Rio 2016 Committee Supports Small Businesses to Boost Sustainability

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The Olympic Games Organizing Committee in Rio wants to create a record for holding the most sustainable Olympic Games ever. According to CEBDS, the Brazilian partner organization of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Games are helping to accelerate the spread of sustainable business processes in Brazil.

In partnership with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and with input from some of Brazil’s largest companies, the CEBDS has prepared a handbook to help Brazilian companies of all sizes implement sustainable procurement practices. That will serve to raise standards in the Brazilian supply chain and increase the competitiveness of the country’s small and medium companies.  

Joao Saravia, director of Rio 2016’s $1.15 billion procurement budget, left out some big companies in the tender list, when he was looking for a supplier of hundreds of new office tables for the organizers’ office. He instead signed a deal with a small supplier, Motiva, and helped them through the certification process of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for using timber only from responsibly managed forests.

Two years later, Motiva has not only achieved FSC certification, but it has also won seven subsequent tenders from Rio 2016 for office furniture and has entered new export markets that insist on the FSC seal.

This is just one example of how the purchasing power of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, combined with the Organizing Committee’s insistence on sustainability, has transformed practices in Brazilian industry and created new opportunities for thousands of small suppliers.

The value of procurement from small and medium suppliers now stands at 50 percent above the Organizing Committee’s initial target. According to Saravia, the committee had set the bar for sustainability very high. But thanks to the partnerships with institutions such as Sebrae and CEBDS, they have been able to develop small suppliers and help them grow.

Francisco Ferreira of Sebrae estimates that demand from Rio 2016 has helped small and medium enterprises create 16,000 direct jobs so far, the majority in the state of Rio de Janeiro itself. The Games have proved to be an invaluable source of business at a time of a deep economic downturn in Brazil.The longer-term legacy may be even more positive.

Demand from Rio 2016 has helped spread sustainable practices far outside large companies, reaching whole new swathes of the Brazilian economy and helping small businesses raise their standards and achieve new levels of social and environmental responsibility.

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