Sochi 2014 will be the first Olympic Games to offset 100 percent of the estimated travel footprint associated with spectators and media, amounting to 160,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, according to Olympic partner Dow Chemical, which is implementing energy efficient and low-carbon technologies to mitigate the event’s carbon footprint.
The travel footprint is one of the most significant contributors to the emissions of an international event such as the Olympic Games, Dow says.
In addition to its March commitment to mitigate the direct carbon footprint of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dow yesterday pledged to offset the estimated travel-related greenhouse gas emissions associated with the travel of athletes, spectators and media from all over the world travelling to Russia for the Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games, between February and March, 2014.
Dow’s “Sustainable Future” program includes low-carbon technologies in the areas of infrastructure, industry and agriculture throughout the Russian Federation.
The spectator and media travel footprint will be compensated through a portfolio of carbon offset projects developed to international standards, and recognized under the International Carbon Offset and Reduction Alliance (ICROA) Code of Practice, Dow says. The portfolio focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency, as well as the protection and restoration of vulnerable ecosystems. It includes offsets from the host country of the Olympic Winter Games, specifically from the Bikin Tiger project, a forest conservation project in Vladivostok, Russia, that is home to the Amur tiger and the snow leopard.
In addition, the portfolio aims to embrace the international spirit of the Games and includes offset projects in Brazil and South Korea — countries that will host the next two Olympic Games.
Dow says it will deploy a portion of its own verified offsets, generated through a methane recycling project implemented in Georgia, US, where a Dow plant utilized gas from the Dalton Whitfield County landfill to partially power its operations. By tapping into landfill gas as an energy source, this project significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the landfill, and it offsets carbon dioxide emissions by avoiding the use of fossil fuels.
Dow’s pledge comes just days after an Associated Press report said Russia has been dumping waste from construction projects associated with the Sochi Games, breaking a zero waste pledge the country made as a central pillar of its Olympic bid.