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News release


Greening of the Olympics: Eco-friendly initiatives implemented by host nations highlight commitment to sustainability

• Sydney Olympics in 2000 brought sustainability to the fore and 12 years later the commitment of companies and Government has increased.
• London Olympics set to the greenest in history according to new report from Jones Lang LaSalle.

SYDNEY, 20 June, 2012 – When former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch called the 2000 Sydney Olympics the “best summer games ever” few realised the significant impact the games would have on sustainability in Australia more than a decade on.  

A new report from Jones Lang LaSalle traces the path of sustainable development as Olympic planners and host cities over the past 20 years have increasingly recognised the synergy between economic and environmental sustainability.
While the 2012 Summer Olympics in London this July will be the greenest Games in history, the Sydney Games signified the start of a major shift in the Australia’s attitude towards sustainability.
The Olympic Village was the world‘s largest solar powered settlement at that time, comprising 2,000 residences with capacity for 5,000 people, all powered by 19,000 solar collectors capable of producing 160,000 kilowatt hours.
Joel Quintal, Director of Sustainability at Jones Lang LaSalle said, “The Sydney Olympics really allowed us as a nation to showcase out commitment to sustainability through innovative, eco-friendly building design and the strategic expansion of infrastructure,” Mr Quintal said.
“It set a new benchmark and brought the issue of sustainability to the fore. Since then, Australia’s commitment to sustainability has continued to grow with corporates and Government entities becoming more creative and dynamic when it comes to sustainable initiatives.”
According to Tim O’Connor, Head of Leasing, NSW at Jones Lang LaSalle, sustainability has become increasingly important for tenants and landlords in office markets across Australia.


“Since the Olympics in 2000, we have seen a growing focus on sustainability across the board but it has been particularly evident in office markets. It’s interesting to see how the ideas and innovations that the Sydney Olympics produced have carried across to the commercial property sector.”


“A growing number of building owners in Sydney are now investing in sustainable upgrades to their assets through Environmental Upgrade Agreements which will continue to improve the overall standard of Sydney’s office stock,” Mr O’Connor said.
Entitled “Olympian steps for sustainability,” the Jones Lang LaSalle report notes that an environmental focus at Olympic sites extends at least as far back as 1994, when the International Olympic Committee added “Environment” to “Sport” and “Culture” as a guiding principle. Since then, nearly every Olympiad has seen the focus on sustainability increase as cities increasingly consider environmental impacts of developments and plan for post-Olympic uses of sports venues and residences.
Beijing’s poor air quality was a concern during the 2008 Olympics, despite a USD $17 billion program of environmental improvement, including increase vehicle emission standards, development of a 126-mile ring of trees around the city to absorb pollen and dust, and the planting of 30 million trees and shrubs on 720 of newly cleared green space within the city.  Despite these and other strategies, researchers later said air contaminants were two to four times higher in Beijing than in other recent host cities, with some apparent negative effects on the performance of Olympians.
Following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Jones Lang LaSalle established a plan for furthering the development of the city’s Olympic Green area. Since 2008, nearly 2.3 million square meters of land in the Olympics Green area is in various stages of development, with the goal of making this area a more balanced commercial zone.
Green Olympics in 2012


London partnered with World Wildlife Fund and BioRegional to create “One Planet Olympics,” a program that addresses energy¸ carbon, water, waste reduction, biodiversity; access and inclusion; public health, and employment considerations.  Strategies noted in the Jones Lang LaSalle report include:
  • Development of renewable energy and distributed local power generation to minimise
  • Venues that use 30 to 40 percent less drinkable water than standard
  • A pledge of zero waste to landfill during the Games
  • Re-use of 90 percent of demolition waste
  • Creation of 45 hectares of wetland habitat and 675 boxes for flying animals within Olympic Park.
In addition, buildings created for the Olympics, including 17,000 flats for athletes and other residential and shopping properties, are designed for use after the Games and use sustainable design elements.
As a key advisor to London, Jones Lang LaSalle considered environmental and economic sustainability in assessing the viability of residential and sports sites and post-Olympics commercial and civic uses for sites in support of London’s Olympic bid. The firm has also been named leasing agent of some post-Olympics properties.
“Even as the world’s attention is on London and the 2012 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is planning even greater levels of sustainability for the 2016 Games, including higher levels of renewable energy, extensive bike paths connecting Olympic venues and a goal of 100 percent biodiesel fuel by 2016,” Probst said.
“The future of the Olympics, like the future of cities themselves, includes an ever-increasing focus on sustainable development.”
The green Olympics report is featured on the latest edition of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Sustainability Perspectives, along with articles such as:
  • Eco Cities: Inspiration and Aspiration; how the “Eco City” vision is influencing the way cities are planned, built, lived and worked in.
  • Investing in Cities: Real Estate and Climate Change;  what real estate investors know and don’t know about climate change
  • Paris: The City of Light Goes Electric; an innovative electric vehicle sharing program
  • US: Greener Logistics Patterns; how changes at seaports and inland logistics hubs are helping the United States become more sustainable
  • Introducing Sustainability Transparency;  a new Index tracking transparency of sustainability related issues