London Olympics Setting New “Green” Standard

London Olympics Setting New “Green” Standard

A nutritious, low-carbon meal?

The London 2012 Olympic Games are in full swing. Although there has been some controversy over security and NBC’s coverage of events, the games go on, exciting fans around the world.

Brighter Green was curious how these Olympic Games were responding to issues of sustainability, given the massive amount of resources required to put on the global pastime. Just before the opening, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner visited the site in London and praised the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) for implementing various green targets:

“London’s cleanup of an old industrial site; the restoration of flows and habitat on the River Lea; the greening of supply chains; the low energy linked with the design and construction of the stadium including utilizing old gas pipe’s for the facility’s Olympic ring; and the use of temporary structures to reduce emissions are among the actions that can assist in inspiring the organizers of the Rio 2016 games and beyond…”

But what about what’s on the menu? LOCOG released this report in December 2009 on the “food vision” for the games. It includes pictures of free-range, grazing cattle, and an explantation of McDonald’s (UK) move to free range eggs and organic milk. In a blog last summer, we touched on the controversy of a fast food establishment being the official restaurant of the Olympics. The report also lauds Coca Cola and Cadbury in their efforts to reduce emissions, two companies that produce low-nutrient, high-caloric products (for the most part).

We were happy to discover that one goal of the report is to “increase the proportion of menu items without meat/fish content” and “optimise portion sizes, especially of fish and meat, to encourage responsible eating habits.” This at least begins to approach the idea that meat and fish production are resource-intensive. Also, a large percentage of the food making up the 14 million meals being served over the course of the games will be UK-sourced. Certainly significant steps have been made to “green” the Olympics, and we hope it inspires even more efforts in future games (though Rio shall prove challenging given Brazil’s powerful beef and soy industries. See more on our Brazil page).

Photo courtesy of David Holt/Flickr