In the face of the greatest challenge humanity has ever known, the world’s largest event assumes its responsibilities. The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will blaze a new trail as they will be both spectacular and sustainable. By encouraging energy conservation, innovation and creativity, Paris 2024 has developed new ways of working and brought about a new era in the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In organising the first ever carbon neutral Games, Paris 2024 is striving first and foremost to set an example and follow the objectives identified in the Paris Agreement. As the Games give us an opportunity to think bigger and see further, we want to contribute to stepping up the pace of the environmental transition in sport, the 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, each edition of the Games has sought to shoulder its responsibility in terms of the economy, society and the environment. This commitment 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 major part of its bid and now its strategy. 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.
The first ever carbon neutral Games
Paris 2024 is the first Games in history to devote such scrupulous attention to every aspect of climate and environmental issues long before the event actually takes place.
By using 95% existing or temporary venues, Paris 2024 has actively chosen to minimise its 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 structures 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 already put in place a management plan for all activities undertaken to deliver the Games, which helps to measure and adapt the carbon footprint every step of the way. Furthermore, Paris 2024 will implement a voluntary compensation plan to offset any unavoidable carbon emissions, even including the impact of spectator travel.
Innovating to set a new benchmark
Paris 2024 endeavours 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, certified power supply, clean mobility solutions for the Olympic fleet, public transport and environmentally friendly means of transport for spectators, biodiversity 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 everyone involved in cutting-edge development to whom Paris 2024 has chosen to entrust an important role in the delivery of the Games.
For example, Paris 2024 launched a call for proposals for off-grid energy (a backup power solution) in search of innovative ideas that generate little or no pollution and greenhouse gases. Paris 2024 has already sourced a number of companies working on such solutions to identify which of them may be able to rise to the challenge and come up with an alternative to diesel. Selected proposals will be awarded financial support from the State. Any that meet both the innovation criteria set out in the Investments for the Future Programme and the specific considerations identified by Paris 2024 will also be offered support from the Paris 2024 Organising Committee.
A collective effort to accelerate change
Given the sheer scale of the Games, 2024 represents a milestone for all those looking to pursue ambitious environmental strategies. The Games are indeed by definition a one-off event, but by ensuring the involvement of a variety of stakeholders, Paris 2024 will 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.
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. Paris 2024 is working in particular with organisations connected to major events in sport and other areas (such as the French Tennis Federation and We Love Green) to identify obstacles and best practice. 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.