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Japan scored gold medal in sustainability with their Olympics 2020.

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games brought us together in the midst of two global crises: the pandemic, which nearly forced the event to be canceled due to a lack of spectators, and climate change. 

To that purpose, the Tokyo organizing committee has purchased 150 percent of the required carbon credits to offset the Games' greenhouse gas emissions, with the proceeds going to local projects that will reduce CO2 emissions by more than the 2020 Games would emit. The Tokyo Olympics are also integrating environmentally friendly materials in almost every aspect of the event:  recyclable cardboard beds, podiums are constructed of recycled plastic, and medals are composed of metals salvaged from phones and other electronic equipment. Moreover, the Games send a strong message about energy use, relying on hydrogen created sustainably using solar energy to light the Olympic flame, shuttle cars and buses between venues, and the Olympic Village itself, as part of Japan's planned full-scale hydrogen-powered infrastructure.

Nonetheless, the Tokyo Olympic organizers' attention on sustainability sets a high bar for the organisers of future tournaments in Beijing (2022), Paris (2024), Los Angeles (2028), and Brisbane (2030). (2032). Even during large-scale athletic events, the necessity for carbon neutrality and sustainability is becoming more apparent as climate change has an impact on the Games' circumstances. The Tokyo Olympics have already been called the record "hottest games" in games with the highest temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius for several days in a row, putting a burden on many athletes in various outdoor games.

Beyond Tokyo, sustainability already has a central stage in future Olympic plans. The organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics promise to host "the most environmentally friendly game ever". "For us, it's very simple," said Tony Estange, a three-time Olympic canoe gold medalist, a key member of the Paris Olympic organizing committee. “Our vision is to be the most sustainable game ever.”

Thank you Japan!



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