2010 Winter Games to leave lasting environmental, social and economic legacies

Adherence to sustainability goals generates early results: report

VANCOUVER, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games may officially start on Friday but seven years of sustainability efforts have already started to pay off, with a carbon neutral Organizing Committee, torch relay and athletes, 62 Games-related sustainability innovations and 200 at-risk youth and new Canadians trained in a community-based carpentry program.

These are just a few of the examples of sustainable legacies from the Games contained in the fourth annual corporate Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Report released today by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). The report, which covers VANOC's performance against its sustainability commitments between August 1, 2008 and July 31, 2009, is available online at: www.vancouver2010.com/more-2010-information/sustainability/reports-and-resources/sustainability-report/.

"By making sustainability central to everything we do, and in collaboration with our partners, sponsors and community organizations, we have forged a new level of sustainability performance for the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said VANOC Chief Executive Officer John Furlong. "This report addresses each of our sustainability commitments, our short- and long-term goals and what we've done to meet them."

The report examines VANOC's performance on environmental, social and economic bid commitments and early legacies as the first athletes arrive to compete. Examples include:

-   Since 2003, Aboriginal businesses have received $56.7 million in
        contracts with VANOC; $5.9 million in this reporting period alone
    -   $56,460 contributed to the 2010 Aboriginal Youth Legacy Fund through
        the sale of official licensed merchandise
    -   $3 million to date spent on services and products from inner-city
        businesses or organizations in Vancouver; 1.2 million in this
        reporting period alone with 15 enterprises
    -   The most ambitious carbon management program to date for an Olympic
        or Paralympic Games with the aim of raising the bar on how sport
        events manage their climate impacts
    -   15 per cent reduction in carbon footprint of the Games due to energy
        efficiency and clean technologies
    -   Partnered with Offsetters making the 2010 Winter Games the first in
        Games history to have an Official Supplier of Carbon Offsets
    -   45,000-kilometre carbon neutral torch relay
    -   100 per cent carbon neutral athletes participating in the Games
    -   85 audits of 2010 merchandise licensees conducted to ensure they
        comply with relevant legal requirements, respect the rights of
        workers and protect the environment
    -   257 out of 257 suppliers met Canadian human rights standards
    -   Contracted 96 Aboriginal artists from across Canada to produce
        permanent installations as part of the Venues' Aboriginal Art Program
    -   50,000 tickets distributed through the Celebrate 2010 program to 300
        community organizations in Metro Vancouver, Sea to Sky region and
        Canada for those who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend
        the Games
    -   200 trainees, which included at-risk youth and new Canadians,
        developed carpentry skills at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication
        Shop in Vancouver's inner city to help them enter the workforce
    -   62 Games-related sustainability innovations by VANOC partners and
        sponsors recognized by the Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Star Program
    -   1,800 bouquets for Vancouver 2010 Victory Ceremonies made by
        marginalized women, who may be recovering from addiction, leaving
        prison, exiting the sex trade, or who have been victims of violence,
        as well as by other women they train with who are changing careers to
        become florists
    -   100 per cent of all Games venues and facilities reviewed for
        accessibility
    -   Eight multi-purpose sport venues and two athletes' villages targeting
        Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver or better
        (two already certified to a gold level)

The report reflects input from the general public; non-governmental organizations specializing in the inner city, the environment, sustainability, disability issues, and labour and human rights issues; and VANOC's own staff. VANOC's key performance measures have been assured for accuracy by a third party.

"Having started early with our planning and engaging early with our partners, sponsors, and local communities, these reports have helped to gauge our progress along the way. It is exciting to see the years of work starting to pay off even before the athletes begin to compete," said Ann Duffy, VANOC's corporate sustainability officer.

VANOC will continue to track and report on sustainability performance through the Games period and initial dissolution phase (April 30, 2010). The fifth and final sustainability report will include final steps taken, including: Games-time public participation and engagement initiatives, legacies and transfer of knowledge activities.

To measure its performance, the organizing committee uses the sustainability reporting guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI is an internationally established standard for corporate reporting on an organization's economic, social and environmental performance. It is aligned with several worldwide sustainability initiatives, is used by leading corporations in the private sector and is recognized by the United Nations.

Two versions of the report are available: a shorter "snapshot" version for readers interested in a summary and a longer, more technical version for those who want more detail. Both versions are available at: www.vancouver2010.com/more-2010-information/sustainability/reports-and-resources/sustainability-report/.

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

For further information: Media Contact: VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1611, E-mail: mediarelations@vancouver2010.com