The Olympic Games and the Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability: Opportunities and Challenges

By Joseph Weiler and Arun Mohan.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Growing public expectations that the Olympic Movement and Olympic Host City Organizing Committees be socially, environmentally and economically responsible has made a commitment to integrate sustainability principles and practices a common theme in the bids of cities competing to host the Games. To understand the growing role of sustainability as an Olympic theme, the authors trace the evolution of the sustainability aspirations of the Olympic Movement by looking at the key Olympic Games and bids in this process. The authors determine that unlocking the potential of the Olympic Games to use sport to attract new audiences to sustainable living cannot be done in the absence of the IOC and Organizing Committees deploying credible efforts to “walk their talk.” These efforts include embracing frameworks that produce, track and report on key Games-related economic, environmental and social outcomes, as well as collaborating with credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Furthermore, these outcomes could lead to further positive results by creating the foundation to pursue the unrealized potential of the Olympic Games to transform the way individuals and organizations act on the choices involved in living sustainably.

Keywords: Olympic Movement, Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Evolution, Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability, Economic Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, Social Sustainability

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.187-202. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 639.792KB).

Joseph Weiler

Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Professor Joseph Weiler joined the UBC Faculty of Law in 1974. Professor Weiler has acted as a mediator and arbitrator in over 400 disputes and was elected to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1984. He served as Special Advisor to the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club from 1992-95. From 1995-2000 he served on the Board of Directors of BC Film and from 1997-2003 he was on the Telus New Media and Broadcast Fund Advisory Board. He has also acted on behalf of 2010 Games Sponsor Teck Resources to help activate its sponsorship of the Vancouver/Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Games. In 2004, he created the first course in North America on the “Law of the Olympic Games.”

Arun Mohan

Graduate Student (LL.M Candidate), Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Arun Mohan is a Master of Laws (LL.M) student in the UBC Faculty of Law. He also received his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UBC in 2006. Since then, he has been busy with all things Olympic-related. He writes extensively on the growth of sustainability in the Olympic Movement. He also speaks and presents on the topic in many forums, including the 2009 Student Olympic Conference at UBC, where he and Professor Joseph Weiler gave a keynote address. In March 2008, he, Professor Weiler and Dr. Ken Cavalier organized “A Conference on the Olympic Games and Sustainability”, in collaboration with the UBC National Centre for Business Law. He has done consulting work for 2010 Games Sponsor Teck Resources, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He also co-instructs the UBC Law course “The Law of the Olympic Games.” His graduate thesis looks at how work-life balance can be nurtured in the legal profession.