On the Air: using sport to accelerate sustainability

Flickr / woolennium

This week’s Green with Envy radio show focused on using sport to accelerate sustainability. As described by host Peter ter Weeme:

“We all know that sports and physical activity are important to maintaining good health, developing teamwork skills, and fostering relationships and understanding between people and cultures. But there’s a new benefit that’s emerging – a global movement around sport and sustainability. From baseball diamonds to major sporting events, action is being taken to gain a better understanding of the impact sporting events have on the environment, provide inspiration and tools for teams and venues to make changes to reduce that impact, and engage more people in the benefits of sport. Tune into this week’s edition of Green With Envy to hear more about the people making it happen.”

The show started with a topical discussion between host Peter ter Weeme, Tim Reeve and Ann Duffy focused on their experiences integrating sustainability into the delivery of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

Later in the show, Rosalyn Morrison, Chair of the Ontario Summer Games Legacy Committee, shared insights on incorporating sustainability into Toronto’s upcoming Ontario Summer Games and 2015 Pan Am Games. Allen Herschkowitz, board member of the Green Sports Alliance gave some compelling information on the enormous eco-footprint of sporting events followed by some innovative examples of green stadium operations and potential for environmental and financial savings.

Tune in – full audio from the show can be streamed from the Green with Envy website HERE.

Sustainable Procurement Program for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics steps into the Starting Gate

A busy Moscow street

I recently returned from my second trip to Moscow as part of Reeve Consulting’s work advising the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee on the design and development of an Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program for the next winter Olympics.

Building on our experience as the lead consultant on the award-winning BuySmart Program for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), Reeve Consulting became engaged with the Sochi 2014 organizers in mid-2010. Following approval of the project by the Sochi Supervisory Board last summer, our work began in the fall, including a project scoping trip in late-November to define the design of policies, procedures, scorecards, metrics and implementation plans

We returned to Moscow in February to present the recommended green purchasing and sustainable sourcing program to key stakeholders in Procurement, Licensing, Sustainability, Environment and Planning departments. I also met with key Functional Areas across the Organizing Committee to identify high priority environmental and sustainable purchases. These include the opening and closing ceremony costumes, victory bouquets, gifts, Olympic medals, as well as more functional items like office supplies, paper, temporary power generators, waste and food contracts.

Implementation Strategy

There are 3 key elements in the Sochi 2014 implementation strategy:

Flip chart sheet featuring elements of the process design

1. Applying tools and supplier scorecards to RFP documents to reward environmental and sustainable innovations from suppliers. Organizers will continue to use selection criteria such as price, quality and service when choosing vendors through a competitive bid process, but now there is a formal and systematic way for sustainability to be factored into supplier selection; a potential “tipping point” in which suppliers secure contracts.

2. Targeting “high profile” procurements and working directly with key Functional Areas and the official supplier community to maximize sustainability benefits. Examples of such opportunities include food and catering services that use local food, subcontracting opportunities for local businesses in cleaning, recycling, FSC paper products and printing services, legacy recycling and waste collection containers and more.

If supplier scorecards and sustainability specifications in RFP documents (element #1 above) are like “procurement fishing nets”, then Sochi can expect to catch lots of salmon through its procurement processes. But some fish are too big for the nets: healthy local food, compostable dinnerware, medals, official gifts, vehicles, temporary power. These are the really Big Tuna’s, and these are the procurements that are on the high profile watch list (element #2). These key opportunities need to be tracked individually to ensure they are landed.

3. Introducing a social compliance program for licensees. During my trip the key executives endorsed a social compliance program for licensed merchandise, including policies prohibiting forced and child labor for all merchandise displaying the Olympic mark. Further, the project stakeholders reviewed a draft Licensee Code of Conduct and compliance procedure for current and future licensees. By introducing requirements for factory audits and ensuring licensees are meeting ethical and environmental standards, the Sochi 2014 organizers have initiated a program very similar to VANOC’s Buy Smart program.

