【FOCUS】Embracing Sustainable Olympics, Embracing Brighter Future

Recently, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics held its closing ceremony, and its slogan, "Together for a Shared Future", has not only left a deep impression on people but also reflected the concept of sustainable development. During its over-six-year preparations, measures to promote sustainability have covered every aspect of the Winter Olympics, creating benefits for the cities and citizens in various aspects. The following facts outline the sustainability of Beijing 2022 from perspectives of Olympic preparations, regional development, and people's lives.

Beijing 2022: Plan to Be Sustainable

Two years ago, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Sustainability Plan was released by the Beijing Organising Committee and the International Olympic Committee. The Plan aims at blazing a trail for mutual promotion between the Olympics itself and the urban-civil development.

The Plan reflects the Beijing 2022 mission of being "green, open, inclusive, and clean". It aligns with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by raising its ambitious sustainability objectives. Taking the Beijing 2022 as an opportunity, China has written new chapters for ecological environment improvement, regional and urban development, and social progress.

Low-carbon Management and Environmental Protection

To make the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games sustainable, China aims to achieve carbon-neutrality in multiple aspects, such as energy, venues, and transport. Measures for being carbon-neutral include donating forest carbon sinks from Beijing and Zhangjiakou city to the Committee, multi-party sponsorship of low-carbon products, and employing low-carbon transport. Also, Beijing has continuously expanded channels for carbon offsets, and promoted full-emission reduction to achieve carbon-neutral goals.

The concept of carbon neutrality is fully applied in the construction of venues. Instead of building all venues from scratch, the Beijing Organising Committee has fully utilized previous stadiums of the 2008 Summer Olympics by low-carbon upgrading them for ice sports. The venues are unprecedentedly powered with renewable energy like solar and wind as primary energy sources. What is more, for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games, four ice venues used natural CO2 refrigeration systems, a low climate impact technology.

Beijing 2022 has also prioritized sustainability when building and operating new venues. As skiing events are mainly held in mountainous areas, the Olympic Committee has adopted various measures to protect the environment of those areas. On the one hand, efforts to reduce environmental impacts have been taken, such as protecting the animals and plants and efficiently using water resources. On the other hand, the Committee carried out ecological restoration simultaneously. These actions have saved the lush mountains and clear waters of the competition area, realizing Beijing's goal of a green Winter Olympics.


Legacy For Urban Development

The preparations for Beijing 2022 bring many sustainable urban and regional development results, leading to ecological improvement, economic development, and social progress.

As part of the preparation works for the Games, local governments have accelerated the completion of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway and Beijing-Chongli Expressway, improved the road network, and interconnected transportation facilities. They also realized multi-regional cooperation and jointly efficient prevention and control of the regional environment. 

PHOTO: Xinhua News Agency

Moreover, by improving the infrastructure construction and the regional public services, the local government has attracted enterprises to settle down, accelerating the development of ice-snow and green energy industries. This stimulated the innovatively high-quality advancement of cities--"Shougang Park: New Landmark of Urban Regeneration", "Yanqing: The Most Beautiful Winter Olympic City", and "Zhangjiakou: Asian Ice and Snow Tourism Resort".

Improving People's Well-being

Improving people's living standards is one of the goals of Beijing 2022 and a crucial part of sustainable development. To achieve this goal, the local government has promoted upgrading domestic infrastructure, improved public services, and maximizing opportunities and benefits to local citizens.

Beijing 2022 and its preparation works have boosted and popularized ice-snow sports in China, promoting people's national fitness to live a healthier lifestyle. The community winter sports activities will continue on an upward trend, in line with Beijing's vision of engaging 300 million people in winter sports within the country.

The Games also increased employment opportunities in industries related to ice-snow sports, created a more inclusive society by bettering barrier-free environments for the disabled, and engaged more people into volunteer service, driving the whole society to become more civilized.

PHOTO: Xinhua News Agency

We have reasons to believe that Beijing 2022 will boost sustainable development in all three spheres: environment, economy, and society. We should also trust that the athletes arduously achieving sporting excellence can greatly inspire and excite the world.

"This Plan shows that Beijing 2022 recognizes their responsibility to integrate sustainability principles throughout all stages of the Games' preparation," the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach once commented on Beijing's sustainable plan. He said, "from using existing venues to the many measures to minimize environmental impacts and reduce carbon emissions, all these initiatives underline the commitment of Beijing 2022 to contribute to the sustainable development in China".


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2. Beijing 2022 builds on 2008 legacy (2022). [online] Available at<https://olympics.com/ioc/news/beijing-2022-builds-on-2008-legacy> (11/02/2022)

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4. Message on the Publication of Sustainability Plan for Beijing 2022 Games (2022). [online] Available at<https://www.beijing2022.cn/a/20200515/003297.htm> (15/05/2020 10:07)