Tokyo 2020 – the greenest Olympics in history

Every four years, the eyes of the whole world are on the great champions competing in the oldest and most important sporting event: the Olympics Games.

This year is the turn of Tokyo, which has been chosen to host the Olympics for the second time in history.
The first time was in 1964 and allowed the Japanese capital to become the first Asian city to host the five-ring event.

Despite initial uncertainties and a yearlong postponement, everything is now ready: the Olympic torch has arrived at its destination and the athletes have completed their preparation for the great event, which began on 23 July and will end on 8 August 2021.

The Sustainability Olympics

Despite the postponement of the event, Tokyo 2020 wants to learn from the sustainability projects initiated by Brazil and United Kingdom in previous Olympic editions.

Actually, it wants to do more: the Land of the Rising Sun strives to create the most sustainable event in the history of the Olympics. In fact, one of the aims set by the International Olympic Committee is to make Tokyo 2020 an international reference model for maximum circulation of resources and minimum waste.

Let’s look at some of the main initiatives undertaken by the IOC to achieve this ambitious goal.

The Olympic torch
One of the green elements of the event is the object that kicks off a new edition of the five-ring Games every four years: the Olympic torch. Started on 25 March from the J-Village sport complex in Fukushima, it was carried by 10.000 runners and passed through all 47 prefectures before arriving at the Tokyo National Stadium for the grand opening ceremony on 23 July.  To all intents and purposes, the Tokyo torch is a sustainable Olympic torch: in fact, it was produced with aluminium reclaimed from the temporary buildings used after the earthquake of 11th March 2011, which devastated large areas of Japan.
The medals
Another major green protagonist of Tokyo 2020 is represented by the medals that will be used to award the winners of the various sports disciplines. In April 2017, the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” was launched nationwide, with the aim of collecting old electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops to be recycled and used to produce all the Olympics and Paralympics medals. The project, which ended on 31 March 2019, has started a mass mobilization of the Japanese population and made it possible to collect the metals needed to produce all the medals for Tokyo 2020.
The Olympic Village
The Olympic Village that hosts the sporting event is also based on the key concept of sustainability. In fact, the structure was built using sustainably sourced timber donated by 63 Japanese municipalities. At the end of the event, the material will be returned to the donors and can be reused to build new projects and monuments that will help commemorate the Olympics Games.
The beds
Tokyo has decided to go green even when it comes to sleeping hours: in fact, the rooms housing the great sports champions are equipped with beds made of a very sturdy and completely recyclable type of cardboard. Contrary to popular belief, these beds can support up to 200 kilograms and, as the general manager of the athlete’s Village Takashi Kitajima explained, they are even stronger than wooden beds. At the end of the event, the looms will be recycled to produce paper products and the mattresses, made from polyethylene materials, will be turned into plastic products.
The podiums
The same possibility of recycling characterizes the podiums where the winning athletes will stand: for the first time in the history of the Olympics, they have been made from plastic objects donated by the Japanese people or collected from the oceans. Launched in June 2019, the “Recycled Plastic Victory Ceremony Podium” project has mobilized the citizens from all over Japan and has led to the collection of 24.5 tonnes of plastic. The idea came from the International Olympic Committee in collaboration with the American multinational Procter & Gamble, which at the end of the Olympics will offer a second life to the podiums, guaranteeing their recycling for the creation of new products.
The uniforms
Another green objective is linked to the creation of the uniforms that the participants wore during the opening ceremony and that they will wear during the award and the closing ceremony. According to the COI, the uniforms have been designed in line with the Tokyo 2020 guiding principles of “Sustainability and Diversity”: plant materials have been used for the uniforms, making them with zero environmental impact. Even the shoes that the athletes will wear to compete have been designed with a green perspective, using sustainable materials that meet the goal of a carbon-neutral future.
The “transfer” chapter also takes the issue of sustainability seriously: all transfers related to the event will take place using a wide range of electrified vehicles to minimize environmental impact. In addition, all the energy used at the competition venues and in the villages hosting the athletes is generated from renewable sources.

Technogym Village: wellness combined with sustainability

In today’s world, environmental sustainability is a major factor that can no longer be ignored and involves an increasing number of areas and realities. Among these, as shown also by the initiatives implemented by the International Olympic Committee, the sports and fitness sector could not be excluded.

Aware of its fundamental importance for the future of our planet, Technogym has made sustainability one of the key values at the base of its culture, fighting every day to propose a model of sustainable development based on people’s health.

The company’s inspiring philosophy is the concept of Wellness, a lifestyle that aims to improve people’s quality of life through regular physical activity, proper nutrition and a positive mental approach.

At Technogym, the promotion of wellness and people’s health always goes hand in hand with the theme of environmental sustainability: two concepts that are now inseparable and that meet and are implemented in the company’s activities and workplace.

Technogym Village, the company’s headquarters and the world’s first wellness campus, is based on this combination. Inaugurated in 2012 and conceptualized by Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri, President and Vice President of Technogym, in collaboration with architect Antonio Citterio, the campus is both a cultural centre, an innovation lab and a production centre where employees, customers, suppliers and guests from all over the world can live first-hand the true experience of Wellness.

All this, in the name of eco-sustainability and bio-architecture: in fact, the Technogym Village has been designed to be sustainable thanks to thought-through choices to reduce waste and reuse materials.

For example, as for the structure made of wood and glass, there are countless details that make the difference. Firstly, its excellent thermal insulation ensures cool working areas during summer and warm ones in winter, while minimising heath consumption thanks to the natural mechanism of heat transfer. Furthermore, it highly performs in terms of delivering lighting quality, as the building is oriented to follow the sun’s path, from dawn to dusk.

Sustainability is therefore a key value for Technogym’s culture, also spread every day at work through a number of simple actions, such as separate waste collection inside the industrial plant and offices, or the elimination of plastic through the installation of special dispensers where water bottles can be refilled.
Small gestures which, when added up, can make a difference and generate a real change to improve the planet and the lives of us all.

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