Real Leaders

Paris 2024 Olympics: Wins for People and Planet

The Paris 2024 Olympics commmittee set ambitious goals for its most united, sustainable Games yet.

By Real Leaders

The Paris 2024 organizing committee has set out to establish a new model for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, pledging to deliver an ambitious, universal event that is more responsible, sustainable, united, and inclusive. 

“We are collectively building a new model for the Games to ensure they control their impact on their surroundings as well as the entire planet, bring people together and are inclusive, frugal and sustainable,” says Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

From the bidding phase, the committee put legacy and sustainability at the center. Signing a social charter with social partners, aligning with the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and organizing the Olympic and Paralympic Week are a few examples of steps it took starting in 2017, seven years out.

“Our ambition is clear — to demonstrate that environmental and social excellence is not only  necessary, but also a source of strength,” says Marie Barsacq, impact and legacy director of the organizing committee for the Games.

Paris 2024 is the first Games in history to devote such attention to climate and environmental considerations so early on. Using 95% existing or temporary venues minimizes its environmental impact. Reducing the number of new build projects means significantly restricts the carbon footprint and gives center stage to French architecture by transforming Paris’ landmarks into sporting arenas. 

“We decided to seize the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity to combat and adapt to climate change and address the urgent need to protect and regenerate biodiversity,” says Georgina Grenon, environmental excellence director of the organizing committee. “This sincere, firm commitment has guided us and united everyone involved in the Games and the sporting movement since the bid phase.”

Where emissions cannot be avoided, Paris 2024 is implementing a voluntary compensation plan across a wide scope that includes the international impact of spectator travel.

The projects chosen meet stringent international certification requirements. Beginning in 2021, these efforts involve carbon capture projects to restore and protect forests and oceans, as well as avoidance projects that, for example, install more environmentally friendly wood burners in homes that still rely on rudimentary cooking equipment. The committee pledges to offset even more emissions than the Games generate by supporting additional projects in France, boosting biodiversity and improving quality of life. 

To halve the emissions arising in relation to the Games, Paris 2024 will leverage frugality, efficiency and innovation. Paris 2024 endeavors to identify, trial, and develop innovative solutions working with everyone involved to deliver responsible Games. Such initiatives include using 100% renewable energy during the Games, the circular economy, sustainable food sourcing, responsible digital technology, clean mobility solutions for the Olympic fleet, public transport and environmentally friendly means of transport for spectators, biodiversity protection, and water management. 

The organizing committee goes on to say, “Sport brings together 3.5 million volunteers in France, evokes a range of unique emotions with 2.5 million events taking place every year, and showcases its positive impact on society day in, day out across the 180,000 sports clubs nationwide that promote education, integration, gender equality, and cohesion. However, the world of sport — like all other spheres of human activity and parts of society — needs to undergo an environmental transformation. 

“Moreover, we firmly believe that sport can be harnessed to build a more sustainable society in which people demonstrate greater solidarity and are more mindful of nature and biodiversity.

Sport enables us to take in the beauty of our surroundings and understand why we need to protect the environment; it offers an excellent pollution-free mode of transport; it uses the food we eat as a source of fuel; it makes us realize the importance 

of getting fresh air; and it is a form of entertainment that enables people to create memories around a common experience rather than limitless consumption. 

“By ensuring we set our own benchmark, accelerating the roll-out of innovative solutions for spectacular and sustainable events, as well as working with everybody in the Paris 2024 family so that our methods and achievements leave a tangible and intangible legacy. This plan is the result of the work undertaken by everyone involved in Paris 2024 since the bid phase and highlights the distance we still have to travel together.”

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