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GC2018 – Low Carbon Competition

Written by Equilibrium on 1 May 2018

Major events provide an unmatched opportunity to demonstrate how environmental issues and impacts can be effectively managed through good planning, effective design and efficient delivery.

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 (GC2018) are no exception, and the commitment to staging a sustainable event was embedded from the outset. Leadership in sustainability was a key driver for GC2018, as was the need to help ensure a positive legacy beyond the Games.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) committed to showing leadership in sustainability by delivering GC2018 to international standards of best practice.

Sustainability was approached in a considered and comprehensive manner at all stages. In their own words the Games organisers noted the importance of systems thinking and best practices standards:

Guiding our GC2018 delivery is the ISO 20121 event sustainability management system and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework  Sustainability Reporting Standards.”  Source: https://www.gc2018.com/about/sustainability

Three key sustainability pillars were identified for GC2018:

> Source responsibly
> Manage our impacts
> Inspire inclusive, active communities

Identifying, managing and mitigating carbon emissions

Being part of the sustainability solution for delivering GC2018 was a wonderful opportunity for Equilibrium.

We were invited in partnership with Tasman Environmental Markets to assist with the development of a strategy and baseline emission profile for the GC2018 carbon emissions generated through the design and delivery phases and to establish a mitigation and management plan for the delivery of a carbon responsible Games. This included those emissions:

> under the control or influence of GOLDOC;
> ‘owned’ or ‘shared by GOLDOC;
> occurring as a consequence of GC2018 (‘associated’ emissions), where it is possible to reasonably estimate those emissions; and
> of high stakeholder interest.

While presenting major business and tourism opportunities for Queensland, GC2018 also provided a significant opportunity to limit any negative social, economic or environmental impacts. This also translated into achieving a lasting legacy for the Gold Coast region more generally.

The estimated carbon footprint also allowed GOLDOC and its delivery partners to prioritise opportunities for carbon reduction activities and other cost-effective mitigation strategies. It will also serve as a baseline (along with the carbon management plan) to allow GOLDOC to assess its performance in reducing its carbon impact.

The calculation of the Carbon Baseline was undertaken in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol as adopted under the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

Challenges

Being the first Commonwealth Games organising committee to quantify and manage carbon emissions, there was no precedent or baseline to allow a comparison and therefore an expected estimation of the magnitude of the carbon emission profile.

Where possible actual (or estimated) energy (electricity and fuel use) data, flight itineraries, and quantities of waste generated and disposed of or collected for recycling, were used to calculate carbon emissions. This however was not always possible to obtain or to quantify.

In the absence of being able to obtain operational information, an estimate of carbon emissions by activity was undertaken using an input / output (I/O) analysis model. This required detailed financial expenditure breakdown expenditure together with an assessment of whether each line item was purchased outright (goods or equipment component) or provided under hire arrangement, or as a service by the supplier (hire or service component).

Secondary considerations that were included in the modelling considered the end-of-life fate of any outright purchases attributable by GOLDOC to the operations in addition to potential legacy benefits of outright goods or equipment purchases versus supply (services) or hire arrangements.

The complexity was ever present as was the need to make informed estimates.

Where GOLDOC made a shared financial contribution but were not the responsible delivery partner eg. towards a venue upgrade or capital building and construction activity, (where these emissions are largely out of GOLDOC’s control or influence), these emissions were included for the purpose of providing a complete assessment of the GC2018 carbon profile in addition to an estimation of spectator travel impacts.

Our work with Tasman Environmental Markets highlighted the importance of addressing carbon reduction and climate change objectives through good design, effective planning and efficient event delivery.

Importantly, we also believe that the collaboration will provide a noteworthy benchmark for future Commonwealth Games and the methodology required to effectively identify, manage and mitigate carbon emissions.

Equilibrium is very pleased to have been part of the team which contributed to GC2018 and its sustainable delivery.

For more information contact:

Damien Wigley, Equilibrium
Mobile: 0404 899 961  Email:  damien@equil.com.au

 

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