Organisers from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have announced plans to host the first ever carbon-neutral Games to mark the 500 Days to Go milestone.
The new coincides with the announcement of a partnership with Severn Trent, to become the Games' official nature and carbon neutral supporter.
As part of the deal, the water company will be made responsible for delivering initiatives to help offset the carbon generated by the Commonwealth Games and aims to leave a social and environmental legacy in the West Midlands.
Their initiatives include creating a 2022 acre forest, as well as 72 tennis-court-sized mini forests in urban areas across the county, with each forest linked to a nation or territory competing in the Games, whilst larger forests will become home to native species. Not only is it hoped that the forests will offset the carbon footprint left by the Commonwealth Games but allow the local community to reconnect with nature once more.
Severn Trent's Great Big Nature Boost initiative will see them become net carbon zero by 2030 and has also pledged to plant 1.3 million trees and enhance 5,000 hectares of biodiversity.
Additionally, Birmingham 2022 has published a new sustainability pledge, which has made clear its intentions of becoming the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date. Measures laid out in the pledge involve addressing the air quality and emissions from generators and vehicles; promoting a circular economy and minimising waste; delivering conservation initiatives; making the Games the most accessible yet; and promoting diversity, social issues and human rights.
"We have always had strong ambitions to set new standards in all we do with these Commonwealth Games and make significant progress in areas that matter," said Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022.
"Our plan not only outlines how we will continue to support the regionwide economic recovery, but also demonstrates how we will leave a credible piece of social and environmental legacy.
"Our new partnership with Severn Trent is incredibly important to achieving these ambitions, and it sets a compelling benchmark for how we deliver on all aspects of sustainability over the next 18 months. Our commitment to become the first carbon-neutral Games is a significant one, and this marks just the start of our journey to make these Commonwealth Games the most sustainable to date."
Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent added: "We’re delighted to be partnering with the Commonwealth Games and to play a leading role in helping make Birmingham 2022 the most sustainable games ever. We’re passionate about making a positive impact on the communities and the environment where we live and operate, and to the lives of everyone that we serve.
"And that’s why we just had to be involved. Through this exciting partnership we’ll build on our existing work and ambitions to deliver lasting social and environmental change by creating new green urban spaces, further enhancing biodiversity, promoting plastic-free thinking and ultimately delivering a carbon neutral legacy for generations to come."
Author: Jake Wilkin