3 Years and Counting

I experienced classic winter in Moscow

Just like our first trip the days were long, the work was challenging, and I continued to be impressed by the dedication, professionalism and passion of the Sochi 2014 staff.

Our recent February trip also marked a number of significant Olympic milestones, including the start of the three-year countdown to the opening ceremonies and the beginning of test events in some of the recently completed competition venues

Three years may seem like a long time – but in fact, for the Organizing Committee, the planning and project definition phase is very nearly complete. Procurement activity will greatly increase in the next 12 months. The team of Licensees will be filled and production of branded merchandise will begin to significantly ramp up. Now is the time for the Sochi Buy Smart project to leverage the brand, economic, and green benefits associated with environmental purchasing and sustainable sourcing.

Round Two: Building our Second Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program for the Winter Olympic Games

Being a part of the bid that brought the Winter Olympic Games to Vancouver in 2010 was a once in a lifetime opportunity – as was getting to work as an expert advisor to the 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) on the award-winning Buy Smart Program. So it is with great excitement that I undertake the opportunity to apply my experiences a second time by advising the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games on the development of their Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program.

During a recent fact-finding and project kick-off visit to Moscow I met with members of the Sohci 2014 Executive Team as well as key staff in functional areas such as Procurement, Environment, Sustainability, Licensing, Food & Beverage, Cleaning & Waste, and Marketing. The purpose of these meetings was to confirm the vision for the project and begin the design of a comprehensive environmental and sustainable procurement program. Another main focus was to begin to identify high profile products and services for showcasing a green and sustainable Olympic Games. Potential areas of opportunity include local food, products with minimal packaging and joint ventures with local firms.

My time in Moscow was intense, enjoyable and I met many wonderful people, and overall the experience left me with a number of high-level impressions including the following:

Similarities with VANOC: While Moscow is half a world away from my hometown of Vancouver, I was struck by the similarities between the office of the Sochi Organizing Committee and VANOC. A number of elements felt very familiar including the open plan layout, long working hours, and incredibly dedicated, highly qualified staff. There were also a number of familiar Canadian faces including Dennis Hainault (advising on venue management) and Ron Holton (advising on risk management programming).

Magnitude of the project: Getting ready for the 2014 Olympics is a huge undertaking and includes a $30 billion investment in construction to create a brand new stadiums, hockey rinks, curling rinks, speed skating venue as well as re-building the nearby ski hill and rail line that travels between the mountain venue and Sochi.

Sophistication of project systems: While in Moscow I was introduced to the Enterprise Resource Planning System, a complex project management and procurement system for managing all products and materials purchased. In addition, the Organizing Committee has set up a centralized Project Planning Office that helps to coordinate all internal projects with the overall Master Plan for the Games.

Hope and vision: The environmental and sustainable procurement program is aiming to be a straightforward and practical program with the potential to have a significant impact in key areas such as energy efficiency, packaging and economic opportunities for the surrounding region. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is fortunate to have great staff teams in the Environment and Sustainability Functions – and I’m inspired by their passion to do great things for their country and honored to be a part of a new green movement within the Russian Federation.

I’m looking forward to returning to Moscow in early 2011 to finalize the design of the procurement program. I’m also hopeful that this partnership will continue beyond the program design phase and that Reeve Consulting will have the opportunity to support the ongoing implementation of the project leading up to the 2014 Winter Games.

Sports, Legacy and Sustainability Dialogue with Bruce Kidd

Are the Olympics worth it?  That was the question posed to the Sports, Legacy and Sustainability panel on March 13, 2010.  Bruce Kidd, former Olympic athlete and guru of sports and sustainability, anchored the panel with an opening reflection on sustainability in Olympics past.  He seemed encouraged by the progress, yet hesitant to answer yes to his question.

Bruce gave credit where credit is due:  VANOC did build some of the greenest buildings in the world to host athletes; it was the first Olympics to embrace Aboriginal participation at the organizing level; and, VANOC’s Buy Smart program broke ground in the area of sustainable purchasing.

