Being "green" isnt enough anymore.
In todays competitive world companies and organizations have to not only look out for the environment they have to help society and be economically responsible.
The new buzz-word to describe this outlook on life is sustainability, and since 1994 it has been one of the pillars of International Olympic Committee.
If countries dont adopt the concept there is little hope they would ever win the right to host the Games.
The Vancouver-Whistler bid has not only adopted the idea, said Ken Baker, head of the Bid Corporations sustainability committee, it has embraced it.
From the worm composter at Vancouver Bid headquarters to ideas on sustainable transport for the Sea to Sky highway, it is part of the fabric of the Bid Corporation.
"We want to blow the socks off the IOC members in terms of the kind of thinking we are applying," said Baker.
"The concept of sustainability is more than just the environment. It includes consideration of the impact on communities, how you are incorporating the effects on different groups in society, what economic opportunities are being created, and how do we maximize these opportunities and spread them out."
It is certainly a challenge.
How is it possible to make a bobsled and luge track sustainable when it needs so much refrigeration and can only be used for one thing?
"The approach we are taking," said Baker, "is to build one making sure it has the least impact on the community and environment and then create an endowment fund to make sure it is not a burden on the community while encouraging its use."
Part of the reason the Callaghan Valley was chosen as the site of the Nordic events was its topography. Ski jumps and some viewing areas will be part of the mountains, following natural contours, rather than large construction projects, thus fitting the framework of sustainability.
Even parking lots, which are being kept to a minimum, are likely to be "grass-paved." Areas will be layered with gravel, sand and grass. This will protect the land while acting as a cleaning filter for any oil, gas, or other toxic chemicals which may come from parked vehicles.
"We want to demonstrate that this facility can lay as lightly as possible on the land while incorporating the best technology and minimizing the natural disturbances," said Baker.
Another example of sustainability may be the athletes village in Whistler. The hope is that it will incorporate the greenest technology in its construction and use, but beyond that it will be a legacy for the community as affordable housing, thus meeting the criteria for social and economic sustainability.
"Its a good example," said David Chernushenko, president of Ottawa-based Green and Gold Inc which specializes in applying sustainable development principles to the sport and recreation sector.
"Are these going to be units that will drive up the price of accommodation in Whistler?" he wonders. "Or are they going to be operated in such a way that they then help to keep prices down and offer affordable accommodation?"
Chernushenko, a consultant to the Vancouver-Whistler bid as well as other Olympic Games and high profile sporting events, believes the 2010 Winter Games bid is in a good position to get as close to hosting a sustainable Games as possible.
"I would say in Whistler and Vancouvers case it is going to be easier," he said.
People are aware of the concept of sustainability, many of the technologies are available right here in B.C., there are past Games to learn from and the Bid Corporation has adopted the idea early on in the process, said Chernushenko.
Many of the issues the Bid Corporation, and if its successful the Olympic organizing committee, have to deal with are the same as they have been for every Olympic Games.
"Every possible environmental and resource use ought to be looked at," said Chernushenko.
"And critically, at the beginning, there must be public consultation... People (need) to feel this is their bid and they want it, and you can only accomplish that if you are offering them something they do want and not forcing something on them.
"Things are looking good in terms of public consultation.
"Write into the procurement bidding process that anyone who wants to offer a service or a product to the Games needs to demonstrate how they are a leader in the sustainability in that service.
"And transportation is crucial, as we are seeing in Salt Lake City and weve seen in every Games before. How do you get the maximum number of people onto forms of public transport and keep them out of their cars?"
Thats an issue Gerry Scott, director of the climate change campaign at the David Suzuki Foundation and co-chair of the Bid Corporations sustainability committee, holds close to his heart.
"I do think there are real opportunities to marry the demand that is associated with the Games with the longer-term need for sustainable transport," said Scott.
"Everyones favourite is fast affordable rail than connects into the Greater Vancouver system, but we do know there are great hurdles there.
"I am very eager that the work continue on the rail option and there is real potential in fast ferry options and real potential in long-term dedicated bus transit.
"The very lowest priority has to be more automobiles. It wont work for a two-week period, everyone knows that. But what is far more important for Victoria and Ottawa to recognize is that it doesnt work now, (and) it wont work in five years, or 10 years, or 20 years.
"B.C. has a real problem with lack of sustainable transit and in a high growth corridor we have to look at that."
But it is early days yet, said Scott. The hope is that any changes are not a one-time thing but rather a commitment to sustainability.
Eckhard Zeidler, a director of The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment and a member of the Bid Corporations sustainability committee and Callaghan Valley committee, is looking for the same thing.
He believes sustainable practices will soon be the mainstream and that any attempt to adopt them merely to win the Olympics is doomed to failure.
"If they are saying one thing and doing another then that is greenwash and we will fight it and we will go out to expose it," said Zeidler.
"We want to see actions, we dont want to see greenwash. We will fight greenwash tooth and nail and we will go out to expose greenwash at every juncture, whether it comes out of municipal hall or the provincial government or the Bid Committee.
"If they are speaking sustainability on one hand and acting unsustainably on the other we see that as all being tied together."
AWARE is hopeful the Games can be run using a sustainable framework. He and other members of AWARE will use the Natural Step Framework to measure every aspect of the Games.
"Our future here in Whistler and in the region is in tourism and we want to make sure that all our assets are here for our future and for our childrens future," said Zeidler.
"AWAREs number one legacy will be a sustainable future leading into these Games and after the Games. We are not necessarily looking at bricks and mortar we are looking for a future.
"We respect the fact that all this stuff is being worked out at the moment and our hope is that everyone can work together to make this an example of sustainability.
"But anything less than using the full principles of sustainability and we are going to be disappointed, and so will a lot of people."
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