With staff re-using plastic bottles as plant holders to create a garden to grow produce, the Sustainability Patch represents PNGOC’s commitment to more sustainable practices.
This commitment is part of the International Olympic Committee’s belief that the Olympic Movement has both a duty and an opportunity to contribute actively to global sustainability in line with the vision of “building a better world through sport”.
The IOC has already implemented several sustainability measures focused on improved recycling and waste management, water-saving and energy efficiency and sustainable sourcing of products.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have also come up with some creative ways to be sustainable, including creating medal ceremony podiums from plastic waste either donated by the public or recovered from oceans and waterways, and having the official medals produced from the precious metal collected by recycling electronic devices collected from the donors.
Drawing on a series of practical guides produced by the IOC called the Sustainability Essentials, the PNGOC undertook to find better ways of doing things and take the time to make well-informed decisions to maximise positive impact and minimise negative impact in the social, economic and environmental spheres.
Secretary General and member of the IOC Sustainability & Legacy Commission, Auvita Rapilla, said the ultimate goal is to fully integrate sustainability principles and practices into day-to-day operations, so that these become part and parcel of how we think and behave.
“At the PNGOC we have incorporated sustainable practices in an attempt to reduce both individual and the organisation’s use of natural and personal resources. An overall effort aimed at reducing our carbon footprint,” Rapilla stated.
“We met as staff to identify ways in which PNGOC could commit to being more sustainable in what we do. We came up with several practices linked to the 6 R’s of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Replace, Recycle and Remind that we are implementing in our office environment and through our programs and activities.”
Some of these practices include:
- Reducing purchasing of plastic water bottles and switching from plastic to metal container water bottles
- Transitioning to a paperless office and encouraging National Federations and stakeholders to submit electronic documents where possible
- Reduction of internal printing in the office
- Sourcing products that are sustainable and encouraging suppliers to minimize plastic packaging
- Starting an office aluminum can recycling program that encourages staff and event partners to recycle cans
- Practicing “Earth Hour” every Friday from 3-4pm during staff wellness sessions by switching off all non-essential sources of power
- Open reporting on progress of new practices
Added to this list is the Sustainability Patch. The Sustainability Patch was the idea of PNGOC’s Programme Coordinator and recently appointed Sustainability Officer, Milton Kisapai.
Kisapai, who is also an SDG Champion, said: “The Sustainability Patch will be a sign of our commitment towards sustainable practices in the office. Its upkeep and maintenance will be the responsibility of all staff, as we work together towards our goal to be a very sustainable organisation.”