2021 Tokyo Olympic Sustainability Concept Breakdown


After postponing the Olympic Games, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games is officially here. With all the good news of new records, wins, and excellent sportsmanship, let’s give all athletes a round of applause. Good Job!

But the metals and the new records aren’t the only things that make the 2021 Tokyo Olympics worth checking out, as sustainable media, Ethical Choice would also like to break down the sustainable actions Tokyo Olympic Games are taking.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games hopes to be the most sustainable and ethical Olympic Games there have been with their clear Tokyo Olympic Sustainability Concepts. So let’s take a look at what Tokyo Olympics hopes to achieve and what steps they are taking.

Be Better, Together – For the Planet and the People

Tokyo Olympic Sustainability Concept Graphic
Image Sourced from Official Site

The Tokyo Olympic Games has pledged to make more positive action for society and the environment. With 5 pillars of sustainability and hopes to raise awareness and promote more sustainable action throughout Japan and set an example for future events.

Tokyo 2020 set the sustainability concept of the Games as “Be better, together – For the planet and the people.” We will take the initiative to meet its responsibility to deliver sustainable Games and showcase solution models of global sustainability challenges to people in Japan and around the world.
We aim to contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the delivery of the Games. We are also committed to making sure the meaning of the Tokyo 2020 Games’ concepts and legacies will be passed on to future Olympic/Paralympic Games and various activities and initiatives throughout Japan and the world.

Tokyo 2020 Sustainability

5 Pillar of Sustainability

Tokyo Olympic Metals
So let’s take a closer look at what they are actually doing to achieve Tokyo Olympics’ 5 pillars of sustainability.

  1. Climate Change: Toward Zero Carbon
    In hopes to reduce the carbon footprints, Tokyo Olympics aims to promote and use renewable energy, while maximizing energy-saving efforts. Such as using many of the already existing venues and implementing renewable energy usage, as for new construction projects, environmental effects were taken into account when designing and building. In addition, hold carbon offset programs for citizens of Tokyo and Saitama prefectures to take part.

  2. Resource Management: Zero Wasting
    As for zero wasting, Tokyo Olympics hopes to follow the 3Rs (Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle) strictly. With the hopes to reduce deforestation and land devastation from the exploitation of resources, the Organizers will closely monitor all stages of the supply chain to ensure no wasting is happening. This includes using recycled plastic to create the celebration podium, renting or leasing many of already existing items, recycled metals from all over Japan to make Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. In addition, there is also the viral cardboard-made beds and recycled plastic uniforms.

  3. Natural Environment and Biodiversity
    This pillar hopes to create a perfect balance between the city and the natural environment. Where actions such as the “implementation of heat management, effective use of water resources by using filtration facilities in the venue and utilization of rainwater and recycled water, and lastly, develop the ecological network while also harmonizing with the green around the ocean parks by consideration for existing trees and greening of competition venues by native species”.

  4. Consideration of Human Rights, Labor, Fair Business Practices
    By operating the Games with the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

  5. Involvement, Cooperation and Communications (Engagement)
    Where people of all ages and genders are encouraged to take part in the preparation and operation of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Such as the Tokyo 2020 Metal projects, where people from all over Japan donated old smartphones to create the metals and so on.

Of course, on top of these, Tokyo Olympic Organizer also promised to sustainably and ethically source all products.

2021 Tokyo Olympic’s Sustainability Concept

Tokyo Olympic Stadium at night
These actions are all amazing and a great step towards a more sustainable event and society. Especially with the viral videos of cardboard-made beds, recycled metals, and other innovative actions Tokyo Olympics have done to ensure a greener Olympics.

However, that being said, with events such as Olympics or other large sporting events, it is hard to ensure 100% of sustainable actions.

In addition, with the recent backlash of food waste, there are debates about the Olympic Event being greenwashing.

That being said, it is an overall good thing that more and more people are being exposed to sustainable ideas. While there is definitely more room for improvement, it is important to we are all educating and taking part in the effort to make the world a better place.

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Author: Monica Chang
Director of Ethical Choice
I am passionate about finding amazing sustainable and eco-friendly products and sharing them with more people. Interesting in plastic-free, reduce waste, and DIY.