Sustainability is about making a fairer, greener, healthier society now and for the future. The bar for sustainability-centred actions keeps rising for major sporting events and this Games aspires to meet that bar and be the most environmentally friendly Games ever, delivered in a socially responsible way.
We want to deliver a truly sustainable Games and support long-term sustainable behaviour change. We want this to be the first carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games and set a benchmark for future Games. And we are keen to use the Games to maximise our influence in addressing key socio-economic issues including equality, diversity, and inclusion; social value; accessibility and human rights.
Here’s how we intend to do this:
The Most Sustainable Games Ever
Delivering a Carbon Neutral Event
We want to significantly reduce waste and minimise the use of single use plastics through several initiatives. We are working with partners and the voluntary sector to explore ways to recycle Games equipment and kit, dependent on Covid-19 restrictions (e.g. hygiene considerations).
To address the Games’ carbon emissions which cannot be reduced, we are developing carbon offsetting activities which will benefit the region. Key to this is our plan to create a Commonwealth Forest in the region. This aims to plant trees on thousands of acres in the region and keep a central log as part of WMCA’s Virtual Forest Programme
Changing the way we think about sustainability
Supporting behavioural change is one of the most important legacy outcomes of the Games. On travel we want to use this to encourage the use of public transport and active travel to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and improve health and wellbeing.
Delivering a Carbon Neutral Event
We must minimise the negative environmental impacts of the Games and we want to deliver an accredited audited carbon-neutral event. The focus will be on carbon reduction rather than offsetting.
Our Social Responsibility
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
Equality, diversity, and inclusion are at the centre of these Games and embedded into all the OC and key partner’s activities as well as into each strand of legacy work. We want to ensure there are low or barrier free ways to access the Games and surrounding events. And every legacy programme will consider how it can reach and include the people who might not ordinarily take part. Games Partners are committed to shifting the dial in their own organisations and leading conversations on difficult social and economic issues.
We want to ensure that in our delivery of the Games we always have the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in mind, and we respect, protect, and promote those rights and freedoms guaranteed to all individuals under law. Our work on Human Rights is currently in development. We are in close collaboration and discussion with the CGF with regard to capturing knowledge that could be used as a blueprint for future Commonwealth Games.
Sustainable Venue Legacies
A number of our venues will be available for community use once the Games has finished. At the Aquatics Centre some of the spectator seating will be removed after the Games providing additional sports halls for community use in tandem with making sure that the centre is a national facility for diving and swimming.
This is the first Games to embed Social Value and to measure it. It is also the first Games to create and publish a Social Value Charter. The Birmingham 2022 Social Values charter can be viewed here https://bit.ly/3rCqmt0.
We want to deliver a highly accessible, inclusive, and successful Commonwealth Games and create a pathway to highlight accessibility once the Games has finished. We are defining standards and setting levels for accessibility across the Games using ‘The BIG Standard’. We have also created an ‘Accessibility Advisory Forum’ focused on ensuring that all venues, services, processes, and facilities are designed, operated, and delivered to follow the three fundamental principles of Equity, Dignity and Functionality. We are improving accessible information wherever possible across the Games. We are committed to reducing the disability employment gap and to achieving recognised certification which shapes and promotes accessibility and inclusion. Read our Accessibility & Inclusion Commitment for more information