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  • Olympics Can Be Green Catalyst Says IOC President


    The IOC President at the opening of the Beijing conference. (ATR)  
    (ATR) IOC President Jacques Rogge says the organization has a role to play in the environmental movement as a “catalyst”, his remarks coming at the opening of the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Beijing.

    He called the IOC “an engine that drives the Olympic Movement and its partners to be environmentally friendly.”

    Rogge says the development of the Olympic Global Impact project now measures the effect of the Games across the lifespan of a host city. He says federations have been urged to develop their own environmental programs. Sponsors, he noted, will use the Beijing Olympics “as an opportunity to introduce many environmentally responsible practices and products.”

    The IOC President noted the work that has been done in Beijing to improve the environment ahead of the Games. But in a diplomatic move, he dropped a paragraph of his speech that said some events might be rescheduled during the Games due to air pollution. The comments only appeared in an advance copy.

    But outside the hall, speaking to CNN, Rogge said that pollution postponements could happen in distance events.

    “We are used to it,” he said, comparing rescheduling for air pollution to postponements due to weather conditions, such as rain or wind or snow.

    Rogge was one of a series of speakers for the Thursday night opening of the three-day conference that included Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan and BOCOG President Liu Qi, two of the country’s leading politicians.

    In his remarks, Adolf Ogi, United Nations assistant secretary general, urged spectators to consider the impact of their attendance at sports events. Use mass transit to travel to the match, recycle waste at the arena.

    The conference, themed “From Plan to Action”, has attracted about 200 experts and sports leaders.
    BOCOG President Liu Qi. (ATR)  

    A Friday afternoon session will examine “the Olympics and corporate environmental responsibility”.

    Hosted by IOC member Pal Schmitt, panelists include Steve Bertamini, GE chairman and CEO for Northeast Asia and China, David Brookes Coca Cola VP and general manager for Beijing 2008 beverages and William Anderson, VP for Adidas group in Asia Pacific.

    Other panels will include a Greenpeace representative, supposedly for the first time at the IOC conference.

    In his speech, Rogge announced that Vancouver has been selected as the host for the 2009 conference, to be held in the spring, dates to be selected.

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