seminar
Recommendations of the Zanzibar Regional Seminar
Commitments of the Kingston Regional Seminar for the NOCs of English speaking America
Recommendations of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Seminar for Asian NOCs
Recommendations of the Dubai Regional Seminar for Asian NOCs
Recommendations of the Havana Regional Seminar for Latin American NOCs
Recommendations of the Lomé Regional Seminar for French speaking NOCs

Manual on sport and environment
Manual On Sport And Environment

Published for the first time in 1997, the IOC Manual on Sport and Environment was revised in 2005. In contrast to the Olympic Movement's Agenda 21, which is a theoretical work, the manual is a practical guide prepared for all members of the Olympic Movement, from the largest and most developed entities to the smallest organisations, all the way down to the individual level.

Designed for a public not necessarily equipped with specific expertise in environmental issues, it aims to:

  • Present key concepts and issues concerning sport and the environment, provide basic tools to identify problem areas, establish priorities and find appropriate responses to issues stemming from the relationship between sport and the environment.
  • To propose environmental recommendations, giving concrete tips and ideas for actions that can be easily implemented by sportspeople and sport organizations.
  • To present the main aspects of the IOC policy on sustainable development and its actions

Learn more: Manual on Sport and the Environment


Vancouver 2010 Games Getty Images

Sustainable development is at the heart of the Olympic Games.

Environmental protection and the Olympic Games

Organising "Green Games". From the beginning of a city's desire to stage an Olympic Games, through to the long-term effects of those Games, environmental protection and, more importantly, sustainability, are prime elements of Games planning and operations.
The Olympic Movement, since the early 1990's, has progressively taken the environment and sustainability into account throughout the lifecycle of an Olympic Games project, and recognised its importance: the "Green Games" concept is increasingly a reality.

Reducing the environmental impact

Olympic Games are above all about sport and the athletes, but they can bring several important environmental outcomes if they are planned, managed and conducted in a way which minimises the adverse environmental impacts and effects.

Sustainable environmental legacies

The opportunity of the Games can also be used to provide sustainable environmental legacies, such as rehabilitated and revitalized sites, increased environmental awareness, and improved environmental policies and practices. They can further encourage and facilitate strong environmental actions, technology and product development in a city, country and beyond, through the educational value of good example.

From the candidature phase

It is important to note that these positive legacies can occur whether or not a bid is successful. For example, a bid may include the rehabilitation and regeneration of a degraded area of a city for an Olympic Games venue and public open space which goes ahead during the bid and is completed even if the city is not awarded the Games. 

These positive outcomes and legacies are being achieved throughout the processes leading to the Games, and through IOC requirements and policies, and actions within the IOC and the Candidate Citiesganising Committees.

Games planning and commitments

After a city is awarded an Olympic Games, the Organising Committee integrates environmental issues and elements into its planning, logistics and operations in accordance with the commitments made in the Candidature Files and elsewhere during the Candidature phase. It must also work with government authorities and other stakeholders to implement the city-wide and nation-wide policy and programme developments and actions outlined in the bid and needed for a City to fulfill its Host City contract obligations. 

These environmental actions are developed and implemented in consultation with the IOC Coordination Commission and IOC experts, who provide guidance and assistance based on expertise and knowledge from past Games.

Monitoring of commitments and actions

As well as external scrutiny by NGOs and media, the IOC and the Organising Committee monitor progress and implementation of the proposed environmental and sustainability actions and policies to ensure maximum fulfillment of commitments and maximum use of the opportunity to improve environmental conditions and practices.

Vancouver 2010

The Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC) is the first Organising Committee to create a Sustainability Department. For VANOC, sustainability means managing the social, economic and environmental impacts and opportunities of the Vancouver Olympic Games to create lasting benefits both locally and globally. To achieve this, VANOC has established a set of six corporate-wide sustainability performance objectives:

  • Accountability
  • Environmental Stewardship and Impact Reduction
  • Social Inclusion and Responsibility
  • Aboriginal Participation and Collaboration
  • Economic Benefits
  • Sport for Sustainable Living
London 2012

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), building upon the commitments set out in its Candidature File, has produced the London 2012 Sustainability Plan. The Plan is a framework for how LOCOG and its partners will address sustainability, and reflects the Organising Committee’s ambition to deliver truly sustainable Olympic Games. The Plan is structured according to five priority themes:

  • Climate change
  • Waste
  • Biodiversity
  • Inclusion
  • Healthy living
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