Tokyo 2020 Showcasing Solutions For A Sustainable Future

Photo: Copyright Tokyo 2020

As the first-ever postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games begin, it’s important to take a moment to recognise the importance of solidarity, the value of community, our need to be connected, and no matter how different we are, we are better and stronger together. The world needs the togetherness of the Olympic Games, like never before.

The preparations for the Games have been based on the following principles:

  • To prioritise the health and safety of athletes, spectators, stakeholders, volunteers, and staff.
  • To reduce the cost impact of postponement and promote the public’s interest.
  • To simplify and reduce the complexity of the Games to ensure they can be organised efficiently, safely, and sustainably in this new context.

Showcasing Solutions For a Sustainable Future

With the sustainability concept “Be better, together – for the planet and the people”, let’s take a closer look at how Tokyo is showcasing solutions for a sustainable society.


Tokyo 2020 is committed to staging carbon-neutral Games by implementing solutions to reduce emissions by minimising construction, conserving energy, and using energy from renewable sources. Tokyo 2020 will compensate more than 100% of its remaining carbon emissions by acquiring carbon certificates from more than 200 companies that put in place carbon reduction measures.

Tokyo 2020 carbon offsetting program considers the full scope of direct and in-direct emissions related to the Games, including the construction of venues and transportation of athletes, officials, and spectators.

Let’s take a closer look…

  • 50% of Tokyo 2020 venues will be existing venues
  • Tokyo 2020 is promoting the use of low-carbon mobility by using approximately 500 fuel cell electric vehicles including hydrogen cars as part of the Olympic and Paralympic fleet.
  • Hydrogen will be used for the Olympic and Paralympic fleet, cauldrons, and the Olympic Torch, and to power some facilities in the Olympic/Paralympic Village.

Pretty great, right?!

Zero Waste

Tokyo 2020 aims to reuse or recycle 99% of all procured items and reuse or recycle 65% of Games-time waste. It gets even better, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals having been produced using materials from electronic devices, such as mobile phones, donated by the public.

Photo: Copyright Tokyo 2020

In a joint initiative between Worldwide Olympic Partner P&G and Tokyo 2020, the podiums for the medal ceremonies are made of plastic waste donated by the public and recovered from the Oceans, which we are loving here at the Big Plastic Pledge as we strive to make our impact.

And it doesn’t stop there. From the Olympic torch being produced using aluminum waste from temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake 2011, to the beds in the Olympic and Paralympic Village being made from highly durable cardboard materials, Tokyo is showcasing excellent solutions for a sustainable future.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village beds Copyright IOC.jpg

Photo: Copyright Tokyo 2020

Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion

With female athlete participation of almost 49%, the Tokyo 2020 Games will be the first gender-balanced Olympic Games. A diversity and inclusion platform will be launched during the games and a lot of activity will be happening around the first permanent LGBTQ+ center in Tokyo which aims to raise awareness through the creation of hospitality spaces, hosting of events, and creation of diverse content.

Creating a Sustainable Legacy for Japan and Its People

Tokyo is aiming for 70% of the Tokyo residents to practice sport at least once per week, by providing people with more opportunities to practice sport. Schools across Japan are organising sports days, connecting students to sport and healthy lifestyles. The “Let’s 55 GoGo” programme encourages the public to experience the 55 sport disciplines of the Olympic Games.

It doesn’t stop there. from upgrades to sports infrastructure to create a new sports hub in the Tama area, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is looking to create a sustainable legacy for Japan and its people. They want to use this opportunity to empower the Japanese people and help create a sustainable society.

 Looking Towards the Future

Sustainability and legacy remain key priorities for the IOC going forward, with constantly increasing ambitions to address challenges such as climate change.

Paris 2024 is set to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% compared with previous editions. The Games will be the world’s first to make a positive contribution to the climate.

Los Angeles 2028 will go a step further, not building a single venue for the Games.

From 2030 onwards, the IOC requires all Olympic Games to be climate positive. Whilst there is a long way to go to making the Olympics or any big sporting event sustainable, our goal at the Big Plastic Pledge and our responsibility as athletes are to help accelerate the changes required.

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin, let’s remember this. The Games will be an unprecedented celebration of unity and solidarity. They will be a milestone in the world’s shared journey of recovery. They will be a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of humanity working together as one. The Games will be a sustainable springboard to the future, bringing together the best of Japan, supporting the economy, and showing how sport can improve the health and happiness of people and our world. These Games will be sport at its best. You can find out more about the Tokyo 2020 Games sustainability here. 




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