The most important legacy of the Games is athleticism, before the environment, before anything according to Kidd.  And although Canada has proudly hosted three Olympic Games, we were disappointed to hear that participation of children and youth in sports in this country is plummeting.

Flickr / adrian8_8

Kidd was joined by Derek Wyatt, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Group and James Tansey of Offsetters.  Wyatt talked candidly about the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) lack of commitment to ensuring a sustainable legacy in Host Cities.  In his opinion, Host Cities carry the sustainability agenda with little support from the IOC.

Wyatt is advocating for the IOC to support the creation of an “Olympic University” in London that would provide training and education to disenfranchised inner-city East Londoners.  Wyatt believes this is a missed opportunity.  The Organizing Committee for London 2012 could hire more of the so called “underemployed” inner-City folks from East London if training was provided amongst this population.

James Tansey was more positive and sited the sustainability wins of VANOC including their commitments to offsetting the carbon footprint, the green building designs and the training legacy of the Buy Smart program.

Despite having different priorities, the panellists agreed that Host Cities and those who live there feel a deep sense of human spirit and pride, which in itself is a large legacy.  Human’s need food for the body as well as the heart, said Kidd.  To paraphrase James Tansey:  ‘on that gold medal Sunday, Canadians had so much pride they didn’t know what to do with it’.

This is a debate that will continue.  We see many benefits – but are waiting to learn more about the real results before making a final decision.   What do you think?  “Is it worth it?”  Please post your comments as you begin to reflect on your Olympic legacy.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Medals: the Untold Story

Flickr / US Mission Canada

Did you know that the Vancouver 2010 Olympic medals are made of recycled gold, silver and bronze recovered from used electronics?  It’s true, the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Games has worked with their domestic sponsor Teck Resources to ensure each of the 1,000+ medals contain recycled metals from electronic waste.  This is a great achievement worthy of its own medal and should be shared to inspire the world to take on similar initiatives.

With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games well underway, many Olympic champions have risen to the podium to accept their medals, how many know that the medals they receive symbolize more than an ultimate athletic achievement.  On Sunday, Kevin McCarty had the amazing opportunity to sit with the athletes’ families during the speed skating and cross country skiing Victory Ceremonies.  He reported that it was a powerful experience to witness their emotion as their loved one’s bowed to receive their medals.  However, he also noticed that the story of recycled metal in the medals wasn’t made apparent during the ceremonies.

Some might argue that the Victory Ceremonies are not about environmentalism and social responsibility, but during the beginning of the ceremonies information was projected on three large screens above the podium that proudly outlined VANOC’s commitment to being one of the most sustainable Games in Olympic history.  So there is a place in the Ceremonies for environmentalism and social responsibility, but unfortunately the story of the medals was not apparent.  Additionally, there was a short video shown about the artists who designed the medals, but again, the story of the recycled content was not told.

We here at Reeve Consulting strongly believe in the power of purchasing to change the world we live in and feel it would be a great opportunity to promote sustainable purchasing while the world is watching.  The story of the medals and their recycled metal content is a great example of how VANOC is helping to change the world.  The Victory Ceremonies would be a great place to share this story.

Check out these related blogs for more information on the Buy Smart Program and related success stories:  Buy Smart Program; Vancouver Olympics Sources Ethically Produced Flowers for Medal Ceremony

Reeve ‘Out and About’ at the Samsung 2010 Winter Games Sustainability Summit

Say “Samsung Sustainability Summit” really quickly, five times in a row.  Not so easy, is it? 

After attending the Samsung 2010 Winter Games Sustainability Summit in Vancouver last Thursday, January 28, it has been easy to talk about Samsung and sustainability in one sentence. 

Samsung, as an official sponsor to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has grown with the IOC to become a leading sustainable supply chain advocate and practitioner.  In conversation with Ron Hulse, VP of Mobile Communications and Information Technology for Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., we discovered that Samsung appears to run a tight supply chain that fosters sustainability. From using EPA Smartway Transportation, to ensuring ISO 14001 compliance in 37 global manufacturing facilities, to trendy phones made of recycled products that use solar energy to function, to this Sustainability Summit, Samsung is well on its way to stepping out as a leader in sustainable supply chain management.

