From London to Trentino to Sochi: the greening of sports events

On the eve of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, PEFC is celebrating the achievements by sports events in the past few years in being green.

From London to Trentino to Sochi: the greening of sports events

6 February 2014 News

On the eve of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, PEFC is celebrating the achievements by sports events in the past few years in being green, first and foremost the 2012 London and 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, which both specified PEFC within their procurement requirements.

Yet also smaller events set examples in reducing their environmental impact. The most recent example is the Winter Universiade, which took place in in Trentino, Italy, in December 2013. This global sporting event, which welcomed 3,500 college athletes from 61 countries, reduced environmental impacts in line with to a Declaration of Sustainability prepared and signed by the Organizing Committee, the Trentino Consortium of Municipalities and PEFC Italy.

Through a range of initiatives set out in the Declaration of Sustainability, such as the use of local PEFC certified timber and transport by methane- and hydrogen-powered buses, the 20,000 tons of CO2 produced by this event was offset.

“The goal was to use PEFC certified paper throughout the entire event and to use timber which comes from a legal and sustainable source, and which is also certified as coming from the Trentino region,” said Antonio Brunori, Secretary General of PEFC Italy. “According to the calculations of the Organizing Committee and the Scientific Committee, the use of timber from the local Trentino forests to build the temporary and permanent structures has allowed for a 60 ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

Among these temporary and permanent structures built from local timber is the building on Lake Tésero in Val di Fiemme, which hosted the various television stations that came from around the world to cover the Universiade games. This building is the 5th worldwide and 2nd in Italy to receive the PEFC project certification, testimony to the use of 700 cubic meters of local timber deriving from sustainably managed forests.

The success of this ‘zero impact’ Games is has been possible through the support received from government agencies, citizens, and the sustainably managed, certified forests covering the mountains and valleys of the region. It is no coincidence that this was achieved in Trentino: in the province of Trento there are 260,000 hectares of certified forest which amounts to a total of 75% of the local forests – compared to the Italian average of just under 9%.

“This is a source of extreme pride for the Autonomous Province of Trento, because we are able to communicate to consumers that the timber deriving from these forests provides guarantees of continuity in forest coverage and forest regeneration,” said Romano Masè, from the Autonomous Province of Trento, Department of Forest Resources. “Consumers can be sure that this timber is the result of good forest management, focusing not only on the economic aspect but also on ecosystem balances and the preservation of the natural heritage for future generations.”

In addition to the use of wood and wood products with PEFC certification, other initiatives were undertaken such as a sustainable mobility plan for the transfer of athletes, technical staff, officials, journalists and spectators using methane- and hydrogen-powered buses. In order to control waste, water distributors were placed at the sites of the races rather than the use of plastic bottles and there was strict control of the correct disposal and reuse of materials and temporary structures.

The Consortium of the Trentino Municipalities also participated in the general environmental mission by modernizing and servicing the public heating plants to increase their energetic efficiency; reducing temperatures in public offices during December and for two of the four Sundays of November traffic blocks reduced transportation emissions. During the event, public lighting was switched off thirty minutes before the usual time and street lighting was reduced in intensity. Collective public transportation services were also promoted and increased, including the local school-bus service, car sharing and carpooling.

Trentino also hosted the 2013 Fiemme Nordic Ski World Championships, which also had PEFC at its heart. PEFC Italy has also come together with Italian Federation of Orienteering Sports (FISO) to promote the sport of orienteering and the benefits of sustainable forest management. The two organizations will work together to show orienteering as a sport that promotes knowledge and protection of the forest environment. They will also organize the World Orienteering Championships and Trail Orienteering World Championships that will be held in Northeast Italy (Trentino and Veneto regions) between 5 and 13 July 2014, bringing around 1,000 lovers of this ‘forest sport’ into PEFC certified areas of Italy.


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