Operating sustainably has not been without its challenges for 2010 Olympic organizers, a new report shows.
It has been taxing to find companies that meet sustainable standards set by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC), there was a significant diesel spill at the Nordic centre in the Callaghan, and finding ways to reduce carbon emissions is driving every employee to think out of the box.
But the long-term legacy, said Ann Duffy, corporate sustainability officer for VANOC, is worth it.
“As we flesh out the report we see even more how sustainability touches everything we do here at VANOC, and with two years remaining we have been able to really see how our commitment is landing on the ground,” she said.
VANOC released its second of five expected Sustainability Reports this week. The full version and a snapshot were made available on the 2010 website at www.vancouver2010.com .
It covers efforts on the sustainability front by VANOC from Aug. 1, 2006 to July 31st, 2007.The study looks at six key performance areas which are under its direct control: accountability, environmental stewardship and impact reduction, social inclusion and responsibility, Aboriginal participation and collaboration, economic benefits, and sport for sustainable living.
The organization has come under fire by critics for not doing more to solve larger issues such as homelessness in inner city areas. But the report makes it clear that VANOC, while it can work with its partners on the issues, does not have the mandate to solve all problems.
By dividing the report into manageable parts VANOC also attempted to make the issue of sustainability more understandable. Though a buzzword for some time, many still think it is confined to issues around the environment. Getting the message out that it is about more than that is important said Duffy.
“Sustainability for us is taking responsibility where we can in everything we do,” she said.
“And taking responsibility means not only being on time and on budget but looking at the environmental opportunities and the social opportunities and the economic and prosperity opportunities in our decision making.
“Some times they are little things, like having waste-recycling in our offices, and sometimes they are big things, like finding a compact way to build a cross country ski venue, or finding ways to raise awareness around some of the people you can hire and recruit.”
In putting together the report 23 non-governmental organizations (NGO) were consulted, as well as other stakeholders.