Jane Swan – The Green Blue Project Manager
I have to admit I became totally obsessed – checking my bank account every hour to see if LOCOG had taken a small fortune for a handful of Olympic tickets. But the magic deadline passed with no obvious withdrawal and I was pretty narked. Not only had I spent a lot of time and energy earmarking events with military precision but I was (and despite everything still am) a big fan of the Olympics and Paralympics and that alone would surely guarantee me a ticket or two. But no, so I made up my mind then and there not to bother with round two.
But just a few days later, sitting high up on The Nothe (the planned ticketed venue for the sailing competition) in Weymouth watching the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in the distance my resolve started to waver. The heady mix of a stunning natural arena with the excitement of three lots of racing going on simultaneously down below and I’m back in the bidding.
A flying visit to the actual venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and it was just as exciting to see a sustainable event in action. The Academy is the first Olympic and Paralympic venue as well as the first sailing venue in the UK to achieve BS8901 – a British Standards specification for Sustainable Event Management. The Green Blue experienced first-hand how challenging the process was, with Dan, our Sustainability Officer, working closely with Academy Chief Executive John Tweed; firstly to identify the effects of the venue’s activities on the environment, society and economy, both within the Academy and the local area, and secondly to agree a raft of measures to ensure that best practice became the norm. And at every step of the way, a wide range of stakeholders had to be consulted and engaged in the process.
Small changes can make a big difference; instead of the 3,000 disposable plastic water bottles used at last year’s event, volunteers and officials had their own refillable water bottles. And Grapefruit Graphics meticulously applied each bow sticker making sure each strip of backing ended up in the bin rather than blowing into the water. Bins for mixed waste recycling with bright new signs were plentiful and highlighted on the site map. Team Leaders and coaches were reminded about the need to refuel over the green matting at the Dean & Reddyhoff fuel berth to ensure spills, if they did happen, didn’t end up in the water, and message boards highlighted best practice for minimizing the risk of spreading non-native invasive species.
The most noticeable point about this event is that sustainability was, in fact, barely noticeable (and I mean that as a compliment.) Best practice had been neatly and discretely woven into the fabric of the site and everyday event management tasks. That’s not to underplay the huge efforts of all those involved to get to this point but it really was sustainable excellence in action and will provide a fantastic platform for the sporting excellence to follow next year.
As for the next round of tickets – count me in for sure!