The Summit was buzzing with James Balog’s ‘Extreme Ice Survey’ presentation, a ground breaking photo documentary of the impact of climate change on glaciers and oceans around the world.  Balog set the scene by clearly demonstrating that climate change is urgent and we have a serious challenge to which to rise. 

Linda Coady, VP of Sustainability for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games highlighted how they are front runners in planning the most sustainable Games in Olympic history.  Sounds like sustainability is becoming an Olympic sport; hopefully records are broken every year.

James Tansey, President of Offsetters, was proud to say they are going to help ensure the 2010 Games are carbon neutral and that individuals will be rewarded for offsetting their carbon impacts during the Olympics.  And Tzeporah Berman, co-founder of Forest Ethics, spoke eloquently about influencing large corporations to rethink their supply chain logistics and strategies in order to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

Everyone’s approach to addressing climate change through supply chain management was impressive and it was inspiring to hear their stories.  Reeve Consulting looks forward to helping to make the Olympics carbon neutral by offsetting our carbon emissions during the Games!

Ethical & sustainable purchasing around the dinner table

What happens when you bring some of the leading policy makers and practitioners in ethical and sustainable purchasing together over dinner? Lively and informative discussion on maintaining VANOC’s Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing (ESP) momentum, the influence of larger contracts vs. smaller ones, concerns of audit fatigue, as well as the importance of supplier engagement and looking inward at your own practices were all subjects discussed in a recent congregation of Vancouver-based thought leaders.

On November 30th Reeve Consulting hosted an Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing dinner with the goal of facilitating conversation between some of Vancouver’s movers and shakers and exploring the opportunities and challenges facing the ESP movement.

The wide range of guests included:
• Kai Alderson, Fasken Martineau
• Rory Carr, RC Products
• Harvey Chan, Mountain Equipment Co-op
• Daryl Doyle, SAP
• Councilor Geoff Meggs, City of Vancouver
• Monica Netupsky, VANOC licensing
• Melorin Pouladian, Lululemon
• Denise Taschereau , Fairware
• Tim Reeve, Reeve Consulting
• Kevin McCarty, Reeve Consulting
• Amanda Mungal, Reeve Consulting

Over dinner, the desire to ensure the momentum created by VANOC is maintained post-Vancouver 2010 was discussed. Small licensees, in particular, have been able to leverage the VANOC license to encourage factory compliance and there is concern that the once the Olympics is over the influence small companies have on their supply chains will dwindle.

Common challenges raised by purchasers were both lack of buying power relative to overall factory production and audit fatigue on behalf of factory owners. Rory stated that he heard reports of one factory that had to conduct nearly one audit a week to keep up with the demands of factory compliance. Harvey suggested one possibility for addressing audit fatigue is to place more emphasis on direct engagement with suppliers and less emphasis on using a particular audit. If a factory has passed a standard audit then accepting those results while directly engaging the factory owner may bring about a more fruitful outcome. These comments lead into deep conversation on ways to share factory audit information without losing competitive edge and better ways to directly engage suppliers.

Monica and Denise both suggested that educating consumers needs to be a high priority in furthering the ESP momentum fueled by VANOC. Rory suggested that combining this with some kind of positive recognition for companies that practice ESP rather than negative recognition might help consumers make more informed choices. Often consumers are made aware of the companies they shouldn’t buy from rather than the good ones they should buy from.

Melorin and Daryl recognized the significant opportunity for large companies to move beyond “greening” their retail product by “greening” their operations. Denise agreed, stating that in her work she often finds that “green” companies have put so many resources into their retail product that they have none left for internal operations and often turn to her when they realize their promotional items are in direct contrast to their own retail product.

Also, there was a good discussion of how purchasing organizations can contribute to human rights violations by putting unreasonable demands on their suppliers. For example, when a large order is needed immediately, then it may be that employees are required to work longer days that are in violation with international labour conventions. It was agreed that it is important for purchasing organizations to recognize their influence on factory labour conditions in order to help their suppliers comply with international labour standards.

