Paris aims for first sustainable and inclusive Olympic Games

France’s unveiling of the emblems for the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games on the 21st October 2019 was significant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that these are the first games in history where both have shared the same emblem, with France 2024 choosing three distinct and iconic symbols to celebrate the return of the summer games to France after an absence of 100 years.

The three symbols represent both the games themselves and France, with a gold medal and Olympic flame at the heart of the design together with a cleverly worked image of Marianne, the personification of post-revolution France, who represents freedom and democracy.

A Far-Reaching Plan by France to Create Sustainable Cities

Perhaps of more note in this green-conscious world is that France is aiming for these to be the first 100% sustainable and inclusive games. It is not a standalone policy, but a far-reaching plan by France to create sustainable cities across the country by 2050 with inclusivity, governance, and connectivity as foundations of the policy.

Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, IOC Coordination Commission Chairperson, said: “Creating a creative and innovative Olympic Games experience that benefits everyone is at the core of Paris 2024’s mission.”

In tandem with the promotion of the games, France launched the Terre de Jeux 2024 (Land of Games) label. This sets out three objectives that every person and, perhaps more importantly, every community can participate in. Those three objectives are Celebration letting everyone enjoy the spirit of the games, legacy using the Games as a basis to provide lasting change for the French people through sports, and engagement ensuring that the games and associated projects provide real benefits to as many people as possible.

500 communities will hold the Terre de Jeux 2024 label 

As part of these objectives, the president of Paris 2024, Tony Estanguet, and François Baroin, the president of the Association of Mayors of France announced the list of the first 500 French communities which will hold the Terre de Jeux 2024 label. These are smaller towns and communities with just under half having between ten and fifteen thousand inhabitants, and a third having fewer than 10,000. And it’s not just about getting involved in the spirit of the games; 416 of those first 500 have applied to be preparation centers for the games, hosting delegations from participating nations within their towns and villages. This idea promotes inclusivity by bringing involvement in the games to the citizens of France rather than them having to go to the games (or merely see things on television).

“The Terre de Jeux 2024 label is a remarkable opportunity for local authorities to fully engage with the notion of Games legacy by developing sport for all,” said AMF President Baroin. “The Games are more than a sports event; they represent an exciting challenge for the country and will be a success thanks to the involvement of all stakeholders – the public and economic sectors, associations and the general public.”

But Paris 2024 is not stopping with these admirable and well thought out plans for inclusivity. They also plan for these games to be the most sustainable yet, and to be a blueprint for future games to match or even surpass.

Paris 2024’s plans for sustainability are built on the recommendations of Agenda 2020 of the IOC as well as the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN.

The big number for Paris 2024 is 55%. That is how much Paris is looking to decrease the carbon footprint of the French games by in comparison to Rio in 2016 and London in 2012, and Paris 2024 would also be the first game to meet the sustainability targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

But what do all these figures and statements mean on the ground? Use of 100% bio-based products and materials, 100% of energy used to be green, all food to be certified as coming from sustainable sources, clean transport to be used by all athletes and spectators, and last but not least, the creation of 26 hectares of biodiverse space created for perpetuity on the games sites in Seine-Saint-Denis.

A New Benchmark for Future Hosts to Follow 

At a time when the climate crisis is very much at the forefront of global news, Paris 2024 has set out a bold vision and plan for raising the sustainable levels of the world’s largest sporting event. Combining their plans for sustainability with a legacy of inclusivity across the whole country means that Paris 2024 is setting a new benchmark for future hosts to follow.

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