From Food and Uniforms to Sponsorship Deals: IOC Guides to Help the Olympic Games and the Sports Sector Adopt Sustainable Sourcing Practices

Aug 7, 2019 11:00 AM ET
Summary: 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released two guides which will help the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) and the Olympic Movement – including International Sports Federations (IFS) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) – source goods and services in a way that results in positive social, environmental, ethical and economic outcomes.

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Released to mark Earth Day, a global environmental movement celebrated on 22 April every year, the recent publications add to the IOC’s series of sustainability guides addressed to OCOGs and the Olympic Movement. They complement the IOC’s own Supplier Code, which outlines the requirements related to human rights, labour conditions, waste management, transport and ethics that apply to IOC suppliers.

“In today’s world, where everything is increasingly interconnected, integrating environmental, social and ethical considerations into the way we acquire goods and services is becoming ever more critical,” said Michelle Lemaitre, IOC Head of Sustainability. “These considerations are no longer an option – they are an essential part of modern Olympic Games, and they are fast becoming the only way of doing business. We hope that these new guides will help the Olympic Games organisers and the sports sector at large adopt a more consistent and sustainable approach to their sourcing decisions, and become an inspiration and a role model for others.”

Sustainable sourcing involves using products and services that meet organisational needs while creating positive social, environmental, ethical and economic outcomes. It includes reducing an organisation’s impact by “doing more with less”; considering how items are made, sourced and disposed of; choosing reusable or recyclable packaging; and ensuring full respect for human rights throughout the supply chain.

The “Olympic Games Guide on Sustainable Sourcing” aims to help OCOGs understand and meet the IOC’s sustainable sourcing requirements and expectations. It is addressed to all individuals responsible for acquiring goods and services for the staging of the Olympic Games, ranging from traditional ones, such as uniforms, furniture, overlay works, food and beverages, to sole-supplier deals, branded merchandise, gifts and giveaways, and even broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals. The guide is part of a series of Olympic Games guides produced by the IOC to assist OCOGs with the successful planning and delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The “Sustainable Sourcing in Sport” guide is addressed to IFs and NOCs, as well as the wider sports sector, with the aim of helping them adopt more sustainable sourcing practices in their daily operations. It is part of the IOC’s Sustainability Essentials series of practical guides addressed to the Olympic Movement.

The two guides provide detailed advice and step-by-step recommendations on every stage of the sustainable sourcing process, from securing buy-in from top management to setting priorities, establishing sustainability requirements and ensuring the successful implementation of sustainable sourcing activities.

Sustainability is a central concept of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, and sustainable sourcing is one of the most critical aspects of the IOC Sustainability Strategy. Published in 2017, the Strategy sets out the framework for integrating sustainability across the IOC’s three spheres of responsibility: the IOC as an organisation, as the owner of  the Olympic Games and as the leader of the wider Olympic Movement.