Making the London 2012 Olympics the most sustainable Games ever

October 29th, 2012 by Duncan Gray

Lee Merrien running along Victoria Embankment in the London 2012 Olympics Men's Marathon (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

As Guernsey’s Lee Merrien and Heather Watson, and Sark’s Carl Hester, trained to be ready for the London 2012 Olympics others were planning for success of a different kind; to make London 2012 the most sustainable Olympic Games ever.

London 2012 had five sustainability themes:

  • climate change
  • waste
  • biodiversity
  • healthy living
  • inclusion

There were some triumphs like a new form of lower carbon concrete and the development of a beautiful new riverine park with wetlands and reed beds.

There were also some failures like the unfulfilled promise to build a wind turbine and generate 20% of energy from renewable sources.

I led a number of London 2012 related activities the most interesting of which was a project called The One Planet Centre, which wanted to inspire athletes to become ambassadors for sustainability.

The project succeeded in getting nearly 1000 athletes to promise to act to live more sustainably. Tom Daley promised to only wash clothes when they were dirty!

Hundreds of athletes took part in our photo competitions, swapping T-shirts, pin trading, which Boris Johnson loved, and chatting to our staff who spoke nine languages.

For more information about the sustainability of the 2012 London Olympics please read Towards A One Planet Olympics Revisited.

(please click report cover to download it as a PDF file to your computer)


Duncan Gray has Guernsey relatives and works as a consultant for Sancroft International, which provides advice on Corporate Responsibility.

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