Could 2032 be the Sustainable Development Olympics?


Could 2032 be the Sustainable Development Olympics?

– M. Weitzman

Our CEO's Response:

Dear Mr Weitzman,

I’ve been reflecting on your question Mr Weitzman (can I call you Marty?) about whether 2032 could be the Sustainable Development Olympics.? It’s a resounding yes from me, Marty.

In fact, I see no alternative; and I am not the only one that sees this as the only way forward.

Recently, like so many others… the possibility of Queensland hosting the 2032 Olympics has been front-of-mind, Marty. From the Games Framework, through to the likely Host City Contract and all the way back to the overarching strategy, it’s all there. In essence a sustainable Olympics simply has to happen.

So what has inspired this shift toward sustainability as a core pillar of the Olympics?, I hear you ask. Well there were a couple of instrumental catalysts, including:

Agenda 21:

In response to the Global UNCED Agenda 21 commitment in 1992 the IOC adopted Agenda 21 as part of the Olympic Charter in 1999. Its focus is on:

  • Improving socio-economic conditions

  • Conservation and management of resources for sustainable development

  • Strengthening the role of major groups

Olympic Agenda 2020+5:

The newly endorsed Olympic Agenda 2020+5 reiterates the IOC’s commitment to sustainable development and the use of mega events as a strategic vehicle to enable key priorities of the host destination – but also of the world. Sustainability was a key pillar of the previous Olympic Agenda 2020.

ISO 20121:

This is the international standard that specifies the requirements for an Event Sustainability management system to improve the sustainability of events. It was created to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics from a 2007 British Standard. It describes the building blocks of a management system for any event related organisation being:

  • Continue to be financially successful

  • Become more socially responsible

  • Reduce its environmental footprint

And on the other side Marty, we have a shifting tide of consumer and resident expectations. One where the UNSDGs, sustainability and sustainable development is an expectation of what is becoming a standard way to do business. In fact Marty:

  • Sustainable development is now demand-driven by conscious consumers who have a fresh set of values-aligned expectations. COVID-19 forced us to pause, and reflect on the collective impact of our unsustainable habits, allowing us to see unprecedented images of cities free from pollution, like Venice & Bangkok.

  • This new level of awareness is also becoming increasingly apparent in our purchasing decisions. Australian brands are increasingly attuned to this changing consumer sentiment, with a 2019 report showing a seven-fold increase in Australian and New Zealand B Corp certifications since 2014. (B Corps meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability).

  • Additionally, there has also been heightened public environmental awareness with Google trend data showing that in the past 5 years, ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ searches in Australia have almost doubled.

  • And even the events landscape itself is changing Marty! In 2019 only 11% of Australian respondents were actively taking steps to improve the environmental sustainability of their events compared to a whopping 72% in 2020.

In essence, there has been a complete paradigm shift and there are both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators in-play, to ensure that 2032 is in fact a sustainable development Olympics. Whilst we would have hopefully achieved Australia’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) by then Marty…..these 17 individual goals may very-well lead the way for both Australia choosing to be the country that it wishes to become.

If this topic resonates with you, get in touch and we shout you a suspended coffee. We all have the opportunity to be the change we want to see in the world.

Until next month,

Stefanie Wilson



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