Early planning key to London 2012's sustainable supply chain

15 November 2012

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15 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Establishing a code for sustainable sourcing early on was key to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games' (LOCOG) success in providing a sustainable supply chain for the 2012 Olympics.

“Essentially, LOCOG is one big supply chain and we found that it performed extremely well in procurement,” Shaun McCarthy, chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, told SM.

“It set out its requirements at an early stage, almost three years in advance, through the sustainable sourcing code, which was essential.”

A post-Games report published today by the independent commission examined whether the sustainability targets set by LOCOG were delivered by defining the key processes at work, including food and hospitality, waste, energy, logistics, transport, environmentally sensitive materials, and diversity and volunteers.

Each stage in these processes across all Olympic venues was assessed on whether they delivered the required outcome, what sustainability principles were at work, including use of SMEs in the supply chain, and if there were any negative outcomes.

The report congratulated LOCOG’s performance across its food supply chain, particularly ‘Food Vision 2012’, under which a framework was set up with a number of contractual requirements, including sourcing Fairtrade tea and coffee, as well as all fish products from MSC certified sources. The analysis revealed almost all LOCOG venues adhered to the Food Vision.

Furthermore, a waste contractor implemented waste separation systems across the venues, an approach that the report recommended should be adopted for future events and Olympics.

Another target set was for 100 per cent of fixtures, fittings and equipment used in Olympic venues to be sourced in accordance with the LOCOG Sustainable Sourcing Code. “My team found that LOCOG didn’t perform so well in its use of HFC in cooling systems and PVC in temporary buildings,” said McCarthy. “We found that during Games-time there were materials coming on site that had been specifically excluded from the code.”

However, he added: “This is a fairly minor transgression in relation to the successes of the procurement team.”

Within LOCOG, many procurement decisions did not fall under the remit of the logistics’ team. However, the commission recommended that for future games, organisers need to take a global view on decisions related to the sourcing, transporting and disposing of equipment, fixtures and fittings, merchandise and materials to ensure that optimum sustainability outcomes are achieved.

Read today’s blog by Shaun McCarthy on five things you didn't know about sustainability and the London 2012 Olympics.

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