The dinner wound down with everyone feeling energized and more connected. The Reeve Team really enjoyed hearing what our industry colleagues had to say and looks forward to another opportunity to continue these discussions.

Reeve Consulting ‘Out and About’: World Conference on Sport and the Environment

On March 30th Reeve Consulting attended the World Conference on Sport and Environment which is organized every two years by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme. The conference is designed to encourage strong social responsibility and reduce the impacts that sports events can have on the environment, particularly the Olympics.

This year the theme of the conference was ‘Innovation and Inspiration: Harnessing the Power of Sport for Change’. Reeve would like to note a few interesting points from the delegates of the conference:

Thomas Van Dyck, Senior Vice President – Financial Consultant, Senior Consulting Group RBC Wealth Management – SRI Wealth Management Group, USA delivered a compelling opening plenary presentation speaking to the critical importance of ethical and sustainable purchasing as a market mechanism to scale up a green and sustainability oriented economy.

Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer, Vancouver 2010, and David Stubbs, Head of Environment and Sustainable Development, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG 2012) highlighted how purchasing is a central tenant of their overall strategies to advance zero waste, carbon neutral commitments and other sustainability priorities. Reeve worked closely with Vancouver 2010 on the development of their Buy Smart program and was happy to see this program being profiled in Ann’s presentation.

Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier of the Province of British Columbia, was impressive as he highlighted the importance of investing in a green economy and that we need to act now on the issue of climate change. He painted an optimistic vision of how we can capitalize on investments in green technologies and infrastructure to build a stronger and more productive economy in BC and beyond. Reeve Consulting shares this vision and it’s great to hear the premier of BC showing leadership on an international platform.

The conference was a great opportunity to network with likeminded firms, organizations and individuals. A couple of our observations from the conference include:

  • sport management professionals and other major event representatives at the conference are clearly hungry for details on sustainable purchasing
  • many we spoke with were looking for more tangible examples of actual program implementation / challenges and success
  • many sessions were struggling to get started and finished on time as there was a thirst for networking and folks    were keen to continue conversations outside of the sessions
  • some question periods were quite limited, which in some cases, stifled some potentially interesting discussions
  • hopefully day two will begin really start to unpeel the implementation onion and move from discussion of plans and management systems to actual results

Reeve ‘Out and About’: The Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit Workshop

Reeve participated this past Sunday, March 29th, in the Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit (SSET) Workshop organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC) and the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) as a pre-conference activity to the 8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Vancouver.

As a legacy of the 2010 Games, VANOC has been working with AISTS, the International Olympic Committee and other global sport organizations to create an easy-to-use web-based toolkit designed to help sport event organizers manage their footprint. This workshop was organized to provide understanding of the toolkit’s resources and website, and listen to first-hand stories from athletes and sport organizations currently involved in testing the toolkit.

The toolkit has eight chapters that will guide the user in creating sustainable sport and event strategies.  Chapter 5 focuses on how to involve the community and engage in Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing to support sustainable sport event commitments.  An innovative feature of the toolkit is the web-based SSET Wiki, which is an interactive platform that allows users of the toolkit to login and share best practices, ideas, statistics, stories and general comments and feedback.  The SSET Wiki also provides resources and tools that are linked directly to goals and objectives in the toolkit.

The workshop presented a wealth of information on how Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing can be leveraged by sports organizations to meet their overall sustainability commitments.  For example, VANOC shared some success stories of their Buy Smart Program, which was designed, with support from Reeve Consulting, to ensure that sustainability, ethical choices and Aboriginal participation are taken into account within procurement and licensing activities.  London 2012, Speed Skating Canada, and the International Cycling Union also recognized the role of Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing in achieving sustainability objectives of sporting events.

Reeve sees the SSET as an important step in ensuring the sustainability of future large-scale games and is excited to support the enhancement of this tool through the interactive wiki web platform.  The SSET will help to embed Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing in future games and Reeve Consulting looks forward to participating in the application of this innovative toolkit.