The Chemistry of Sustainable Games

The Chemistry of Sustainable Games
March 4, 2020
Posted by:
Jessica Crawford

By Host CityDr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, Global Technology & Sustainability Director, Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions talked to Host City at Global Sports Week about how to reduce the carbon footprint of the Games.Dow has been a partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2010, initially working on providing technologies and solutions for the Games.“Our products are everywhere and so they can also be enabling of and supporting the Games,” says Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, Global Technology & Sustainability Director, Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions.“We wanted to understand how we could use this partnership to go beyond and to integrate more our experiences and expertise of sustainability. That’s why we became the Carbon Partner of the Sochi Games.“We are using sport to create an acceleration, to help us bring businesses to the table and to collaborate on CO2 reduction projects.”Following its first tenure as Carbon Partner for the Sochi 2014, Dow went on to become Carbon Partner of Rio 2016 – during which Host City ran a digital communications campaign with Dow. And then in 2017, Dow became Carbon Partner of the IOC.“We have taken this platform from a Games focus and a host country focus to now a global focus. It’s our global platform of collaboration on climate change that utilises our technologies, our customers’ technologies and engages the entire value chain on projects.”95 to 96 per cent of products are enabled by chemistry, much of which enables reductions in CO2. For instance, Dow’s products go into insulation.“What we have seen is the benefits that we deliver in terms of CO2 reductions from our products far outweigh the carbon footprint of when they are being manufactured. It’s a ratio of three or four to one of CO2 reduction benefits that we enable through our products.”Paris 2024 is already talking of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 per cent, and there is much work to be done to establish how to achieve this.“It’s really good that Paris focusses on how to reduce their emissions,” says Piccolrovazzi. “It’s very important for us to focus on understanding the impact and then reducing the emissions.“Every Games needs to define an effective mitigation strategy. That is still being developed by Paris. Every Games needs to do something that is relevant for their own emission reality.”5 million tonne CO2e reduction[Source: Dow] By 7 February 2020, the cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from Dow’s carbon programs with Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and the IOC had reached more than 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), according to third-party verification by Environmental Resources Management (ERM). This compares to an amount of CO2 sequestered by 6.5 million acres of U.S. forests in one year.In 2019 alone, Dow’s carbon program with the IOC reduced 655,000 tonnes CO2e of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of 139,026 vehicles driven for one year. By 2026 – the end of the monitoring period agreed to by the IOC – the carbon benefits are expected to reach more than 7 million tonnes of CO2e.As a part of the carbon partnership program with the IOC, Dow announced several new projects in 2019 with collaborators, including PETRONAS Chemicals Group, the U.S. Green Building Council, the AIA International Region, Firestone Building Products and Restore the Earth Foundation. These greenhouse gas reduction projects are part of Dow’s Sustainable Future Program, which harnesses the power of sport and science to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable technologies across value chains and upgrade business-as-usual practices locally. The project portfolio has been developed to address a wide range of applications, such as high performance buildings and infrastructure, reforestation, improvements in packaging and industrial efficiency.“In line with our strong commitment to sustainability, the IOC measures its annual carbon footprint and implements various measures to reduce them. Thanks to our Official Carbon Partnership with Dow we have also been able to offset our unavoidable emissions for the period between 2017 and 2020,” said Marie Sallois, IOC director of corporate & sustainable development. “The results that Dow continues to deliver are now exceeding our operational emissions, creating a tangible, positive legacy.”With a joint vision of accelerating climate action across the Olympic Movement, Dow and the IOC also announced in 2019 a new program to encourage and incentivize International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to measure, reduce and mitigate the carbon emissions related to their operations and events. As part of the program, carbon offsets are offered to IFs and NOCs that have joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Sports for Climate Action Framework and implemented tangible action to reduce GHG emissions within their respective operations and events. Ten IFs benefitted from the program in 2019. In 2020, the initiative will be expanded to include submissions from NOCs in addition to IFs.For more information about Dow’s more than 35 years of support of the Olympic Movement and commitment to sustainability through sports, visit

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