The Greenest Games on Ice
TURIN, Italy, February 10, 2006 (ENS) - Everything is ready for the Opening Ceremony of the XX Olympic Winter Games. The opening show, staged with the collaboration of more than 3,500 volunteers and 250 staff, will begin tonight at 8 o'clock local time under tight security.
More than 2,500 athletes from 85 nations competing in 15 different disciplines have arrived in Turin and have moved into the eco-friendly buildings of the new Olympic Villages, constructed of pollution-free materials.
These will be the first certified green Olympic Games in Europe, a fact of which the Torino Organizing Committee XX Olympic Winter Games (TOROC) is very proud.
Both the XX Olympic Winter Games and the IX Paralympic Winter Games of Torino achieved this green designation by applying the ecological tools provided by the EU - the European Community system for the control and management of the environment, the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, and the European Eco-Classification system.
TOROC President Valentino Castellani said Olympics organizers decided to adopt these tools "to help us reach the objectives that we had set for environmental sustainability."
Ensuring a climate-friendly Olympics is one of the cornerstones of TOROC's plans.
During the Games, a delegation from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) led by Executive Director Klaus Toepfer will participate in a "green dinner" on February 15 to celebrate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on February 16.
The HEritage Climate TORino (HECTOR) project is designed to make the Winter Olympics carbon neutral. By supporting forestry, energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes both at home and abroad, the Torino Olympics will be able to offset the estimated 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that will be generated during the 16 days of the Games.
An extensive monitoring plan was developed for the entire Olympic area which includes 16 environmental indicators, including water cycle, air quality, soil use, energy consumption, waste production, ecosystems, landscape, and urban environment.
Suppliers of goods and services involved in the Games were considered and selected based on the ecological quality of their products.
In line with the European eco-label for hotel services, TOROC is promoting an eco-label trademark to tourist sites and 12 hotels in the Olympic areas and provided the technical support necessary for them to obtain certification. They are designed with a floral logo, symbol of environmental friendliness.
A new initiative – Refrigerants, Naturally! – forms part of this environmental component of the Games. Two of the official sponsors of the Olympic Games, McDonald's Corporation and the Coca Cola Company, are the founders of Refrigerants, Naturally! together with Unilever.
This voluntary initiative, supported by UNEP and Greenpeace, is promoting alternative point-of-sale refrigeration technology in the food and beverage industry that safeguards the climate as well as the ozone layer.
Coca Cola has deployed more than 1,000 beverage machines at the Torino Games that use carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. These machines eliminate the need for ozone-damaging chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs).
If this technology were adopted globally on a large scale, it could make a significant improvement in this industry sector's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time safeguarding the Earth's protective ozone shield, UNEP said.
The TOROC waste management plan is designed with the goal of reducing to zero the quantity of waste destined for rubbish dumps.
The plan combines recycling of 68 percent of the organic and other dry waste material produced during the Games with an efficient system of energy retrieval - 32 percent of the waste will be transformed into fuel.
Waste production is being discouraged by the use of bio-polymers in disposable tableware and a reduction in the use of paper for communication and information purposes.
Sports events like the Olympic Games require years of work on a vast scale in terms of infrastructures, facilities and buildings, the organizers recognized. These public works draw on natural resources like water, air and the land, and they leave affect the environment of the region involved.
"This is why TOROC decided to adopt a long-term approach to the Olympic Games, considering right from the start the regulations and the tools provided by the European Union to safeguard the environment," the organizers said.
“The success of a big sports event," said President of the Piemonte Region Mercedes Bresso, "is measured by its capacity to generate positive effects over a medium and long period for the territory that hosts it. When we organized the Olympic Games of Torino 2006, we thought first of all, that we had to leave a long-lasting legacy of development and sustainability for the citizens and for the territory."
Bresso said, "The Torino 2006 projects that we supported and funded are meant to develop permanent practices of energy savings and CO2 control, in line with the Kyoto Protocol."
“Sports events have a significant and long-lasting impact on the environment," said European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas of Greece. "I hope the experience of Torino will serve as a stimulus for the organizers of sports events in the future."
|International Hydropower Association accused of excluding indigenous peoples and supporting Taib’s corruption USCC Releases Model Rule for Composting Operations ADA Carbon Solutions Announces New Hire of Vice President of Sales and Key Executive Promotions|