Sustainable IOC – Sustainable Society

Impacts of the Olympic Games on the biosphere and on the communities that host them are significant. Increasing size, scope and costs, rising security concerns, cultural and environmental impacts are some of the key issues facing host cities and those cities bidding or considering bidding for the Olympic Games. One of the ideals of the Olympic Charter is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of mankind and the three pillars of the Olympic movement are sport, culture and environment. This paper examines the IOC’s options for sustainability in its primary question: In what way could the International Olympic Committee (IOC) contribute to a global movement towards socio-ecological sustainability ? The hypothesis that the IOC is an agent for social/cultural and environmental change is explored. The paper uses a principled definition of success for socio-ecological sustainability and presents a vision of a sustainable IOC and Olympic Movement within a sustainable society. From that vision specific IOC strategies along with past, present and short-term future actions are analysed to determine the obstacles and deficiencies in moving the IOC toward complying with scientifically relevant principles for socio-ecological sustainability. Systems thinking is used to identify obstacles and opportunities within the Olympic Movement. These obstacles and opportunities to strategically move the IOC toward sustainability are identified, analysed and discussed. The paper concludes with examples of possible actions the IOC could take to strategically move towards sustainability.

Author: Birte Berlemann, Mitch Rhodes

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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