In the face of the greatest challenge humanity has ever known, Paris 2024, the body organising the world’s largest event, is stepping up to its responsibilities. The 2024 Games in Paris will be unlike any other Games in history as they will be both spectacular and sustainable. We encourage energy conservation, innovation and creativity to develop new ways of working and bring about a new era in the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. By more than halving the emissions arising in relation to the Games and by offsetting even more CO2 emissions than we will generate, we will become the first major sporting event to positively impact the climate. As the Games give us an opportunity to think bigger and see further, we want to help pick up the pace of the environmental transition in sport, regions and major events.
Placing sustainability at the heart of the Paris 2024 project
The world of sport is assuming its responsibilities for the environmental and social challenges we are facing. It identifies the impact it has in order to minimise it as well as encourage and support people and organisations to change the way the conduct themselves. For many years now, the Olympic movement has increasingly taken account of climate and environmental considerations in a commitment that was formalised in the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020.
Building on this momentum, Paris 2024 made setting an example in terms of environmental stewardship a core part of its bid and now its work. It is through this focus, inspiring us to strive for excellence, that we assess each stage of the project as it develops. Our ambition is shared by many of our partners, including the Paris city council, the IOC, the IPC, businesses, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee and the French Paralympic and Sports Committee. To ensure the legacy of the Games is felt long after the torch goes out, we work with responsible organisations that are environmentally aware.
Prioritising frugality and utility
Paris 2024 is the first Games in history to devote such scrupulous attention to every aspect of climate and environmental considerations long before the event actually takes place.
By using 95% existing or temporary venues, we have actively chosen to minimise our environmental impact. Reducing the number of new build projects means we are able to significantly restrict the carbon footprint and give centre stage to the wealth of French architecture by transforming Paris’ most stunning landmarks into sporting arenas. Only two new venues will be built – the Olympic and Paralympic Village, which is designed as the ultimate eco-district of the future for residents in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, and the Aquatics Centre, meaning local residents will be able to enjoy three new swimming pools in an area where there are currently very few such facilities and one in two children do not know how to swim. Both building projects will have a low carbon footprint and, above all, meet the long-term needs of the local area and its population. Paris 2024 has put in place a management plan for all activities undertaken to deliver the Games, as well as a system to measure and track the carbon footprint every step of the way.
Going over and above carbon neutrality
Where emissions cannot be avoided, Paris 2024 is implementing a voluntary compensation plan that goes over and above carbon neutrality, across the widest possible scope that even includes the impact international of spectator travel. The projects chosen to guarantee a carbon-neutral Games are spread all around the world and meet the most stringent international certification requirements. Beginning in 2021, these efforts will involve carbon capture projects that strive 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.
To take things one step further, we pledge to offset even more emissions than we generate by supporting additional projects in France. We want our involvement to support the development of these local projects, which are still too few and far between given the important role they play in combating climate change, boosting biodiversity and improving quality of life.
Innovating to set a new benchmark
To halve the emissions arising in relation to the Games, Paris 2024 will leverage frugality, efficiency and innovation. We endeavour to identify, trial and develop innovative solutions across the entire scope of the project, working with all those involved to deliver an edition of the Games that can be held up as an inspiring example. 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. Wherever a solution exists, Paris 2024 will offer a springboard to encourage more widespread adoption.
If no such solution has been developed, these Games will spark innovation through the expertise of SMEs, start-ups, the SSE, the regions and all the drivers of innovation that play an important role in the delivery of the Games.
For example, in 2019 Paris 2024 launched a call for proposals in collaboration with the French State for off-grid energy (a backup power solution) in search of innovative ideas that generate little or no pollution and greenhouse gases. As they start to emerge, the first solutions will be trialled in real-world conditions as soon as possible.
A collective effort to step up change
Given the sheer scale of the Games, 2024 represents a milestone for all those looking to pursue ambitious environmental strategies. The Games are by definition a one-off event, but by ensuring the involvement of a variety of stakeholders, Paris 2024 seeks to leave behind a carefully constructed legacy for many years to come.
Having signed up to the Sports for Climate Action initiative launched by the UNFCCC and the Charter of 15 eco-responsible commitments drafted by the French Ministry of Sport and the WWF, Paris 2024 is keen for all those involved in organising sporting events to have a part to play in the success of the Games and ensure we leave our methods and commitments as a legacy to the world of sport and events. That is why Paris 2024 is working in particular with organisations connected to major events in sport and other areas to identify obstacles and best practice.
It is without doubt a sporting movement, but also concerns the State, local and regional authorities, partners, athletes and NGOs. Brought together for Paris 2024 to collectively design a sustainable event that sets an example, all those involved are looking to rise to the challenge and leverage the opportunity to bring about long-term improvements for the climate, sport and regions. Alone, Paris 2024 is nothing. It is through a broad alliance built on shared ambition that we will be able to make our dreams become reality.