The recent negative publicity around Beijing 2008’s licensed merchandise is evidence that issues of Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing is on the rise as a key strategic issue in the Olympic movement. Organising and bid committees are waking up to this reality and, as a result, are making strong commitments to ethical and sustainable purchasing.
Setting goals related to sustainability is an increasing norm among Organising and Bid Committees. Procurement is seen as a leverage point through which such goals can be realized, and damaging PR issues can be avoided. The wider Olympic family, such as Olympic sponsors as well as both the International and National Olympic Committees, are also seeing the importance of sustainable procurement to their strategy and PR programs.
Vancouver 2010’s has made and continues to make considerable efforts through setting a new benchmark in ethical and sustainable purchasing within the Olympic movement. London 2012 is monitoring these initiatives and also intending to meet its sustainability goals, in part, through procurement. A recent article in the Financial Times cites Mayor Ken Livingstone as committing to hold its Olympic suppliers to ethical criteria. The Tokyo 2016 Bid Committee has also included a commitment to sustainable procurement in its bid.
Another positive trend that is emerging is organising committees and their stakeholders are taking a collaborative approach to these initiatives. This is evidenced through the increased dialogue between NGO stakeholders and the various committees. VANOC has engaged its stakeholders throughout the development of its Buy Smart program. London is continually engaged with its stakeholders on everything from developing its sustainability plan to venue construction to procurement.
The Olympic movement is moving into new territory as it strives to align with the greater community’s expectations around and commitment to sustainability and ethical and sustainable procurement will serve to raise the level of play. Furthermore, those efforts that are based on collaborative approaches and stakeholder engagement will only ensure greater success.
For more information on VANOC’s sustainability initiatives, please go to: http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/Sustainability
For more information on London 2012, please go to: http://www.london2012.com/plans/sustainability/index.php
The recent article in the Financial Times can be found at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bb32aa56-d82d-11dc-98f7-0000779fd2ac.html