3 QUESTIONS ON LEGACY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Here we speak to Marie Sallois Dembreville, Director of Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability; Tania Braga, Head of Legacy; and Michelle Lemaître, Head of Sustainability, about what the IOC is doing to ensure that legacy and sustainability are underpinning principles in all of its activities.
WHAT SIGNIFICANCE IS THE IOC PLACING ON THE ISSUES OF SUSTAINABILITY AND LEGACY, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO OLYMPIC AGENDA 2020?
Marie: As you know, the overarching vision of the IOC is to place sport at the service of humanity. As the governing body of the Olympic Movement, the IOC wholeheartedly believes that sport has an essential role to play in modern society. In our fragile world, the IOC wants to play its part in making the sports world an agent for positive change. This is why sustainability, together with credibility and youth, is one of the three key pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.
Olympic Agenda 2020 strengthened the IOC’s willingness to develop relationships with external organisations to help bring positive change to society. In this sense, it was pivotal for us, in September 2015, that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly confirmed the important role that sport plays in supporting the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The third mission of the Olympic Movement – to “promote sport and the Olympic values in society” – is closely aligned with a number of SDGs, notably in the fields of health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), and partnerships for sustainability (SDG 17). By further embedding sustainability and legacy in the IOC’s activities, and developing partnerships with relevant bodies, the IOC intends to reinforce its contribution to these SDGs while also contributing to others.
The IOC Executive Board subsequently approved the IOC’s Sustainability Strategy and Legacy Strategic Approach, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
WHAT ARE THE KEY PILLARS OF THE IOC LEGACY STRATEGY, AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PAST AND FUTURE OLYMPIC HOST CITIES?
Tania: The new IOC Legacy Strategic Approach represents a significant development, as it formally embeds positive legacy planning into every stage of the Olympic Games candidature and preparation processes, helping hosts to unlock value for the decades ahead. It also recognises the need to identify, measure, promote and celebrate the legacy of past Olympic Games.
The Legacy Strategic Approach defines Olympic legacy as follows: “Olympic legacy is the result of a vision. It encompasses all the tangible and intangible long-term benefits initiated or accelerated by the hosting of the Olympic Games/sports events for people, cities/territories and the Olympic Movement.”
The Legacy Strategic Approach is based on four objectives:
1) To embed legacy throughout the Olympic Games lifecycle, ensuring that legacy is discussed with cities interested in hosting the Olympic Games as early as the Dialogue Stage, and is fully embedded in the Candidature Process and subsequent Games management, coordination and decision-making processes.
2) To document, analyse and communicate the legacy of the Olympic Games, regularly reporting on the potential legacies of upcoming Olympic Games and highlighting the long-term benefits of past Games.
3) To encourage Olympic legacy celebration, working with cities and NOCs to mark anniversaries and highlight successes.
4) To build strategic partnerships with organisations such as the World Union of Olympic Cities and the Active Well-being Initiative, to share and promote the full range of long-term benefits of hosting the Games.
Within the IOC, collaboration with the Olympic Studies Centre is important to identify academic publications documenting the legacy of the Olympic Games, making the link with academic experts in the field and promoting and funding research to fill the gaps of previous editions of the Games where legacy has not been fully analysed.
WHAT ARE THE IOC’S PRIORITIES IN ITS STRATEGY TO STRENGTHEN SUSTAINABILITY THROUGHOUT THE OLYMPIC MOVEMENT AND FOR FUTURE OLYMPIC GAMES?
Michelle: The IOC Sustainability Strategy is framed around the IOC’s three spheres of responsibility, i.e. as an organisation, as owner of the Olympic Games, and as leader of the Olympic Movement.
The framework is illustrated below:
The five focus areas were selected by considering today’s key sustainability challenges and the manner in which the IOC and its stakeholders believe the IOC can most effectively contribute to them. They are strongly inter-related and should be considered as a whole. The first four focus areas relate to things the sports world does, i.e. building and operating venues; procuring goods and services and managing resources; moving people and goods; and managing people. The fifth focus area, climate, is a cross-cutting theme; however we believe it is a matter of such critical importance that it requires special attention as a focus area in its own right.
Strategic intents for 2030 have been defined for each of our three spheres of responsibility and for each of the five focus areas. 2030 was considered a relevant target date as it responds to the need to develop long-term ambitions; it takes into account the duration of the Olympic Games bidding and planning processes; and it aligns with the timeline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
As a first step towards meeting our strategic intents for 2030, the IOC defined over-arching objectives to be achieved by 2020 for each of our three spheres of responsibility.
For the IOC as an organisation, it is “to embrace sustainability principles and to include sustainability in our day-to-day operations”. For the IOC as owner of the Olympic Games, the objective is “to take a proactive and leadership role on sustainability and ensure that it is included in all aspects of the planning and staging of the Olympic Games”. And for the IOC as leader of the Olympic Movement, it is “to engage and assist Olympic Movement stakeholders in integrating sustainability within their own organisations and operations”.
To achieve these over-arching 2020 objectives, 18 actions (nine for the organisation, four for the Olympic Games and five for the Olympic Movement) have been identified, and implementation is well under way.
The IOC Sustainability Strategy (Executive Summary and Long Version) is available on the Olympic World Library.