Tokyo Olympics Sustainability

The Tokyo Olympics appear to be really trying, but despite all their wealth and resources they’re not entirely sustainable even though it’s a guiding principle. It’s a good indicator for how difficult and complex it is to be truly sustainable in this world and how many people, regulators and policies need to come together for it to work. The organizing committee has confirmed that 87% of the plywood panels used to build its new national stadium come from southeast Asian rainforests, causing what NGOs say is irreversible harm to precious biodiversity reserves including orangutan habitat in Borneo where populations have been decimated. The Rainforest Action Network says “timber associated with rainforest destruction and human rights abuses that have been repeatedly found in Tokyo 2020’s timber supply chain.”⁠

Additional panels used came from Malaysian plywood which has been linked to destructive and potentially illegal logging practices. The Tokyo committee’s sustainable sourcing code has no obligation for full traceability back to the forest of origin, even when timber is sourced from high risk countries. It’s a good example of needing better accountability and totally transparent supply chains to back up good intentions and sustainability practises.⁠

On the positive though, Tokyo will achieve its goal of making 2020 Olympic medals from e-waste which is great news. The committee collected 4,100 kg of silver and 30 kg of gold valued at $3 million.⁠

Sources: The Guardian, Climate Change News, RAN