Athletes at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be given the opportunity to inspire people across the globe, by helping to raise awareness about environmental issues, and explaining how people from their home country can take simple actions towards a more sustainable future.
Officially-opened today, the One Planet Centre, at the heart of the Olympic Village, is an interactive hub filled with activities and information about the positive steps that can be taken to help build a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future. Through a series of fun, social events and competitions, athletes will be able to find out more about reducing energy use, cutting waste, and protecting the environment.
By combining the power of social media, with the charismatic and inspirational role-model leadership which Olympic and Paralympic athletes provide to young people, the One Planet Centre plays a vital part of the London 2012 Games’ desire to build a better world for future generations.
Opening the One Planet Centre, UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:
“Sustainability has been at the heart of the bid to hold the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – from the construction of the Olympic Park, to the staging of the Games and the long legacy they will leave behind.
“Our investment in the One Planet Centre will help Olympic athletes to return to their home countries as ambassadors for creating a sustainable future and a greener planet.”
Her sentiments were echoed by David Stubbs, Head of Sustainability at the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), who said:
“Our vision was to use the power of the Games to influence lasting sustainable change. The athletes and sport are at the heart of the Games, and the One Planet Centre on the Olympic Village is the perfect place to positively engage with them.”
British Olympian Ben Hunt-Davis, a gold medallist at Sydney 2000, agreed that the special energy created inside the Athletes Village would be a powerful force to help drive change, saying:
“This project is an ideal way to capture the one planet spirit you find in the athletes village during the Games. Engaging athletes in sending out a positive message from London about how we can all build a better world ensures the village spirit is carried to every corner of the globe.”
The One Planet Centre is a great example of collaboration between London 2012, Government, charity and business. Developed by London 2012 in partnership with Defra (the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the project has been managed by leading charity BioRegional and supported by Coca Cola.
Many of the activities in the Centre, from the swapping of pins to the sharing of stories and use of social media, have used Coca-Cola’s experience from previous Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Katherine Symonds, Head of Sustainable Games, Coca-Cola said:
“Sustainability is at the heart of our London 2012 sponsorship and the One Planet Centre is one way we are encouraging behaviour change beyond the Games. Through similar initiatives we ran at the Beijing and Vancouver Games we know that by educating and engaging athletes about sustainable living we can get this message to a much wider audience. Better still, if we connect with them on things that they find fun, we know we get a better response – hence bringing the popular activities of pin-trading and kit-swapping into this space.”
The Centre has been brought to life by leading sustainability charity BioRegional. In addition to the Centre there is a photo competition and a number of “Sustainability Circles” designed by the Royal College of Art to discover that tell the story of living more sustainably as well as creating a ‘treasure hunt’ competition for athletes. It is also the meeting point for athletes who want to find out more about the transformation of the Olympic Park, through “A Walk in the Olympic Park”, led by the London 2012 team.
Sue Riddlestone, BioRegional’s Executive Director, welcomed the opening of the One Planet Centre saying:
“For some athletes the One Planet Centre will be the first time they are asked to think about sustainability. I am excited that we have been given this unique opportunity to create a centre which will educate athletes about living sustainably and inspire them to become ambassadors for helping to create a better tomorrow.”
Notes to editors
- Defra and its agencies have been fully involved in sustainable activity in the preparation of every Olympic venue. For more information please visit the Defra website.
- Read background information about sustainability and London 2012, which has set out to be the greenest Games of modern times.
- About Coca-Cola and the Olympic Movement – The Coca-Cola Company has been continuously associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 – longer than any other corporate sponsor of the Olympic Movement. The Company works with National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. More than 90 percent of Coca-Cola’s investment in the Olympic Games is directed to athlete development and to assist in staging the Games. Products of The Coca-Cola Company refresh athletes, volunteers, officials and spectators during the Olympic Games. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through to 2020.