The Olympic Games spark the movement of people and cargo like no other event in the world, and with this movement comes the burden of a massive carbon footprint. Team Canada recognized the impact their travel to Rio 2016 would have on the environment, and decided to partner with Vancouver based firm, Offsetters Climate Solutions, to help “offset” the environmental impact. The team, which comprised 313 athletes and a considerable number of coaches, physicians and support staff, travelled a total of 15.7 million kilometres, approximately equal to 392 trips around the planet.
Carbon offsetting is a well-known concept nowadays and it simply aims at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases to compensate for emissions elsewhere. Greenhouse gases help trap the heat within the Earth’s atmosphere and its surface. These gases play a key role in keeping the surface of the Earth at a habitable temperature but an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases can be a significant contributor to global warming. Greenhouse gases are emitted through any form of burning of fuel; it can be industrial, automotive, or even human breathing!
This is not the first time that the travelling contingent from Canada has taken the initiative to limit their impact on the environment. With the help of the same firm, the team travelling to London 2012 and Sochi 2014 had gone “carbon neutral” by reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 2,151 and 1,290 tonnes respectively.
The calculations done by the firm suggested an emission of 3,008 tonnes for the travel of Team Canada (including cargo) to Rio 2016. An equivalent volume of greenhouse gases will be reduced through state-of-the-art projects within Canada and across the world. A successful implementation of the projects will mean Team Canada, through its efforts since 2012, would have reduced carbon emission equivalent to 1/6th of the emission by the Canadian population in a day through respiration. Projects like the “Efficient Wood Cook Stoves” in Uganda and “Quadra Island Forestland Conservation” in Canada are going to contribute towards offsetting the carbon emission due to travel and shipment.
Team Canada is proud to continue its efforts to offset carbon emissions. We had pledged that Vancouver would not be a one-off, and we are happy that we have successfully initiated carbon offsetting measures for London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
Erin Mathany, Director Strategic Partnership, Canadian Olympic Committee
The new stoves in Uganda increase combustion efficiency and heat transfer capabilities. This means that lesser amount of wood needs to be burnt to produce more heat. In addition, it reduces particulate matter from burning of food, consequently reducing indoor air pollution deaths which presently amounts to 1.5 million per year.
The project in Quadra Island helped protect around 4.2 square kilometres of forestland, in turn reducing greenhouse gas levels and conserving site-specific features. The carbon emission reduced is equivalent to removal of approximately 19,193 cars off the road annually.
Team Canada are proud to continue the carbon neutral legacy first initiated by Offsettters with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
As of today, the partnership struck by Team Canada has helped reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 6,449 tonnes. The success and legacy of the initiatives starting from Vancouver 2010, and continuing through London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 will encourage the Canadian NOC to push for similar environment protection measures in the future and hopefully lay down a marker for other NOCs to follow.